Nicolette Arnold ’19 Named All-NEPSAC Class B Player of the Year

Groton, Mass. — Lawrence Academy has its first-ever All-NEPSAC Player of the Year in girls’ basketball, Nicolette Arnold ’19 (Derry, NH).

Nikki Arnold ’19. Jon Chase photo

Arnold, the squad’s captain, who joined fellow girls’ varsity basketball player Ashley Evans ’20 (Londonderry, NH) on the 10-person 2019 NEPSAC Class B first team, paced the Spartans throughout the 2018 – 2019 winter season.

Known on campus as “Nikki,” Arnold will join the varsity at Sacred Heart University next fall. She was the fifth-ever woman to join Lawrence Academy’s 1000-point club and helped lead the Spartans to the precipice of the New England championship.

Currently on Winterim working with the Give Kids The World program, Arnold got the good word from her head coach, Donna Mastrangelo.

“Only one player gets ‘Player of the Year’ and that is just outstanding,” said Mrs. Mastrangelo of the accolade, a new benchmark for her program.

“I just spoke with Nicolette down in Florida a bit ago and [the emotion] was certainly felt over the phone,” added Coach Donna. “She is just a little overwhelmed and beyond thrilled about this news.”

Congratulations to Nikki and all of the girls’ basketball Spartans for an amazing season.

Girls’ Basketball: A First and a Familiar Foe

Coach Mastrangelo – LA’s NEPSAC Entries Appreciate Spartan Nation’s Support

LA girls’ basketball v. Middlesex. Jon Chase photo

Generally, playoff games need little in the way of hype, but it would be wrong to label Saturday’s NEPSAC Semifinal between The Governor’s Academy and Lawrence Academy as “just another game.”

“We are looking forward to hosting for the first time; the NEPSAC Semifinals,” said LA Head Coach Donna Mastrangelo on the eve of the matchup. “As the #3 seed, Govs is an excellent team who has been coming on strong late in the season.”

What the coach didn’t say is that Lawrence Academy and Gov’s have a long-time rivalry in many, many varsity sports. And, never mind the many heated regular season matchups between the two semifinal squads, the Spartans have faced Governor’s twice in recent NEPSAC quarterfinals, with GA taking the matchup in 2015 and LA emerging victorious in 2015.

“We did not get the job done vs. them on the road a little over a week ago falling short with a score of 40-36,” said Coach Mastrangelo. “It was a battle of a game that did go back and forth.”

But that game was in Byfield, Mass., and on their opponent’s home court.

“Although we know that Gov’s will have great fan support this coming Saturday, now it is our time on our home court,” added Coach Mastrangelo.

Oh, and by the way, there’s a higher prize in store for the winner on Saturday.

“We have not gotten to the Finals since 1995,” explained Coach Mastrangelo. “We want to make it our day and, as a team, get ourselves to that championship contest at Loomis Chaffee on Sunday.”

But there are several factors that weigh into that winning equation, including the strength of their opponents, the natural ebbs and flow of the season, as well as the nature of LA’s academic schedule.

You see, LA heads into Winterim this Monday, and many students may be enjoying a three day weekend with family.

Gov’s, on the other hand, has classes in session on Monday. So, Coach Mastrangelo is calling on her sixth player – Spartan Nation.

“We want to thank everyone for the fan support this past Wednesday during our Quarterfinal contest vs. #7 Williston Northampton,” she said. “It did help tremendously to have that encouragement for our girls.

“We know that this coming Saturday is a busy time with Winterim approaching and with the completion of final grades, but we do hope that the LA community can rally up and cheer on the girls’ basketball team along with the boys’ varsity hockey team [playing at KUA].

Lawrence Academy Head Coach Donna Mastrangelo

“These moments are special and take a great deal of time and commitment,” added Mrs. Mastrangelo. “We hope to see the support for both programs and help these players continue their quests for NEPSAC Championships!”

Spartan Nation

Good luck to the girls’ basketball team…

Boys’ Hockey: One Goal Down, One to Go

The Spartans Head North to KUA for the NEPSAC Semifinals

Groton, MA — [ Photos | Video ] Given the nature of coaching and athletes, there is good and bad that comes after a 10-3 victory; never mind such a lopsided win in a division-clinching game. Keeping a team’s motivation high, through the highs and lows of a long season, can be difficult.

For example, there’s a reason that NHL teams do not even touch the conference championship trophies on their way to the Stanley Cup Final – it’s not the top prize.

After the Spartans 10-3 ISL Keller Division-clinching win last Saturday over Tabor — en route to a NEPSAC playoffs berth announced on Sunday — LA head coach Robbie Barker ’00 was asked how he would keep his students motivated going into the New England Tournament.

“Anytime you win the ISL it’s something special,” admitted the former Spartan standout. “Its a tough thing to accomplish, so yes I’d say its very satisfying.

“The ISL was one of our team goals this year, and with any list of goals, you enjoy it for the time being [when it’s achieved] and then you move on to your next objective.”

But Barker quickly added:

“This isn’t a group that needs much help in getting motivated or staying motivated. Playoffs are playoffs, and anyone who has experienced playing in playoffs knows that if you can get up for a game at this stage of the season, you should probably find a new sport.”

Robbie Barker ’00, Lawrence Academy Boys’ Ice Hockey Head Coach

On Wednesday, there were moments in the Spartans 2-1 overtime victory where fans might have questioned some of the squad’s on-ice decisions (there were a whole lot of blue shirts in the box all night), but nobody doubted LA’s commitment.

And, looking forward to a championship-sending “scrimmage” with the Lakes Region Champion Kimball Union Wildcats, Barker didn’t think his — or his team’s — approach should change.

“At this point in the season, you can’t focus too much on what your opponent’s tendencies are, but instead focus on what you can control and implement the strategies and systems that got you here,” he said, pointing out how difficult it is to be consistent over the length of the hockey season. “Winning the ISL, I have always said, is harder than winning New Englands.

“In the ISL you need to play well for three months, and during New Englands, it’s a one done, so it’s anyone’s game,” said Barker.

“The boys have proved all year that they were a top team in the best high school hockey league in the United States, and I couldn’t be more proud of this group.”

Coach Barker

Moreover, that pride remains evident on-and-off campus, given the sheer numbers of well-wishes the boys have received in the wake of both victories.

“The amount of text messages I have received from our alumi over the past two weeks has been remarkable,” said Robbie. “Guys I’ve never coached to guys I coached for four years.

“It’s a great feeling knowing that we are continuing the tradition.

“I love this program, the past players, and this group of kids and couldn’t be more proud to be part of the Spartan hockey family – Family First.”

Good luck to the boys’ ice hockey Spartans!

Lawrence Academy Spartans Girls’ Basketball Will Host NEPSAC Class B Playoffs on Wednesday

With a 16-5 record, Lawrence Academy girls’ basketball received a home berth in the 2019 NEPSAC Class B Playoffs.

Head Coach Donna Mastrangelo and squad, the No. 2 seed, will host the No. 7 seeded Williston Northampton School varsity on Wednesday, February 27, at 3:00 p.m. on the Stone Courts.

“This is the most challenging time of year as eight teams now advance and are playing for the same prize,” said Coach Mastrangelo. “We are up against some adversity as well dealing with some injuries.

“So, we are simply going to do our best to make sure everyone is mentally and physically ready to play in what is now our most important game of the season.”

Donna Mastrangelo, Head Coach

However, there’s no doubt that making the postseason is a “big deal” in-and-of itself.

The Spartans missed last year’s postseason after pushing their way into the Class B semifinals in 2017.

“We are so proud of our girls basketball team and their coaches for once again advancing to the New England playoffs,” said Athletic Director Kevin Potter. “They are a talented group and have worked hard during the regular season to earn a top seed playoff spot.

“We look forward to cheering them on this Wednesday versus Williston!”

Lawrence Academy Spartans Boys’ Hockey Claims ISL Keller Division Title; Will Host NEPSAC Playoffs Wednesday

On the strength of a 10-3 win over Tabor Academy on Saturday, February 23, the Lawrence Academy Spartans boys’ hockey varsity claimed the top spot in the ISL’s Keller Division.

The victory also ensured that LA would have the No. 3 seed in the upcoming NEPSAC playoffs. The Spartans host No. 6 Northfield Mount Hermon on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 5:00 p.m. in Lawrence Academy’s Grant Rink.

“To get this win on senior day like we did, in that fashion means everything to us,” said LA captain Drew Bavaro ’19. “We know how hard we worked to get to this point and we know how much talent we have in our locker room and to see it all come together on a day like today it was unbelievable.”

Postgame, Lawrence Academy Director of Athletics Kevin Potter said:

First I would like to Congratulate the Coaching staff and the players for an incredible regular season! We are so proud of the boys’ hockey team’s accomplishments this season. Winning the ISL Keller Division 12-1-1 is one of the toughest goals to achieve in prep school hockey.

Kevin Potter, Lawrence Academy

The proud AD added, “They also finish the season with only 2 losses and nailed down a top-four seed in the Elite Tournament!

“I am looking forward to watching them compete for LA’s 2nd Elite Division New England title.”

However, there’s work to be done — Northfield Mount Herman also has eyes on the top NEPSAC prize — and the LA team transitioned quickly from celebration to conformity with the season-long game plan.

“Winning the ISL doesn’t happen every day and to do it with my brothers means the world,” said Bavaro. “We are excited to see what our future holds, but I can’t wait to get back to work on Monday.”

NEPSAC Playoffs
2019 NEPSAC Hockey Playoffs