A Father-Son Duo Leads The Way At Bridgewater State University

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Ryan Verria has enjoyed reuniting with his father on the gridiron at Bridgewater State University. (PHOTO COURTESY: Bridgewater State University Athletics)

By Matt Noonan 

Ryan Verria had a few thoughts on his mind during his initial practice with the Bridgewater State University football team in August of 2018. 

His main focus was impressing the coaching staff, as well as a few friends he knew from growing up three miles away from campus. But he was also thinking about how he would tell his teammates that his father, Joe Verria, was the team’s head coach. 

“In the back of my head (while going through our conditioning test) I was thinking about how to bring up the topic that my dad is the coach,” said Verria, who was recently elected one of the team’s captains last month for the upcoming season.  

“You don’t always see (a father-son duo) at the collegiate level,” he added. 

The team would eventually learn both Ryan and Joe were related. In fact, Verria said his teammates embraced the father-son relationship, claiming it was “pretty cool” that Ryan was able to play for his father, who had coached him previously through various youth sports leagues while growing up in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. 

“I (have come) to realize how unique and special this experience is because not many people get to say they played for their dad at the collegiate level,” said Verria, who plays wide receiver for the Bears

Verria didn’t plan to compete for his father initially after graduating from Boston College High School in 2017. Instead, he elected to leave the area to play football at John Carroll University in Ohio where he competed for the Blue Streak’s junior varsity program. Ryan made some impressive plays, according to his father, who recalls watching clips of his son’s games that the JCU coaching staff provided him. 

But watching plays of Ryan on a phone or computer was only temporary as Joe would soon see his son make similar plays in person one year later when he transferred home to compete for the Bridgewater State football team as an incoming sophomore.

“It didn’t dawn on me that he would come back,” said Joe Verria when asked about his son deciding to return home to play football at Bridgewater State. “But when it happened, I thought this is going to be great.”

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Bridgewater State University football coach (and alum) Joe Verria has thoroughly enjoyed coaching his son, Ryan Verria, the past two seasons. (PHOTO COURTESY: Bridgewater State University Athletics)

And so far, it seems the experience for both Joe and Ryan has been great as the father-son duo has celebrated a pair of Cranberry Bowl wins against Massachusetts Maritime Academy, including a dramatic come-from-behind win last season, along with a New England Bowl victory in 2018 against Salve Regina University.

Ryan credits his teammates for helping him grow and improve these past two years, as well as his father, who he is constantly conversing with about strategy both in-person and through text messages. The conversations, both after games and on Sundays also include offensive and defensive breakdowns to new routes the receivers could run during practice to some motivational tactics both Verria’s could use to inspire the team for a successful game day.

But as much as Joe enjoys these dialogues about the x’s and o’s with his son, it is truly the opportunity he has, both currently and in the past, to teach his favorite sport to Ryan while cracking a smile on game days when he makes a play on offense or special teams.

“You know, you’re sitting out there at practice and I am watching the offense execute and (Ryan) is running around and making plays, and you say to yourself, ‘man, I can’t believe he is out there,’ but it is kind of cool,” said Joe Verria.

Joe – just like any parent – is proud of his son’s growth and improvement over the past few years, as well as the leader he has become both on and off the field. He admires Ryan’s leadership – he considers his son someone that leads by his actions, not words, which is certainly one of many reasons why his teammates voted him captain for the upcoming season.

Ryan is honored to be a captain – he knows he is representing a well-respected program that his father competed for from 1976 to 1979. But excluding discussing his current captain duties, which currently pertains to staying in touch with his classmates and teammates this summer, Ryan lights up when chatting about the impact his father – and yes, his mother, too – have made on his life. Both parents have shared some important words of wisdom, along with some important advice that will continue to allow Ryan to thrive both on the playing field and perhaps as a future coach like his father.

“Yeah, coaching is definitely a possibility,” Ryan said with a smile.

But for now, Ryan will focus on being the best receiver he can be while enjoying one final season with his Joe as his head coach.

Around The Rim with Bob Whitney

Around The Rim Whitney Social

By Bob Whitney 

Some random thoughts after looking around at the local and national basketball landscape.

The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)/Big Ten Conference (B1G) Basketball Challenge is always at the top of my viewing list each year – I love channel surfing.

This year, the Big 10 Conference reigned supreme with some impressive showings by Maryland, Purdue, Ohio State, and Penn State.

Purdue absolutely dismantled Virginia and exposed the ‘Hoos offensive shortcomings while Ohio State throttled North Carolina. It’s early but Ohio State is looking like they have the horsepower to make a run to the Final Four next April.

Speaking of the ACC, Boston College is on a four-game losing spin and facing a rigorous conference road trip this Saturday at Norte Dame. A highly-touted freshman class must grow up in a hurry or the Eagles will once again reside in the ACC’s bottom quartile.

Save the date: current No. 1 Louisville will visit Conte Forum on Jan. 29. Tip-off is scheduled for 9 p.m.

Carl Pierre, who played high school basketball at Boston College High School, is having an excellent season at UMass. The 2017 Catholic Conference MVP and two-time conference all-star selection is currently averaging 12 points per game.

Pierre and the Minutemen will visit Harvard on Saturday, December 7th with tip-off scheduled for 1 p.m. UMass will attempt to snap a four-game skid, which began prior to Thanksgiving with a 58-46 setback to Virginia. Harvard enters the non-conference clash at 4-4 – the Crimson have lost two-straight since beating Texas A&M last Thursday. 

Newton North’s Ethan Wright has seen an uptick in playing time this season with the Princeton Tigers. The second-year guard has logged 93 minutes in six contests this season – he even started a game last month against Indiana. Wright has scored 13 points on 5 of 21 shooting, including 3 of 14 from beyond the arc. He has pulled down 13 rebounds, including two offensive caroms to go along with five assists and two blocks.

Wright and the Tigers sit at 1-6 and are scheduled to compete next Tuesday, December 10th against Monmouth. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.

Coach Trish Brown and the Stonehill College women’s basketball team are off to an impressive 6-2 start. Sure, their lone setbacks have come against Bentley and Molloy, but they have been fun to watch, especially in their last two contests against Assumption College and Franklin Pierce.

Emily Bramanti, who played locally for Westford Academy, credited all of her teammates in their most recent win against the Ravens for stepping-up and making plays when needed.

“That is just the greatness of our team is that any night anybody can step-up and play, so it’s really exciting to see how far we can get going,” she said following the Skyhawks’ 68-59 win over the Ravens.

Bramanti concluded her team’s eighth contest with a team-high 16 points.

Stonehill hosts Saint Anselm College on Saturday before heading to Daytona Beach Florida two weeks later to compete in the Daytona Beach Shootout.

Finally, the Babson College men’s basketball team scored an exciting and impressive win last night over Amherst CollegeFrank Oftring, who grew up in North Attleboro, Massachusetts netted a career-high 30 points in the win to go along with 10 rebounds.

Babson’s Andrew Jaworski finished with 23 points with four of those points being recorded during the final 30 seconds of the second half.

Babson, which is 12-3 against the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) dating back to the 2016-17 season, will look to continue its early-season momentum this weekend when they compete in the New England Big 4 Challenge at Salem State University.

I’m getting ready to head back to warm and sunny Florida so I’ll be writing from the Sunshine State next week.

KEEP SHOOTING, Everyone!

Mass. High Schools Lax Notebook: Monday’s Eastern Mass. Rankings & Links

NS Mass Lax Notebook May 2019

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports & @Noontime_HS 

A new week of high school lacrosse in Eastern Massachusetts is set to begin later today (and this evening), so let’s unveil our latest boys and girl’s lacrosse Top 10 polls, along with some news and links from across the world wide web.


Eastern Massachusetts Boy’s Lacrosse Top 10 | Monday, May 6th, 2019

  1. Lincoln-Sudbury
  2. Acton-Boxborough
  3. Medfield
  4. Xaverian Brothers
  5. Hingham
  6. Concord-Carlisle
  7. Winchester
  8. Duxbury
  9. St. John’s Prep (Danvers)
  10. Reading

On The Rise: Austin Prep, Bishop Fenwick, Boston College High School, Cohasset, Dover-Sherborn, Franklin, Foxborough, Marshfield, Melrose, Natick, Needham, Newton North, Norwell, St. Mary’s (Lynn), Wayland, and Westwood. 


Eastern Massachusetts Girl’s Lacrosse Top 10 | Monday, May 6th, 2019

  1. Notre Dame Academy (Hingham)
  2. Westwood
  3. Walpole
  4. Needham
  5. Norwell
  6. Lincoln-Sudbury
  7. Franklin
  8. Wellesley
  9. Concord-Carlisle
  10. Manchester-Essex

On The Rise: Chelmsford, Cohasset, Dover-Sherborn, Duxbury, Ipswich, King Phillip, Lexington, Marblehead, Natick, Newton North, North Andover, Reading, and Wayland 


News & Links from the Eastern Massachusetts Lacrosse World 


Stay connected with Noontime Sports’ Lacrosse coverage by following @NoontimeLax on Twitter! 

Mass. High Schools: Thursday Roundup

NS HS ROUNDUP

By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11 

Weeks after scoring its initial win over Malden, the Medford boy’s lacrosse team found themselves needing to claw back from a two-goal deficit not once, but twice to secure hard-fought 8-7 overtime victory over the Golden Tornadoes on Thursday afternoon at the Edgerly Sports Complex.

Medford’s PJ Haberstroh netted back-to-back goals, including the equalizer with 4:44 remaining in the fourth quarter before Tom Connearney clinched the win for the Blue and White with a transition goal during the final seconds of overtime.

The win provided the Mustangs with a season-sweep of the Golden Tornadoes, who led for a majority of the contest, thanks to key contributions from Zach Rufo and Collin Wilcox.

Malden led 3-1 after one quarter before Medford stormed back to even the score at 4-4 at the break, thanks to a strike from Connearney, which was set-up by Joe Sargent.

Both teams would swap goals throughout the opening minutes of the third before Malden pushed ahead, 7-5, thanks to back-to-back tallies from Rufo and Wilcox.

Medford returns to action next Monday, May 6th when they visit Salem, while the Golden Tornadoes are scheduled to face Matignon on Saturday, May 4th at 1 p.m. Malden and Matignon were scheduled to compete earlier this spring, but the game was postponed to this weekend.


Thursday’s High School Lacrosse Scoreboard | May 2nd, 2019 

Boy’s Lacrosse

  • Braintree 15, Weymouth 6
  • St. John’s Prep 8, BC High 6
  • Beverly 9, Swampscott 2
  • Revere 11, Salem 6
  • Marblehead 16, Danvers 9
  • Peabody 13, Gloucester 4
  • Duxbury 22, Plymouth North 0
  • Xaverian Brothers 9, Bishop Guertin 4 (with tonight’s win, the Hawks qualify for the upcoming MIAA Tournament). 
  • Hingham 10, Needham 8
  • Natick 9, Wellesley 2(tonight’s win over the Raiders was the Redhawks’ first-ever in program history. Natick has been competing for the past 18 seasons). 

Girl’s Lacrosse 

  • Needham 17, Hingham 5
  • Wellesley 10, Natick 9
  • Walpole 20, Milton 4
  • Brookline 10, Framingham 9 (OT)
  • Winchester 16, Wilmington 4
  • Duxbury 20, Plymouth North 2

Stay connected with our Noontime Sports Lacrosse coverage on Twitter by following @NoontimeLax 

Massachusetts Lacrosse Notebook: Monday Polls & Links

NS Mass Lax Notebook May 2019

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Happy Monday,  everyone!

Monday’s usually mean polls and links, so here is our latest Eastern Massachusetts lacrosse polls (boys and girls lacrosse), as well as some news and links from the past few days.


Eastern Massachusetts Boy’s Lacrosse Top 10 Poll | Monday, April 29th, 2019

  1. Lincoln-Sudbury
  2. St. John’s Prep (Danvers)
  3. Acton-Boxborough
  4. Xaverian Brothers
  5. Duxbury
  6. Hingham
  7. Medfield
  8. Concord-Carlisle
  9. Reading
  10. Winchester

On The Rise: Bishop Fenwick, Boston College High School, Braintree, Cohasset, Dover-Sherborn, Foxborough, Franklin, Lexington, Marshfield, Marblehead, Natick, Needham, Newton North, Silver Lake, St. Mary’s of Lynn, and Westford Academy


Eastern Massachusetts Girl’s Lacrosse Top 10 Poll | Monday, April 29th, 2019

  1. Notre Dame Academy (Hingham)
  2. Norwell
  3. Westwood
  4. Wellesley
  5. Walpole
  6. Lincoln-Sudbury
  7. Needham
  8. Franklin
  9. Reading
  10. Concord-Carlisle

On The Rise: Braintree, Cohasset, Dover-Sherborn, Duxbury, Lexington, Manchester-Essex, Marblehead, Masconomet, Newton North, North Andover, Rockland, Swampscott, and Wayland 


News and Notes from the Massachusetts Lacrosse World 


Stay connected with our Noontime Lacrosse coverage on Twitter by following @NoontimeLax