Boys Lacrosse Looking to Build on Recent SuccessMar 30, 2021 06:00AM ● By Pamela Johnson
Bellingham Boys Lacrosse Coach Steve Linehan
Sports Spotlight by Eli Sylvia, Bulletin Sportswriter
The boys lacrosse program is excited to get back to work after missing the 2020 season. Coach Steve Linehan is in his 5th season as head coach. He will be joined by JV/Varsity Assistant Coach Mike Flynn. Both are looking forward to continuing their progress, building a quality program, and striving to improve the compete level in the Tri-Valley League. Coach Linehan said, “We’ve made great progress over the past few years having student athletes join our program that understand our commitment toward competitive spirit, accountability, and a healthy team environment.”
This year’s team will consist of the most balanced grade levels that the program has ever had. For the first time in the program’s history, over 95% of their players have several years of youth lacrosse under their belts before playing at the high school level. Linehan believes that “our previous head coaches have always had a significant disadvantage due to the lack of experienced players in the program.”
They have a solid core group of upperclassmen leading the team this spring. In spite of losing senior captain Anthony Galindo to a season-ending injury while training, they are excited to bring back several veteran players with years of experience. They have a talented group of seniors led by defensemen Brad Swain (captain) and Tommy Hammann, attackmen Jack Weigel, midfielder Brennan McCann, and Millis HS Co-op players Stephen Balboni, Ian McPoland and Joe Lund. The team also looks forward to contributions from first-year varsity senior Tommy Mailhot. The returning varsity juniors consist of goalie Mark Imparato, defenseman Sean Edwards, and the second leading scorer in the 2019 season, attackman Connor Henchey. Sophomores Liam Keating and Aiden Schaefer and freshman Max Walker could also provide valuable contributions to the varsity team.
Linehan said, “Overall, the path to our success lies with our development of players joining us from our BAYLO (youth lacrosse) program. We expect to have a record number of players registered for the upcoming season. We are all extremely excited to build on the recent successes of the winter and fall 2 seasons, and give our student athletes a healthy, competitive environment to enjoy the end of their school year.”
Cheer Team Starts Fall II
The Bellingham cheer team has just started the fall II season, and although it is not their normal season (or a normal way to cheer for football), they are very excited to be back together. They will be cheering for four home games in total and competing in a virtual competition in mid-April. The spring season will start after spring break, and that will be a competition-only season. There are 20 girls cheering football games; the group comprises varsity and JV athletes.
Bellingham Baseball Welcomes New Coaches
“This year we head into the unknown.” These are the words of Coach Doug Houston. “With the lost season, it is difficult to say what other teams in the league may have, and we are considered one of the most difficult leagues in the state of Massachusetts. So far, we have had a good response in sign-ups and dedication to getting better in the off season; and having an indoor facility like Next 9 Up so close to everyone’s back door helps the program develop throughout the off season.”
Baseball has a large group of seniors this year, which they hope will result in some success. Two four-year varsity players will return to the squad: Matthew Wilson and Jake Houston. Matt will play the corner positions and pitch for BHS and will head to Fitchburg State University to play baseball in the fall. Jake will be playing shortstop and pitcher, and in the fall will be attending Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Aiden Campellone should see time at second base and in the outfield, and he could be the team’s ace on the hill. Isaiah Sylvia is also returning with varsity experience and will likely see himself moving around the field and taking the hill from time to time. Blake Simpson, who will most likely be a staple in the outfield, is a returning varsity player as is Justin Seyffert, who has seen some time on the varsity hill.
They are hopeful that many of their other seniors have been putting in the time to improve during the off season, and they will have many options at each position. The team is headed into a season in which COVID-19 could be a factor. They will also be adopting a new set of rules through NFHS Rules.
Coach Houston said, “What I do know is that we are excited to get out on the field and show what we have and play ball again. We have received a great deal of support from our Athletic Director, Michael Connor, and a great group of coaches who want to help the program succeed. Andrew Nolan will be leading the JV squad, and Dan Sylvia will be our head freshman coach. We, as a program, have been very lucky over the years to have coaches like TJ Chiappone, Michael Reed, Michael Tessier, Jeffrey King, Paul Francesconi, and Peter Pasquerosa helping the program along the way. We will be lucky to have some new blood joining the program this year with Andrew Nolan, Dan Sylvia, Derek Izzo, Derek Houle, Jack Larose, and Ryan Johnston. Never say no to good help. This way of thinking has helped create an atmosphere of a winning program over the years.”
There has been a tremendous response for the 1st Annual Bellingham High School Golf Classic. The tournament will be held on May 17, 2021, at the New England Country Club. Bellingham High School alumni have come out of the woodwork to help. The event sold out in 8 days, and many of the sponsorships sold quickly. As of Bulletin deadline, they are still looking for hole sponsors and raffle gift items for the event.
Girls Volleyball Shaking Off the Rust
The girls volleyball team started off a little shaky early in the season with 2 losses to Norton, but came back strong on March 15th with a 3-2 win versus Millis. Some players needed to learn the system and shake off the rust. Coach Steve Mantegani said, “I have seen significant progress in the last week with our younger players and first-year varsity players; they are picking up the game and our system.”
Fall II has been much different from playing in the normal fall season and is more challenging. The shorter prep time for the season has been challenging because they have only two returning starters from last year, TVL All-Star Emily Janell and Tatum Lee; both will serve as captains. They have one other returning varsity member, Shanna Moores, who will be stepping in to set this year. They added 8 other players to join this trio, including five other seniors, a freshman, and two 8th-graders.
Two of the seniors are first-year players because they are playing in Fall II, which doesn’t conflict with their normal fall sport seasons. Haylee Morrison, a soccer player, has been learning on the fly, and Brooke Silvestri joined the team from field hockey. Seniors who moved up from JV last year include Kendall Abely, Amanda Holland, and Jalyn Turner. Given smaller numbers this year and no juniors at tryouts, they reached down to get Ciara Crayton, who played JV last year as an 8th-grader along with 8th-graders Maya Jackson and Taylor Callery. The team will rely on Emily and Tatum to carry the offense, but are seeing great contributions from Haylee and Maya on the outside.
Coach Mantegani said, “We expect to continue to improve and get all 11 girls playing time in each match as they continue to improve.”
Notes from the Athletic Director
Registration for the spring HS athletic season is now open. To register, go to Family ID.com and search on Bellingham, MA athletics.
The spring season, which begins Monday, April 26, consists of 6 parts, including baseball/softball, B/G lacrosse, B/G track and field, boys volleyball, and cheer, which was moved from winter to spring because of COVID.
By Eli Sylvia, Bulletin Sportswriter