Postscript from Drew at Goucher

Fratella emerges as attackman of future for Landmark Conference tournament champion Gophers

May 06, 2012|By Edward Lee

Zachary Fratella may not garner as much attention as some of his Goucher teammates, but that’s understandable.

Senior attackman Kyle Boncaro leads the offense in both goals (54) and points (81), and he set the single-season record for goals in the team’s 10-7 victory over Drew in Saturday’s Landmark Conference tournament final at Gopher Stadium in Towson. Senior Matt Lynch is the Gophers’ top playmaker with 37 assists, and senior attackman Rory Averett, who ranks second on the offense in goals (48), had held the record for most goals in season until Boncaro passed him.

But Goucher fans may have glimpsed a sign of the future as Fratella scored three goals against the Rangers. He scored once during the team’s 5-0 run to begin the contest, ignited another 3-0 spurt spanning the second and third quarters, and added the final goal of the game when Drew tried to cut into a two-goal deficit in the fourth period.

The junior, who switched from midfield to attack midway through the season, said he is fully aware of why opposing defenses don’t key on him despite ranking fourth on the team in both goals (26) and points (34).

“Rory and Kyle are great players and four-year starters,” Fratella said. “I played midfield for the first half of the season and then got switched down to the attack. I’m just willing to do whatever my coach asks to help the team.”

Coach Kyle Hannan said Fratella is still learning the tricks of the trade, especially on when to attack and when to pull back and look for another opportunity.

“He beats his guy the majority of the time, but we’re still getting him to understand when’s the right time to go and when not because he wants to go all the time,” Hannan said. “… He was a leader this year and an offensive threat, and next year, we need him to do the same.”

Fratella showed an ability to score off a variety of moves, scoring on the crease, converting from the slot, and then dodging from goal line-extended right to the middle of the slot. That versatility will be needed when Boncaro and Averett graduate after this season.

“I’ve got some pretty big shoes to fill,” Fratella acknowledged. “But I think we’ve got a good recruiting class coming in and people are going to step up. It’s pretty hard to replace Kyle and Rory, but we’re going to do our best. I’m going to do my best to be the leader of that corps.”

Other notes:

*Boncaro’s goal with 11:09 left in the third quarter helped him pass Averett as the program’s leader for the most goals in a single season, but Boncaro shared the credit with his teammate. “He helped me break the single-season record as much as I helped him last year,” Boncaro said. “He really does a lot for us on attack and without Matt Lynch or the 35 other players on the team, I wouldn’t have been able to do that.” In the end, however, the record paled in comparison to winning the Landmark Conference tournament and getting that automatic qualifier for the NCAA tournament. “I think overall, this day means more than the record does,” Boncaro said. “I could care less about scoring 54 goals in a season as long as we accomplished our goal of being the Landmark champion.”

*The Gophers’ 5-0 run to begin Saturday’s title game was aided by a relentless defense that contributed to the Rangers ending all seven of their offensive possessions in the first quarter in turnovers. Junior defenseman Paul Taylor said the unit’s aggression played a role in Drew’s miscues, but he also said there was another factor. “I think we were getting out and pressuring the ball, but for the most part, I think they were pretty excited,” Taylor said. “They threw a couple out of bounds, and I think our pressure and our speed really helped.” Rangers coach Thomas Leano agreed, saying, “I thought the first quarter was excessive for us, but once again, I thought part of that was nerves and part of it was that Goucher was fit and ready to play.”

*Senior midfielder Sean McGowan entered the contest as Drew’s leader in both goals (34) and points (43), but the Landmark Player of the Year was limited to just one goal on four shots. The Gophers countered McGowan’s speed with senior short-stick defensive midfielder Jackson Lane, one of their fastest players, and Lane said he was inspired by McGowan’s conference honor. “The fact that they got all-league and stuff fueled the fire for us,” Lane said. “I was just ready to go. … I pretty much knew that he was strong hand-dominant. So I just stayed to his top side and played his weak hand, and it worked.”

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