BEVERLY– Based on individual merit, Lynnfield native Derek Yannone’s off to a stellar start to his senior season on the Endicott men’s lacrosse team. The St. John’s Prep graduate (2015) has earned Commonwealth Coast Conference Specialist of the Week honors three times in a season that’s only five weeks old.
But Yannone’s a team player. On his scale, Endicott’s overall team performance outweighs individual accolades.
“It’s cool but I try not to take it too much into consideration,” Yannone, a midfielder/faceoff specialist, said of earning CCC recognition. “I try to take things game by game. If it happens it happens. I just want to do my job for my teammates and help us win games.”
At 1-5 through their first six games, the Gulls are off to a tough start this season. Their lone win was an 11-4 victory over Skidmore. Despite the early struggles, Endicott has tested itself with a tough slate of non-conference opponents. Three of Endicott’s five losses came against ranked opponents in No. 2 Amherst, No. 3 Tufts and No. 12 Stevens.
“I think our systems work,” Yannone, a two-sport athlete in lacrosse and football at St. John’s Prep, said. “Against Amherst we did very well offensively. It’s just about us trusting each other and playing as a team. When we do play as a team, I feel that we’re very strong overall.
“We’re really good defensively,” Yannone said. “We have a very solid defense. Our offense still needs to work out a few kinks. Faceoffs are also another strength of our team.”
Yannone scored an unassisted goal in the 12-10 loss to Amerst earlier this week. This season, Yannone has scored three goals, scooped 53 ground balls and has won 80 of 125 faceoffs.
As one of 12 seniors on Endicott’s roster, Yannone recognizes that he’ll have to step into a leadership role this spring. His goals are to voice his opinion when needed while setting a positive example for the underclassmen.
“We have a pretty big senior class,” Yannone said. “We’re all expected to lead and provide those leadership roles for the team and underclassmen. Whenever I feel something needs to be said, I say it. For instance at halftime of the Springfield game (8-4 loss), I felt we weren’t playing to our standards so I talked to the guys a little bit about that. It’s just about being honest and constructive.”
Academically, things are going well for Yannone. With his responsibilities on and off the field, Yannone keeps a busy schedule. He’s set to graduate in May.
“Things are pretty good. Senior classes are a little strenuous,” Yannone said. “I have thesis this semester. As a computer science major, I’m developing an app. I have that balance between lacrosse, school and social life to work on what I need to get done for the semester.”
If Endicott’s looking to turn things around in its young season, now’s the perfect time. Yannone and the Gulls open the CCC portion of their schedule Saturday afternoon (3) when they host Curry at Hempstead Stadium. Despite finishing 7-11 overall last spring, the Gulls were dominant in conference play. Endicott went 6-2 against CCC opponents in 2018 and reached the championship game of the conference tournament, where it fell to Western New England.
“Last season was tough,” Yannone said. “We had a lot more downs than ups. We were a young team. I feel we didn’t get into the rhythm of things early enough into the season to kind of figure things out.
“Western New England’s our biggest rival in the conference,” Yannone said. “We lost to Curry last year. This year I think it’ll be a lot different. We’re looking forward to taking that game back Saturday. Western New England’s the big one we look forward to every year.”
Yannone’s confident the Gulls can move in the right direction as the season takes its course.
“One term a lot of teams use to describe us is ‘gritty,'” Yannone said. “We’re hard-nosed players. Getting into a dogfight, a lot of teams expect that going into a game.”