SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

May 6, 2014

Lax Lowdown: Swampscott,Salem set for battle in NEC South

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Swampscott’s Todd Pierce may be in his first year as the Big Blue boys head coach, but he entered this season with some head coaching experience plus the benefit of previously serving as an assistant at Swampscott.

The Big Blue players have quickly responded to his coaching methods.

The Swampscott boys have put themselves in great position in the NEC South, starting off 8-1 overall and 5-0 in the conference. After dropping its season opener to Marblehead, Swampscott reeled off eight straight wins heading into last night’s late game.

Pierce spent two years as an assistant in Swampscott before taking over as head coach at Saugus. After two years there, he returned to the Big Blue this season.

”I was cautiously optimistic. I knew coming in that we had a very strong defense. I thought offensively we would be a little more challenged than what we’ve been,” Pierce said. “They lost their entire starting attack and backups; all six either graduated or transferred. So we had to replace the entire attack.”

Junior midfielder Jason Dignan’s role in helping the Big Blue offense thrive can’t be overlooked. In addition to scoring 13 goals and adding seven assists so far, he’s also winning 76 percent of the faceoffs.

”He’s been unbelievable. That’s been huge for us,” Pierce said. “That’s given us extra possessions. We’ve done an OK job scoring off fast breaks off that. I’d like to see it better, but we control the ball that much more (because of Dignan).”

Pierce thought he had something good in Dignan, but the junior has put the extra work in himself to improve.

”I heard he was a good faceoff guy and, in all honesty, I haven’t done much with him; he’s put the time in,” Pierce said. “He wants to try to go Division 1 as a faceoff guy. He’s committed to that. This winter he’s gone to clinics, worked hard and he’s doing great.”

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