WOOD RIVER JCT. — Entering the season, Chariho High never set a goal to go undefeated and win the Division III boys lacrosse championship for a second consecutive year.
Blessed with confidence and an abundance of talent, the Chargers’ first order of business was to avoid complacency, coach Ryan Meade said. Take one game at a time, and approach each one as if the opponent was the best team in the division — that was the master plan.
And one by one, the challengers fell like dominoes as Chariho did it again, a perfect season (17-0) capped by another D-III crown.
“It was good to see that kind of mentality pay off,” Meade said. “A couple of times we were tested. But our seniors and upperclassmen refused to give up, refused to lose, and that was definitely a factor in the success we had.”
That success led to numerous postseason honors for the Chargers.
Chariho had seven players selected to the Division III postseason All-Star teams: Senior midfielder Alexi Fauzey, senior attack James Foley, senior midfielder Will Foley, junior long stick midfielder Paul Marshall and senior defender Ryan Pater were named to the first team; senior attack Zach Grassi and senior midfielder Brine Wotherspoon were second-team picks.
Fauzey is “one of the most naturally skilled lacrosse players that I’ve ever coached,” Meade said.
The talented midfielder tied for the team lead with 46 goals and was third in assists with 30. He scored six goals in a game twice, and had two scores in the Chargers’ 7-4 victory over Ponaganset in the Division III title game.
“A great leader, naturally skilled,” Meade said. “He led the team with his skill and his composure, his level head.”
James Foley also scored 46 goals, and finished his career with 104, second on the program’s all-time list to his twin brother, Will. He also led the team with 37 assists.
Foley’s biggest game came in Chariho’s 18-2 win over Exeter-West Greenwich in May — an eye-popping eight goals to go with three assists. He had a goal and two assists in the D-III finals.
“A lethal attackman with a great lefty shot,” Meade said. “He worked well with our other attackmen, either feeding guys that were open or getting a high-percentage shot. He scored a lot of goals, which was another big factor in our success.”
Foley’s career assist total of 81 is second on Chariho’s all-time list.
Will Foley was a goal scorer — the middie finished his career as Chariho’s all-time leader with 112 goals — but his faceoff skills were just as important to the team.
“He was our No. 1 faceoff guy. Just dominant,” Meade said. “And that was another big factor for us.”
Foley had 37 goals, including one in the championship game, and 14 assists. The D-III first-team honor is his second straight.
“He knows the game very well,” Meade said. “He set up the offense, knows when to change things on his own, a strong leader.”
Marshall and Pater were both suffocating defenders for the Chargers, who allowed just 56 goals all season (3.3 per game). Both played key roles in the win over Ponaganset, keeping the Chieftain attack away from goaltender Grassi.
Of Marshall, Meade said, “It’s just a huge asset to have a guy to put on the opposing team’s best midfielder and take them out of the game. A big, strong, talented kid. Every team was aware of his presence. He’s the type of kid you didn’t want to go one-on-one against.”
“Another lockdown defender,” Meade said of Pater. “Anytime a team had a strong attackman, we looked to Ryan to shut him down. And he did.”
Grassi had 24 goals and 16 assists as an attacker, and last year set the school record for goals in a season with 57. But this season he made a bigger impact as a goalie, the position he took over 10 games into the season. He made 13 saves against Ponaganset and was named MVP of the D-III title game.
Wotherspoon had 19 goals and 36 assists, and finished his career as Chariho’s top assist man with 90.
“An assist machine,” Meade said. “For me, he’s really another first-team guy.”