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

Squash: “The most enjoyable sport on Earth…”

Mickey Feeney ’19

Senior Mickey Feeney and his fellow Spartans head into their final match of 2019

By Nicole Yeaton ’20

Just judging from his happy-go-lucky outward demeanor, you wouldn’t think that Mickey Feeney ’19 has such a serious side.

However, those who know him best, see him as a dedicated student, school president, and competitive squash player.

But why squash, in particular?

Feeney says squash is a demanding sport requires the perfect balance “of strength and finesse,” which draws in many prospective players.

In a recent interview, Feeney, a long-time player on the Lawrence Academy Varsity Squash Team, raved about the opportunity and experiences alongside his fellow Spartans.

“The culture of the LA squash team is what really drew me in,” he said. “The culture is one that is very fun, accepting, supportive, and at the same time competitive.”

This year, Lawrence Academy competed in the 2019 U.S. High School Team State Championships, where Mickey gushed about his experience.

In one word, he described the tournament as “electric.”

“The experience definitely boosted the enthusiasm and motivated the team to continue improving,” he said.

Overall, Mickey believes “squash is the single most enjoyable sport on Earth,” as he culminates his high school squash career tomorrow, Saturday, February 23, at Brooks School.

Good luck to Mickey and everyone on the squash squad at Brooks…

Emily Pratt ’16 Named CCC Women’s Basketball Player of the Year for Endicott College

Now the whole basketball world knows what everyone at Lawrence Academy ALWAYS knew – Emily Pratt ’16 is one heck of a player.

Yesterday, the Springfield, Massachusetts-based Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) named the Endicott College junior as its “Women’s Basketball Player of the Year.”

Endicott College Sports Information reported:

Emily Pratt ’16

With the announcement of today’s awards, Pratt is now the first student-athlete in women’s basketball program history to receive Player of the Year accolades since Ceciley Chisholm ’10 did so in 2009-10.

Pratt’s MVP-caliber year includes the following averages: 17.4 points per game (40.7 FG%, 34.6 3PT%, 74.5 FT%), 5.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.32 steals, and 0.48 blocks. Pratt currently ranks first in the conference in points (436), second in field goals made (145), steals (58), and points per 40 minutes (21.1), third in free throws made (102) and points per game (17.4), and fifth in three-point field goals made (44) and three-point field goal percentage (34.6).

Historically speaking, Pratt’s 436 points this season ranks ninth all-time in program history, while her 17.4 points per game are positioned fifth all-time. Pratt also ranks No. 12 on the all-time scoring list with 995 career points entering Thursday night’s CCC Tournament semifinal matchup…First-seeded Endicott (17-8, 13-3 CCC) will take on the winner of No. 5 Curry and No. 4 Roger Williams on Thursday, February 21 in the CCC Semifinals at a time to be determined later.

While with the Spartans, Pratt scored her 1000th point at TD Garden, becoming just the third Lawrence Academy girls’ basketball player to accomplish the feat.

As for this season, the CCC reported:

Pratt is the top-scorer on an Endicott team that will enter the CCC Women’s Basketball Championship as the top seed… Pratt had nine games of 20 or more points, with her season-high of 33 coming against Curry back in November. She was named the CCC Player of the Week three times (Weeks ending Dec. 2, Dec. 16, Jan. 20).

Congratulations and good luck to Emily!

Congratulations Emily!