Globe North High School Lacrosse

For Central Catholic’s girls lacrosse, it’s Sister Act 3

Central Catholic’s Taylor O’Neil looks for an opening during a game against Dracut last Saturday. Three sets of sisters play for the team. Central Catholic’s Taylor O’Neil looks for an opening during a game against Dracut last Saturday. Three sets of sisters play for the team. (Winslow Townson/For The Boston Globe)
By Arielle Aronson
Globe Correspondent / April 14, 2011

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In their first two games of the season, convincing victories over Chelmsford and Dracut, the Central Catholic girls’ lacrosse squad was in perfect rhythm. No “getting to know each other’’ for the Red Raiders.

Which should come as no surprise, given that three sets of sisters are in the regular rotation for coach Phil Rowley’s squad. There’s the O’Neils: Taylor, a junior, plays defensive wing, while her sister Courtney, a senior, is a team tricaptain along with Christine Keenan and Courtney Smith.

There’s the Mascuccis: Erin is a senior defender, while her sister, Ashley, is a freshman defensive wing.But the Foggo sisters play together most. Mary, a junior, starts in goal, while Claire, a sophomore, plays defense.

Because of their respective positions, their relationsihp on the field is a bit different than at home.

“What’s kind of funny there is that Claire has taken the role of the bigger sister,’’ said Rowe. “She’s protecting her sister and trying to prevent anybody from shooting on her. It works out very well.’’

But while the Foggo sisters find their roles reversed during games, Mary is still quick to assert herself as the older sister. Last season, when Claire was a freshman, Mary made sure that Claire knew her place on the team; she was even more meticulous with Claire in making sure she fulfilled freshman duties such as carrying water bottles and ball buckets.

The Masucci sisters also have had a little bit of a role reversal, because Ashley has actually been playing lacrosse longer than Erin. Ashley did not need much help from Erin in terms of improving her lacrosse skills and instead used her sister more as a cheerleader for tryouts than as a coach.

“She was encouraging me and helping me along more than pushing me,’’ Ashley said. “She is always there for me, so that was kind of the best part to have a support system.’’

As the older sister, Erin has been protective of Ashley whenever she feels the team is giving her little sister too much grief for being a freshman.

The O’Neils also help each other out frequently, but Courtney still finds ways to remind Taylor who’s who. Courtney occasionally stands behind Taylor during shooting practice, and grabs Taylor’s stick so that her throws go nowhere.

Aside from the small sibling squabbles, however, the girls all said they enjoy having their sisters on the team.

“If you have questions about how you’re doing, if you confront other people on the team, they are not as upfront with you,’’ said Courtney O’Neil. “But if you go up to your sister after the game and ask, ‘How did I do?’, she will be honest enough to say, ‘A little bit of a rough game,’ but then she will tell you how to improve.’’

“It’s definitely like a bonding thing,’’ Taylor O’Neil said. “We have communication with each other that helps us out on the field.’’

But the bonding is not limited to the siblings. The entire team has come together as a unit very quickly, and the Raiders are seeing the results on the scoreboard. The win over Chelmsford was the first over the Lions in the program’s four-year history.

“Going into the game, I was just hoping to be strong with them,’’ Rowley said facing Chelmsford. “They are one of the perennial powerhouses in our area. We got off to a quick start and just took everything away from them. It was fantastic.’’

Rowley attributed the strong start to his team’s speed, conditioning, and defense, but Courtney noted that she thinks having so many sisters on the team has helped the team play more as a unit and less as individuals.

“Everyone sees the sisters together, so they become closer too,’’ Courtney O’Neil said. “It just feels closer, and last year I think our team was more individuals. We’re more well-rounded this year than we have been before.’’

Trio slide neatly right off the ice St. John’s Prep seniors Colin Blackwell and John Farrow and junior Dave Letarte are adjusting to life off the ice this spring while helping the Eagles make another run at a Division 1 state title. This winter, they helped fuel the Prep hockey squad to the Super 8 final.

“It helps us that they were so successful [in hockey] and were around a winning environment,’’ Prep lacrosse coach John Roy said. “They know what it takes to get to a championship game. That type of attitude and work ethic and spirit definitely carries over to lacrosse.’’

Blackwell and Farrow are entering their third year on varsity lacrosse, while Letarte is playing varsity for the first time this season. For the past two lacrosse seasons, Farrow and Blackwell played on a midfield line together, but this season they will likely be separated as Blackwell may move up to attack.

“Colin is also a tremendous lacrosse player and he has had some experience at attack,’’ Roy said. “Because of the players we had last year, we were pretty secure at the attack position, but this year we were a little bit thin, so since Colin has had experience at attack, we moved him there.’’

Ipswich’s Corkum playing it smart Ipswich senior attack Kim Corkum is off to a blazing start, with 29 goals and two assists through the team’s four games. Her numbers are staggering, but Tigers coach Greg Churchill is not surprised.

“She was the Cape Ann League Small Player of the Year last year, so I knew she had the potential to do well,’’ Churchill said. “She’s got some supporting actors around her, so I kind of expected it.’’

Riding Corkum’s hot start, the Tigers won their first four games, including victories over Bishop Fenwick and Pentucket.

“She works hard, has a good shot, and is smart,’’ Churchill said. “I really try to teach all the girls to play smart and learn lacrosse. I think she is that — she is a student of the game, but she also works really hard.’’

Arielle Aronson can be reached at