Mount Greylock Lax Tops Pittsfield

Stephen Sports
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PITTSFIELD -- Just after the Mount Greylock Regional High School boys lacrosse team scored its ninth goal -- of the first quarter -- on Monday afternoon, the Pittsfield High rooting section offered some helpful advice.

"Come on, watch 77," one of the fans suggested.

That's a good plan not only for opponents, but for Berkshire County lacrosse fans in genera.

No. 77 -- also known as Greylock senior Brett McCormack -- is worth watching, and not just if you're an opponent trying to slow him down.

McCormack finished with six goals and an assist, and his brother, Mike, a sophomore, scored seven times as the Mounties won 20-1 over the Generals at Kirvin Park.

The elder McCormack is hard to miss. At 6 foot, 4 inches, he is one of the bigger players on the field. And with his nose for the goal, he is dominating presence on the county lacrosse scene.

But as dangerous as he is as a scorer, scoring is just part of his game.

"He really loves assists," Greylock coach Jeff Stripp said. "Maybe more than most players, he really loves it."

And McCormack, like a lot of his teammates, really loves the game of lacrosse.

The fact that Greylock has great athletes who love the game -- as opposed to great athletes who play the game -- is one reason the Mounties have opened the season with a 9-0 record in the Berkshire County league with many of the wins like Monday's: relatively easy and played largely with running time after Greylock built an insurmountable lead.

"We knew coming into this year we had a really strong team," Brett McCormack said. "We had a lot of guys back who really wanted to compete this year. We just want to go out every game and play to our full potential. I think today we did that.

"We've been playing together, all of us, for a really long time. Our chemistry has really gotten great. From last year, we had a lot of lacrosse guys staying around who really helped our program."

Mount Greylock won 17 games last year in its first varsity season, and many of the Mounties carried that success into the summer, honing their skills in camps.

Love of lax carried the McCormack brothers (sons of Williams College varsity coach George McCormack) farther than most.

"Some of the kids definitely go out and do camps and try to play in their free time," Brett McCormack said. "I know me and my brother and Matt Hogan and a lot of the other kids, like (goalie) Cal (Filson ) all played on summer teams and try to get to the best ability we can.

"My brother and I went to Long Island, actually. Some of the kids went to Central Mass. I did that, too."

Long Island, as it turns out, was just a first stop.

"The team I played on is called the Long Island Sting," McCormack said. "We had one practice down there, and then we had a tournament down at UMBC, which is in Baltimore."

McCormack's skills drew the attention of more than just local lacrosse fans. In the fall, he will be enrolling at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., with plans to play lacrosse for the Saints.

First, of course, the Mounties hope those skills help carry the team deep into the Western Massachusetts tournament.

"Brett sees the field really well," Stripp said. "I think his vision and his decision-making are excellent. When he does that consistently, we're in good shape because he can get the ball to five guys, all who can do their own stuff.

"I think it starts with his vision ... his competitiveness, for sure. He's like the general out there. He really kind of sets the tone for what we do. But when he's not having a good day, we have others who can pick up the slack for him."

Seven different Mounties had at least a goal or an assist apiece on Monday. Mount Greylock (11-2 overall) led 16-1 at half-time and had all 20 of its goals by the end of the third quarter, by which time Stripp was using mostly his bench.

Pittsfield's Dan Tagliaferro scored his team's lone goal against Greylock's starters, late in the first quarter, to make it 7-1 at the time. Zach Rahilly played three quarters in goal for Pittsfield (5-3, 6-4), making seven saves.

In Greylock's goal, Filson was credited with six saves. He and the Greylock defense likely will face tougher tests in the post-season, but Stripp said he is confident it will rise to the challenge.

"We really like our defense," Stripp said. "We practice against a really good offense. It's hard to simulate game situations for those guys. But we're constantly going against our own offense, which makes us better. And the kids treat it that way."

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