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Nipmuc Boys LAX Eyes Playoff Run

Nipmuc boys lacrosse head coach Eric Brockett is not afraid to set a high bar for his team, and said he wants to see the Warriors play well into the spring.
"Our intention is to make a deep run in the playoffs," he said. "We are currently ranked third in the district power rankings in the West-Central district and our hope is to see Grafton in the finals."
Brockett said the Indians, who started the week 11-3 overall, are the team to beat. Nipmuc started the week 9-5 overall and with a 5-3 record in the Mid-Mass League. 
"It depends on who we get matched up with, but clearly Grafton is the favorite," Brockett said. "If we can get through the semifinals, we will have achieved a major goal for the season."
The coach did say he wants to see his team, which is averaging more than 11 goals per game, continue to improve in executing its offense and said the Warriors have a few different defensive looks that need improvement as well. 
"We have done a good job on clearing, a good job on face-offs, it's really about executing on offense against the better teams, that's the biggest thing we have been working on," Brockett said. "Week-on-week, we are getting better for sure, and really it's all about getting ready for the playoffs."
Brocket said his team has put forth a balanced attack offensively, but juniors Ryan Richards and Mike Manning have been among the leading scoring threats in the district. Richards has poured in 38 goals and added 10 assists, while Manning has added 30 goals and 11 helpers, through Monday's games.
"Ryan is just a big, strong midfielder, he's 6'0", he runs well, and has a good shot on the run, a good step shot, and one of the hardest shots in the game," Brockett said, adding that Richards is a guy who really "works at the game."
The head coach had similar praise for Manning, calling him one of the team's "biggest offensive contributors. He is a raw athlete and a matchup issue for other teams because of his competitiveness and athleticism."
Senior captain Shane Dougherty has also been a goals threat for the Warriors, with 24 on the season. Brockett calls the senior the team's most improved player.
"He was a minimal scoring threat last year, now he is a threat every time he gets the ball," Brockett said. "He is playing with a ton of confidence and he's not afraid to dodge on anybody and make good decisions with the ball."
Nipmuc has also been strong on the other end of the field, allowing only five goals per game. Brockett praised Brandon Lefebvre along with goalkeeper Drew Cannistraro for helping to anchor the Nipmuc defense.
"We have depth, we have a good defense, we have three good lines of middles, we are rotating four attack men," Brockett said. "So we are getting a consistent effort across a number of players which is one of the reasons we are strong this year."




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