Family, Motivation Fueled Bridgewater State’s Victoria McDonough

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Bridgewater State’s Victoria McDonough was a player to watch the past three years with the Bears’ women’s lacrosse program. (PHOTO COURTESY: Bridgewater State Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Victoria McDonough will always remember the “good times” with the Bridgewater State University women’s lacrosse program: dinners with teammates, spring break trips, and wins, of course. But she will also remember being a part of a family – “We really grew closer and closer every day,” said McDonough of her coaches and teammates.

This family – the Bridgewater State women’s lacrosse program – was instrumental in helping the Marshfield, Massachusetts native thrive on the lacrosse field, including as a first-year student-athlete that was named Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Rookie of the Week four times. 

Over the next two years, McDonough became the player to watch on the Bears, averaging 48.5 goals, 47 assists, and 89 draw controls in 35 contests. She posted a career-high 96 points in 19 games during her sophomore season before registering career-bests in goals (52) and draw controls (92) one year later.

McDonough’s effort last spring earned her a slew of postseason honors, including a spot on the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) D-III All-Berkshire Second Team.

“I didn’t physically do anything different,” McDonough said when asked how she prepared for her third season with the Bears. “I kept the same workout regiment, but once the season started I (just) noticed a mental change.”

McDonough claims she took more risks as a junior while becoming one of the team’s leaders. She led the Bears to the MASCAC Tournament and was named a captain for the 2020 season.

In just five games this year, McDonough tallied 15 goals and seven assists while snatching 35 draw controls. She was also named the MASCAC Player of the Week on Monday, March 16.

McDonough hopes to stay involved with lacrosse, perhaps as a coach after volunteering for Bridgewater Raynham Girls Youth Lacrosse last year. “(My experience) made me realize how much I want to help these kids learn this sport at a young age,” she said.

As for what the future holds, McDonough claims she is interested in “many different” opportunities and has not decided which path she will pursue after graduation. But one thing she does plan to do is stay involved with her second family – she looks forward to attending games next school year while cheering on her teammates from the stands.

“This team has a lot of amazing players,” she said. “I believe they have a great season ahead of them, and I cannot wait to (cheer them on) next year.”

Noontime’s Senior Salute: Nicole Pacheco (Framingham State)

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Nichole Pacheco recorded 144 points with the Framingham State women’s lacrosse program in 60 contests. (PHOTO COURTESY: Framingham State University Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

Before her final season with the Framingham State University women’s lacrosse program concluded earlier this year, Nicole Pacheco celebrated a special milestone by netting her 100th goal during her team’s 23-13 victory against Johnson & Wales University.

The goal itself was a fitting ending for Pacheco, who has helped the Rams enjoy a great deal of success these past few years while vying for the team’s initial conference tournament championship.

With Pacheco at midfield, the Rams became a team to watch in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) – Framingham State won last season’s regular-season crown while making back-to-back appearances in the league’s tournament title game in 2018 and 2019.

Pacheco played 60 games for the Rams, recording 144 points on 101 goals and 43 assists while winning 121 draw controls. After registering 44 points in her first season, Pacheco enjoyed an impressive sophomore year, tallying career-highs in goals (38), assists (19), points (57), and draws (51). She also finished her career with 102 caused turnovers and 207 shots, including 156 shots on net.

We recently caught up with Nicole Pacheco to discuss her time with the Rams, as well as her future plans beyond graduation this spring.


Was there a game (or two) that you will remember most from either your senior season or the past three years? If so, which game(s) are they?

I would say there were two games I’ll always remember. The first is when we beat Bridgewater State for the first time in program history in 2018. The game itself was intense.

The second game I’ll remember is when we beat Westfield State last spring in overtime. The game felt like a scene out of a movie. We fought so hard and it was our first win against the Owls in program history.

Both wins showed how far this program has come and what it is capable of doing in the future.

What have you enjoyed most about competing for the Framingham State women’s lacrosse program these past four years? What will you miss most after graduation? 

Friendships. It’s more than just lacrosse games and practices.

This team has always challenged one another to be better and get better, and I loved that our team fought and never gave up, especially when the odds were against us. I will miss walking down to the field together while stepping onto the turf for practices. 

I will also miss our team’s goal celebrations. Nothing was more electric than running, jumping, hitting sticks, and handshakes after my teammates or I scored a goal. The whole team would go nuts.

Do you hope to stay involved with your sport in the future? Any interest in being a coach? 

Yes, I would like to think that lacrosse will always be a part of my life, and I could potentially see myself in a coaching role in the future.

Tell me about your major. How did you choose it and what do you plan to do with it after graduation? 

I am a criminology major and plan to further my education by pursuing a master’s degree in one of the following subject matters: advanced counterterrorism or cybersecurity. After I conclude my time in the classroom, I plan to pursue a career in the criminal justice field.

Noonan: Revisiting My First Lacrosse Championship Game

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Tufts University’s Beau Wood (No. 18) netted the game-winning goal for the Jumbos against Bowdoin College in the 2012 NESCAC Championship game. (PHOTO COURTESY: Matt Noonan)

By Matt Noonan 

The month of May, in my opinion, will always be associated with the sport of lacrosse.

It is a month that features a slew of college tournaments and championships to NCAA postseason runs that concludes on Memorial Day weekend.

But while the sport of lacrosse, as well as other games, remain sidelined for the moment, memories of games covered, including my first-ever New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Tournament Final, is on my mind. And it is hard not to think back to that gorgeous day – May 6, 2012, to be exact – when Tufts University outlasted Bowdoin College, 9-8, in double-overtime

At the time, I didn’t know much about lacrosse. I thought it was hockey on grass – maybe basketball, too – but it was a sport I grew to love from watching a talented Tufts team (and program), which had won its first-ever national championship two years earlier against Salisbury University.

I got my first glimpse of these Jumbos in mid-April of 2012 when Tufts rolled past Amherst College, 15-5. It was an impressive win.

Mike Daly, who was the coach of the Jumbos, told me neither he or his coaching staff anticipated his team was going to beat Amherst by ten goals on this particular afternoon. Instead, Daly, who is currently the head coach of the Brown University men’s lacrosse team, told me that his team “just put together a pretty complete effort today.” And that effort would certainly be on display weeks later when I covered Tufts’ dramatic win over a Bowdoin, which would conclude its 2012 campaign in the second round of the NCAA D-III Tournament.

Bowdoin was a good team. They had scored some impressive conference wins in 2012, as well as some important non-league victories against Keene State and Springfield College. They beat Wesleyan University in the NESCAC quarterfinals before knocking off Trinity College in the semifinals shortly after Tufts topped Connecticut College.

Tufts had beaten Bowdoin prior to their championship meeting – the Jumbos topped the Polar Bears, 15-7, in Medford, Massachusetts, which made me think the young men who wore the powder blue, brown and white jerseys that day would duplicate that performance on the same field. But I was wrong.

Instead, I, along with fans and friends of each program, was treated to an amazing back and forth affair that saw Bowdoin erase a two-goal deficit during the final minutes of the fourth quarter to force not one, but two extra sessions.

Tufts had a chance to win the game in the first overtime but neither Nick Rhoads and Beau Wood were able to deposit their attempt past Bowdoin’s, Chris Williamson. Bowdoin would also have a chance to clinch the victory but watched Conor O’Toole‘s shot sail wide of the Tufts cage.

So, with the score still knotted at 8-8, we quickly advanced to a second overtime period. And like many, I wondered which team would score that game-winner? Would it be Bowdoin, since they seemed to have all the momentum, thanks to back-to-back fourth-quarter goals by Keegan Mehlhorn and Will Wise, or Tufts, which had not located the back of the net since the final seconds of the third quarter?

That question would be answered during the sixth and final period when Tufts scored on its third attempt of the session with 1:50 remaining. Beau Wood fired home the game-winner after receiving a pass from Geordie Shafer. And once the ball slipped past Bowdoin’s Chris Williamson, the Jumbos rushed the field to celebrate a hard-fought yet exhilarating win.

“We knew we had to just end (the game) it as soon (as we got the ball),” Wood remarked shortly after his team’s one-goal win.

Indeed, the Jumbos did end it, but not until they forced their second turnover of the second overtime.

Tufts would advance to the NCAA semifinals two weeks later but saw their run toward a national title conclude against SUNY Cortland. The Red Dragons, which beat the Jumbos by a score of 12-10, would end up losing in the finals to Salisbury, who had beaten Tufts in the national title game one year earlier.

Sure, it was disappointing to see a team you had covered fall short of winning the ultimate prize, but I knew eventually this team (and program) would celebrate a championship in the future. And that they did. Tufts would win a pair of titles in the coming years, including their second national championship against Salisbury in 2014. They would also make a third-straight appearance in the championship game in 2016 but lose by one goal to the Sea Gulls of Salisbury.

Tufts will return to the title game again soon. But for now, I consider myself lucky to have covered and chronicled their various campaigns these past few years through NoontimeSports.com. I will always be thankful for the time both Mike Daly and his players provided me after the three contests I covered in 2012 and will continue to look back on this time fondly. I was a young journalist (and blogger), but also someone that wanted to learn more about a sport that I had only played once in my life. And because of Tufts, I am now an avid lacrosse fan, as well as a high school and middle school official here in Massachusetts.

I miss watching and covering games, especially on gorgeous days like today, but I do know better days are ahead for all of us, and they will certainly include exciting and dramatic one-goal victories.

Noontime’s Senior Salute: Grace Gamache (Framingham State)

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Framingham State senior Grace Gamache recorded 283 points in four seasons for the Rams. (PHOTO COURTESY: Framingham State Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

Since her initial season with the Framingham State University women’s lacrosse program, Grace Gamache has been a player to watch on offense.

The Dartmouth, Massachusetts native tallied 283 points in four seasons, including 22 points on 15 goals and seven assists in just four games this spring.

After registering 54 points in 13 games as a first-year in 2017, Gamache enjoyed a very successful sophomore season, recording career-highs in goals (55), assists (56), and points (111). Additionally, she snatched a career-best 114 draws while firing 114 shots, including 86 on net.

Gamache earned a trio of first-team honors with the Rams from the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) while leading her team to its first-ever regular-season title last April with a 17-5 win over Worcester State University.

We recently spoke with Grace Gamache about her four years with the Rams, as well as her future plans beyond graduation later this spring.


What will you remember most about your final season with the Rams? 

The friendships my teammates and I made these past few years. Getting to do what you love with your best friends every day has been an amazing experience. I have made lifelong friends here at Framingham State, and although we didn’t get to end our four-year career the way we wanted to, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

Was there a game (or two) that you will remember most from either your senior season or the past three years? If so, which game(s) are they? 

I would say there were two games specifically that I’ll never forget. The first was my sophomore year against Bridgewater State. The Bears have always been tough competition and one of the top teams in our conference. We won by one goal and it was the program’s first win against Bridgewater State in ten meetings. Our hard work and preparation paid off and it was such a good feeling.

The second game was our overtime win against Westfield State my junior year. We had lost to them the prior year in our conference tournament championship so to be able to beat them, especially in overtime, was amazing.

What have you enjoyed most about competing for your team (and program) these past four years? What will you miss most after graduation? 

I think what I have enjoyed most about playing and competing for Framingham was being able to see the growth we made as a program. This program has come so far and to make an impact on the future of the team is something I feel is really exciting. I am definitely going to miss putting on that uniform every week and getting to play alongside such an amazing group of young women while playing for a great coaching staff. We have become family over these last four years and that is something I’ll cherish forever.

Do you hope to stay involved with your sport in the future? Any interest in being a coach? 

I definitely plan on staying involved with lacrosse after I graduate. I started a summer camp two years ago for local middle school and high school players and it has been a huge success. I have also had the opportunity to coach for a club team during the summer, as well, so I hope to continue doing that with the hope of eventually coaching a high school program.

Tell me about your major. How did you choose it and what do you plan to do with it after graduation? 

I am majoring in sociology with a minor in psychology. I have always enjoyed working with people and learning about different parts of society and how they all interact and work together. After graduation, I hope to get my master’s in special education.

MIAA, RIIL Cancels Spring Sports

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Four New England states have canceled high school spring sports. (VISUALHUNT.com)

By Matt Noonan 

Both Massachusetts and Rhode Island joined Maine and New Hampshire by canceling its state’s spring high school sports season this afternoon.

The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) and Rhode Island Interscholastic League (RIIL) both shared this news on their respective Twitter accounts.

Both states are abiding by the advice of Governors Charlie Baker and Gina Raimondo, who have ordered both Massachusetts and Rhode Island to conclude their respective academic schools years online, not in-person.

Connecticut has not canceled its spring sports season, but the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) announced yesterday they will “not run any spring state championship events.” The CIAC could, however, have a regular-season in June, but that would only occur if schools reopen. Connecticut is not scheduled to reopen until May 20.

The Vermont Principals’ Association (VPA) will make an announcement regarding its spring sports season on Thursday, April 30.

Maine and New Hampshire announced the cancelations of its states’ spring sports season earlier this month.