Top Gun Fighting Clams

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Operating as usual

The Top Gun Fighting Clams are happy to announce that 2021 Clam attackman Nick Campagnone (East Catholic HS/Pomfret) has committed to Western New England. He is the second player in the 2021 class to do so, and we’re cautiously optimistic there will be one more. As is, he’ll be joining classmate and Burlington HS defenseman Sean Malone in Springfield, and also a former high school teammate, Rocco Desimone (Clam Class of 2019). Nick is the 51st player in the 2021 class to make his commitment, and the 9th attackman to do so. He is the 7th player to commit to Western New England in Clam program history.

Nick is one of our beloved Connecticut Clams, a small but impactful group. Of our nutmeg state contingent, we’ve had quite a few good ones from East Catholic High School, a succession of players that was started by standout Quinnipiac midfielder Jake Tellers. Afterward, a group that includes fellow Western New England face-off midfielder Rocco Desimone, Endicott defenseman Tim Carlson, the Heslin brothers, Ryan and Colin, and of course Tellers’ younger brother Will all form the cornerstone of the well-established a much-appreciated pipeline. After East Catholic, Nick opted to PG at Pomfret, and while we haven’t seen him much due to the school’s COVID protocol, reports from Pomfret have been very positive.

Nick is a very creative and highly skilled attackman. His passion for the game is clear when you watch him play, and the numerous backyard reps he’s put in manifest themselves in the soft hands and deft touch he displays. He’s an accurate shooter, and never shies away from engaging contact as he swings around his preferred right side of the cage.

As a collegiate lacrosse destination, Western New England has always favored the passionate player. Coach Klepacki demands full engagement from his players, and in turn, he tends to get it. For players who love lacrosse, becoming a Golden Bear is a great option.

I am very excited by this placement for Nick. As I give Nick his due recognition, I must also give credit to one more person for whom it’s due. Pomfret Coach Tucker Prudden’s involvement has been critical in making this outcome happen. His hands-on approach to the placing his players and maintaining a regular line of communication with me while doing so, is extraordinarily helpful and is becoming even more so with each passing year. At the risk of dropping a shameless plug for Pomfret, which perhaps this is, I sincerely do become more convinced it’s a wonderful option for very good players, for Clams and non-Clams alike.

But back to recognizing the true man of the hour, I’d urge everyone to join us in congratulating Nick and the Campagnone family. We are very proud of him, and wish him the very best, first this spring with Coach Prudden and the Griffins, and in the years to follow with Coach Klepacki and the Golden Bears!

🚨🚨🚨 @editsbyluke

Sheesh 🔥🔥 @chad.palumbo

Love seeing the clams crushing media day @novalacrosse #blubblub @ Villanova University


[11/07/20]   #blubblub

[11/07/20]   #blubblub

Mayflower 2023 standouts!

Mayflower Standouts — good showing this weekend!

@committedcombine @jacktay1or ding

The Top Gun Fighting Clams are happy to announce that 2022 Clam midfielder Jack Taylor (Lawrence Academy) has committed to Jacksonville University. He is the third Clam to commit to becoming a Dolphin and will be the second to attend the university. Jack is also the second player in the 2022 class to announce his commitment to a D1 program.

Jack has received quite a bit of attention throughout the fall contact period. In a normal season, it’s almost a certainty that Jack would have been driving and flying to different schools, meeting coaches, and staying overnight with players. As is, he has tried to learn what he can through Zoom calls and talking to various sources about all the schools that indicated an interest in him. On the flip side, his advocates have that same obligation in the reverse, describing to coaches what a player is like and what he’s capable of given they won’t have the luxury of an in-person viewing or meeting. There will never be another recruiting cycle like this one again. But we’ve soldiered on and are getting more and more traction.

One of the key reasons Jack chose Jacksonville was his interactions with Head Coach John Galloway. Coach Galloway, who is always charismatic and energizing to speak to, seemed to immediately hit it off with Jack and his parents. He also wasted no time in letting Jack know how very interested they are in him and wasted no time in extending an appealing offer to Jack after others interested in him had proceeded (and were still proceeding) more deliberately. Decisiveness, in this case, meant a lot to Jack and to the Taylor family.

An extraordinarily talented midfielder, Jack has been a leader for both the Fighting Clams and the Lawrence Academy Spartans for quite a while. As a freshman, Jack was among a very small number of true freshmen offensive standouts in the ISL. Only three freshmen midfielders (interestingly, all from BB&N) scored more points than Jack. Under the tutelage of new Lawrence Head Coach and current Clam coach Sam Cleveland, Jack will thrive.

The Clam ‘22’s have been a deliberate group with their approach to decision making, in some ways bucking a national trend of borderline hastiness. This continues, but a couple more members of the class are getting close to make their decisions. As is the case with Jack, the decisions will invariably come without some of the data points players want and often have the right to expect. At the same time, players are being creative in learning about schools and programs in different ways; so too are coaches.

Ultimately, Jack was extended an offer indicative of the fact that they want him to be an offensive cornerstone of the 2022 class. In my opinion, they should have, and he will be. And now Jack has four years of sunshine, lacrosse, and not to be undersold, a school with academic strengths that align with Jack’s interests and abilities to look forward to. In other words, the school is a great fit.

Please join us in congratulating Jack and the Taylor family on a very exciting placement, one that as mentioned, is just a great fit for a young man who has always been a great Fighting Clam and will continue this trend of excellence competing as yet another maritime-themed mascot.



Thank you! 3D lacrosse

[11/01/20]   Uncommitted Spotlight: Tom Goguen #blubblub


@chad.palumbo from @insidelacrosse

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15555 Fighting Clams Lacrosse 2020

New holiday store link! Thank you laxdotcom #blubblub Online ordering for 15555 Fighting Clams Lacrosse 2020 ends on Sunday November 1st, 2020 (11:59pm EST)

Check out the new story of @chad.palumbo on @newenglandlacrossejournal 💪💪💪 #blubblub

@chad.palumbo @mdlxevents 🔥🔥🔥💪💪💪

The Top Gun Fighting Clams are happy to announce that 2022 Clam attackman Chad Palumbo (Nobles) has committed to the admissions process at Princeton. He is the 5th Clam to make his commitment to become a Tiger in program history and the first since 2017. He is our first player in the 2022 class to make a verbal commitment.

It’s been a long, wild ride to reach our first verbal commitment in this class. There has been a lot of interest in our ‘22’s. A few offers have been forgone, and a few seem right on the horizon for a select few players. It’s been challenging because visiting most schools isn’t possible, or it’s parameters so modified that it barely justifies the visit itself.

But there are some schools you don’t need to visit.

Princeton University, by at least some accounts, is the strongest academic institution in the world. It has also returned to true prominence as a lacrosse program. This past season, they appeared poised to contend for a National Championship. They had convincing wins vs. reigning Champion Virginia and a resurgent Johns Hopkins. And they had the best attackman in the country. And they were undefeated. Things were rolling along. And then, of course, they weren’t.

When a player from your club program commits to a program like Princeton, you hear from lots of people. You hear from lacrosse publications seeking details, you hear from fellow club coaches expressing congratulations, you hear from other college coaches expressing commentary/excitement/disbelief/frustration. For a moment, we get to share the outer edge of Chad’s spotlight, but only the very outer edge, for Chad deserves and has earned that bright hot spotlight.

I said to someone I spoke to earlier that I thought Chad had played more lacrosse than any other 2022 Clam over the past several months. Every individual event it seemed, every showcase, Chad would head south (seems it was always south). Every time he’d return with accolades. All-Star honors, All-Tournament Team selections, MVP performances. As others were, for better or worse, largely staying close to home and playing it safe, Chad flat-out charged forward. He was relentless. And when you’re playing, you’re improving. Man did he improve. And even when he was home, he sought out as much individualized feedback and coaching as possible. In addition to what we provide, a shout out goes to Jamie Munro, formerly with 3d but now on his own helping out and advocating for individual players in a supplementary role. Jamie has a remarkable lacrosse mind and some of his unique stylistic tweaks were increasingly evident in Chad’s game. And of course, Nobles Coach Matt Rowley remained involved in this truly collaborative effort, as he always does for his players.

A slick, ultra-creative lefty who can beat defensemen almost at will, Chad’s overall game has quite simply grown leaps and bounds, seemingly at an accelerating rate. At our first tournament of the fall, Chad was feeding, riding, scoring…doing it all. He was the straw stirring the drink. It was all that I thought he could and would become. I know it will continue for the remainder of the fall.

So begins the 2022 recruiting process, at least the results phase. Now, with footage rolling in from our fall events, coaches will act upon what they see. And I know in quite a few cases they’ll act decisively. Coaches will be encouraged and will think that if players like Chad are leading the charge in the Clam program, others will almost certainly be worth looking into more closely. When they do, they’ll discover they’re exactly right. There’s an awful lot of available talent in the Fighting Clam 2022 class.

Please join us in congratulating Chad and the Palumbo family on not just a great placement, but among the best one could hope for.

@chad.palumbo x @committedcombine

The Top Gun Fighting Clams are happy to announce that 2021 Clam attackman Tim Blue (St. Sebastian’s) has committed to Skidmore. He is, remarkably, the 5th Clam to commit to Skidmore in the Clam 2021 class (following a 2020 class where two Clams committed, and a 2019 class where three did so). Skidmore was the school and the program that committed our first 2021 (Jon Bouvier, back in December), so in some ways it seems only fitting that it will be the future home of one of our last commitments in the ’21 class. In recruiting, there’s beauty in symmetry.

It’s an extraordinary thing, this recent wave of Clam headed to Skidmore. But when you take a closer look at Skidmore the school and Skidmore the program, it really makes sense. In each sense, it represents almost a three-little-bears type destination for Clams looking to use lacrosse to trade up academically. It’s not too strong and certainly not too weak or easy to gain admission or earn playing time; it’s just right. As a school, Skidmore has a very strong academic reputation, ranked higher even than most schools in its own Liberty League, in the nearby Centennial Conference, and even a couple in the uber-coveted NESCAC.

As a program, it’s plenty strong. They compete in the highly competitive Liberty League, and they’re definitely on the ascent. At the same time, for Clams as talented as our recent Thoroughbred commits are, it’s an accessible program. What I mean by this is that contributing roles, whether as a starter or a significant contributor, are there for the taking earlier rather than later. This certainly doesn’t mean they’re guaranteed, or that they’ll be easily achieved. But for ‘21 Clams like Jon Bouvier, Luke Curtin, Jimmy Gibbons, Brian Gonsalves and ‘20s like JJ Jablonowski or John Sveen, they can be secured with extremely hard work and perseverance.

For both Tim Blue and Head Coach Joe Martin, perseverance led to this commitment. For Tim, summer came complete with some recruiting stops and starts with other programs. With each stop and start likely came some frustration and anxiety. Likely more perplexing for Tim was that his play remained steady throughout. He kept doing what Tim does: score goals.

Only a smattering of coaches was present in-person on multiple occasions to see Tim tally goal after goal. One of them was reliable recruiting road warrior Joe Martin. Throughout the year, in the rain, sleet and snow, you’re gonna see Joe (if you ever become a politician Coach Martin, feel free to use that). Apparently, we learned, that’s true during a pandemic as well. If Joe wasn’t as ever-present on our sidelines as he was this past summer, or for that matter this past fall, I do not believe this commitment happens. But he was. And he will be in the future as well.

Counterintuitively, our program’s late commits are every bit as gratifying as the early ones. We just had our first 2022 verbally commit and it’s one that will make quite a splash when we announce in the next day or two. But that player had multiple options and would have had many more if he’d chosen to wait. Guys like Tim have had to soldier on, and their efforts serve to motivate those around them. Eventually, if the player deserves it, club directors and sometimes high school coaches truly do rally around the player. Just as the volume of their coaching on the sideline would increase and grow more animated during an in-game comeback, so too must the volume and persistence of their advocacy throughout the recruiting process. There were several forces at work on Tim’s behalf through the process, which all worked together to help Tim through the recruiting marathon. I leaned on many of our Clam Coaches for their feedback and recommendations as Tim continued to produce results every time he took the field. As it seemed more and more likely that Tim’s recruiting process was reaching the proverbial finish line, St. Sebastian’s head Coach Adam White piled on the positive advocacy and he deserves our gratitude and Tim’s.

The most important part of all this is that Tim deserved the advocacy he received, and he deserves this placement. A strong and powerful right-handed shooter with a very powerful, effective shot, Tim simply fills up the cage. More than that, he tends to have a knack for scoring the big goal in key moments. With time winding down in regulation or starting up in overtime, I regularly found myself hoping the ball would find its way to Tim in a dangerous spot. When it did, good things happened. It seems the team knew this too, as it started to happen more and more with each passing game, and each passing event.

Please join us in congratulating Tim and the Blue family on an outstanding commitment to a school that may not have been accessible without the faith and belief of the staff up in Saratoga. All good things to those who wait, as they say. I guess I agree, so long as the waiting isn’t done passively. Tim didn’t wait passively, nor did anyone around him who believe in him. This, more than anything else, it is the reason Tim has earned this opportunity. We all know that he will make the most of it!

Another throwback? #blubblub

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