Mount overwhelms Northmen for Division IV title
By Branden Mello
June 20, 2021
Cumberland — This is just the beginning.
For 18 minutes the underdog North Smithfield boys lacrosse team help undefeated top seed Mount St. Charles at bay in Saturday’s Division IV final, but as has been the case in every game this season, the Mounties’ superior depth and athleticism took its toll.
Led by an elite group of varsity and Academy hockey players, the Mounties scored the final five goals of the second quarter and the domination continued into a second half that felt like a coronation for a burgeoning state powerhouse. Freshman phenom Pat Murphy scored a game-high four goals, while Jason Mandeville, Ethan Letendre and Ethan Cordeiro each scored a hat trick in a 16-4 victory to claim the D-IV title at Tucker Field.
“We didn’t really expect this, but it feels great,” Cordeiro said just two months after helping the U18 team reach the USA Hockey Nationals semifinals. “You want to win a championship no matter what division you’re in, so it feels great. You can only hold us down for so long because we have so many scorers and we’ll move the ball around and eventually find the open guy for a goal. You really can’t stop it.”
“It’s real easy playing with this group of guys, it takes a lot of pressure off of me,” said Murphy, who played a hockey game in Massachusetts prior to the final and then played another later in the evening. “This is my first lacrosse championship I’ve actually ever won. I played for NK growing up and we never won. I have a few friends on the team that won [the D-II title] today, but we’d never won growing up.”
While it might sound patronizing, the reality for North Smithfield was just reaching the final was a massive accomplishment and something worth cherishing. Senior middie Ethan Cote scored three goals and assisted on attack Luke Pasquariello’s second-period effort, as the Northmen finished a season that will go down as the program’s first winning campaign and their first trip to a division final.
The Northmen’s only losses this season were to the Mounties.
“The kids did the right things for the first 18 minutes and it was just a two-goal game, which I was completely OK with,” North Smithfield coach Kevin Tondreau said. “We just had to stay with a few certain players that they had, but the defense started to get a little tired and they’re just so deep. We needed to keep it close going into the final quarter, but things lay the way they lay.
“For these kids, this was the first season we’ve ever been in the playoffs and the first time we ever had a winning season. This was great for the kids.”
Mount St. Charles (9-0) only won one game by fewer than nine goals this season, so the Mounties know they’re headed up a division and most likely they’re going to be in Division II where they will compete with established programs like North Kingstown, South Kingstown and East Greenwich.
The Mounties, however, are only going to get better going forward. Sure, Letendre long-stick middie Jon Lagesse are graduating, but there’s plenty of talent in the pipeline.
Just how deep is Mount? Freshman goalie John Parsons was incredible in net this season, but he’s moving to his primary position of defense next season because another goalie is coming into the program.
“I kind of expected this to happen because we’ve been doing it all season,” Parsons said.
“I’d say we’ve taken very big steps to move the program forward this year,” said Cordeiro, who came to Mount from one of the preeminent lacrosse programs in New England, La Salle. “We would’ve been competitive in D-III and had a shot in D-II as well. We’re taken big steps.”
Cote, who is headed to play lacrosse at Franklin Pierce, gave the Northmen a surprise lead just 1:53 into the game, but then the Mounties answered with three goals in the span of 90 seconds. Cordeiro tied the game and then Mandeville took a pass from Murphy to beat freshman Karter Chartier. Murphy scored his first goal moments later.
Cote scored a goal after a nice pass from Pasquariello to end the first quarter and then the team’s traded goals twice in the first six minutes of the second quarter to keep it a two-goal game. And then Mount’s athletes broke loose and the Northmen had no answers.
Cordeiro, Murphy, senior Owen Lotito, Letendre and Lagesse scored goals at the end of the second quarter to extend the lead to seven and sap the energy out of the Northmen on a hot June afternoon.
“We always seem to start slow and give up a few early goals,” Mount coach Joseph Ryan said. “We just need to find our rhythm and see what’s working. At that point we just turned on the switch. North Smithfield played a great game because they didn’t have as many kids as us and it was hot. They gave us a good game.”
Mount’s goal in the second half was to simply get the game to running time and they achieved that with their final goal of the third quarter when Mandeville scored. Murphy, who also had two assists, scored in the quarter, while Letendre scored twice to finish off his hat trick.
The title is Mount’s first since winning the 2008 Division II title. Based on the trajectory of the program, the Mounties won’t have to wait another 13 seasons to celebrate in June.
“We hope this is the beginning of something,” Ryan said. “Success breeds success and kids are going to realize Mount has a lacrosse program – and a good one, so we’ll see where we wind up next year. I know we’re moving up, but we just don’t know how high. Like this year, we’ll play the schedule we get.”
BOYS LACROSSE: Division IV championship: Mount leaves little doubt who’s best
Eric Rueb – The Providence Journal
June 19, 2021
CUMBERLAND — How much was Mount St. Charles in control of Saturday’s RIIL Boys Lacrosse Division IV final?
For the first three minutes of the fourth quarter, goalie John Parsons leaned on the right post of his net, chatting with teammate Matt Rizoli while the Mounties’ offense possessed the ball and let the clock run.
For 19 minutes, Mount St. Charles was in a battle with North Smithfield. By halftime, the battle was over. The Mounties closed the second quarter with five unanswered goals, then sent the game to running time in the third en route to a 16-4 win that earned them the Division IV title.
“They started off very strong; they were covering all of our guys,” Mount’s Ethan Cordeiro said. “We just have too many scorers. Eventually, we’ll get goals and get going.”
“We realized this is what we’ve been working for all season,” Mount’s Jason Mandeville said. “Unfortunately, the season isn’t incredibly long but … we were able to play. We knew this was the end and this was it. We just had to come out, finish what we had and put them away.”
Mount’s final five minutes of the second quarter consisted of its best lacrosse of the afternoon.
North Smithfield’s Ethan Cote scored his second goal of the day that put the Northmen — making the first title appearance in the program’s five-year history — down, 6-4, with six minutes left in the second.
From there, the Mounties took over. Cordeiro scored 58 seconds later, freshman Patrick Murphy made it 8-4 with 2:46 left and, 48 seconds later, Owen Lotito added another. Ethan Letendre scored to make it 10-4 with 33.4 seconds left, and just before the halftime horn, Colden Lawrence hit Jonathan Lagasse for a pretty one-timer that sent Mount into halftime, up 11-4.
“It makes us feel so much better when we have the separation, where we have that few-goal lead, where, if there’s a turnover, it’s not as big a deal as if it’s a one-goal game,” said Mandeville, who scored three goals in the win. “Once we got up by a few, it made us feel better and more comfortable.”
The scoring didn’t stop after the break. Murphy scored his fourth goal of the game with 7:15 left in the third and 10 seconds later, Letendre got another. Later in the quarter, Aidan Darlington and Letendre added goals 18 seconds apart and once Mandeville scored with 1:36 left, the game went to a running clock situation.
“It’s a championship game. There are no do-overs, you don’t want to let anyone stay around for too long,” said Cordeiro, who scored three goals. “It was good to get that lead and keep putting them in.”
The Northmen didn’t get a win in their championship debut but they did bring home a plaque for the trophy case. This spring was a dream season for North Smithfield, which had never made the playoffs previously, never mind play for a title.
“We got demolished but it was a pleasure to be here, at least,” Cote said. “After the first captains’ practice, I didn’t think we’d be here but all the kids put in the effort.
“It shows that even after we leave and all the seniors are gone that we still have a chance to come back and win.”
The title was Mount’s first since winning the 2008 Division II crown and its first final since losing the D-II title game in 2010. Saturday’s win was monumental for the players — including several hockey players who didn’t get to play for state titles because of COVID-19 cancellations the last two seasons — as well as the program, which is chock full of young talent that should be able to compete for titles for the next few years.
“This year was Division IV, next year we might be better,” Mandeville said. “We just want to keep building this program until we’re all the way at the top.”
“It sent a good message to the rest of the league,” Cordeiro said, “that we’re a legit team and we can play.”