Phillips junior Austin Gaiss of North Andover grew up a huge Michigan fan. But his allegiances have shifted to Notre Dame after committing there to play lacrosse.
“Growing up my dad raised us as avid Michigan fans,” Gaiss said. “So every time Michigan played Notre Dame I was always rooting for Michigan. My brother (Ryan) actually now goes to Michigan. So we’ll have a nice in-family rivalry there. That’s something I’m really looking forward to.”
Gaiss, a three-year varsity player, has developed into an important part of both Phillips’ offense and defense as a starting midfielder. He had two goals in Phillips’ first win, a 10-5 victory over New Hampton.
And he certainly is looking forward to playing with the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame is 9-2 so far this spring and is ranked in the top five in the Division 1 USILA Coaches poll, the Inside Lacrosse poll and the NCAA men’s lacrosse RPI poll.
“I’ve been watching them on TV and online when I can,” Gaiss said. “I have a sister (Kaitlin) who’s a senior down on the women’s team at Duke and Notre Dame’s season opener was down at Duke. My sister’s team had two games that weekend so I flew down with my dad and I got to catch a game (between the Duke and Notre Dame men).”
Gaiss, whose father grew up in Michigan and whose mother is from Nebraska, said playing Division 1 lacrosse has been his longtime goal.
“Going through the whole recruiting process, my main goal was to end up at a school that was not only strong lacrosse-wise but also academically,” Gaiss said. “I’ve always wanted to go into business as well. When I was looking at schools, the Ivys kept popping up, Michigan, Notre Dame.”
Phillips coach Stephen Moreland is friends with Notre Dame assistant coach Gerry Byrne who is a UMass Amherst graduate and was the head coach at Saint Anselm from 2003-06.
Gaiss played baseball before switching over to lacrosse in fifth grade after his brother and sister got him into the sport. Both Ryan and Kaitlin began playing the same year as each other. Gaiss said he immediately enjoyed the intensity of lacrosse.
“Another thing I like about lacrosse is that it’s almost like a combination of football, hockey and soccer,” he said. “So it’s almost like you’re doing three sports in one.”
Rangers match ‘12 win total
Methuen’s Abby Galloway-Burke has 23 goals in four games. She has helped Methuen girls to a 3-1 start — after the Rangers went 3-11 last year.
Galloway-Burke is just four goals short of the 27 she had last year.
North Andover’s surging defense
North Andover lost talented starting goalie Sarah Keith to Governor’s Academy, but freshman Lauren Hiller has filled Keith’s shoes quite well.
Hiller and the North Andover defense has held every opponent under 10 goals so far. Hiller helped North Andover on knock off Andover for the first time in 10 years April 5 by stopping six shots in 7-4 decision.
Hiller also made 12 saves in a win over Newburyport and 10 saves in a victory over Haverhill.
Girls odds and ends
Aideen Chapman scored her first two varsity career goals and added an assist to lead Central Catholic 13-3 over Tewksbury last Thursday. ...
Georgetown’s Chelsea Burke netted 22 goals in her first seven games, including seven in the Royals’ opener, a 17-15 victory over Lynnfield. ...
Haverhill’s Kristy Robertson who is bound for Southern New Hamphire, netted eight goals in the Hillies’ 17-15 season opener victory over Triton and eight more in a 14-10 win over Tewksbury.
Robertson, who scored 85 goals as a junior, has 25 goals in five games. ...
Windham’s Melissa Cino recorded eight goals and 18 assistants combined in her first two games.
Boys odds and ends
Georgetown’s JoJo Mangano has had a very good varsity career and the senior had one of his best game last Wednesday with 18 saves in a 6-5 victory over Triton. ...
Zach Grundy recorded a remarkable 20 saves in a 8-6 win for Haverhill over Shawsheen. He also made 16 saves in a 10-4 loss to North Andover. ...
North Reading allowed an average of just five goals in its six five games and Pelham allowed an average of just 3.7 goals in its first three games.
Mark down May 6 on your calendars. That is the rematch between Windham and Pelham. The first matchup was a good one with the game going to Pelham 9-6. Pythons goalie Jake Diaz made 20 saves while Windham goalie Ben Gallo made 16.
Whittier has outscored its first two opponents 27-2. Goalie Pat Rodden recorded 18 saves in the team’s 12-1 victory over Greater Lowell.
Josh Gallant has 14 goals in four games for Pinkerton (3-1) while Astros goalie Kenny Sturgess has been on top of his game with two 15-save performances.