Winning championships and titles many times doesn’t define a team’s success and senior Joe Choiniere, a midfielder on the Amity boys lacrosse team, certainly puts that in perspective.
The Spartans didn’t win the Southern Connecticut Conference championship, losing to eventual champion Fairfield Prep in the semifinals. The Spartans didn’t win the CIAC Class M championship, losing to Staples 8-6 in the semifinals.
“Every team goes into a season with the goal of winning a league and state championship,” Choiniere said. “But we were extremely excited with our season overall and how we finished. Two years ago we won only six games and in 2013 we won nine games. This year we ended up 15-5. I don’t think anyone expected us to go far in the state tournament. We won our first playoff game since 2010 and getting to the (Class M) semifinals was a great feeling. This was the best lacrosse team I’ve ever been on.”
Choiniere led the team with 55 points (25 goals, 30 assists) and ground balls (79) but Amity coach Brandon Pepe said his contribution didn’t always show up in the box score.
“Joe is a tremendous athlete and lacrosse player, but beyond that he is one of the greatest competitors I have ever coached,” Pepe said. “He is a complete player out there on the lacrosse field. He is very physical, he’s great defensively and was huge in our transition game. His play on the defensive side of the field often translated into points for one of our attackmen on the offensive side of the field.”
For his effort, Choiniere has been selected the Register All-Area boys lacrosse most valuable player.
“Everyone on our team knew we would do well this season,” Choiniere said. “ We had experience with 17 seniors and in the third week of practice it hit us how good we actually could be. Our offense was clicking and and our defense was phenomenal.”
Choiniere was a two-time captain and a two-time team MVP. He was a first team All-SCC and first team All-State selection. He was named to the Academic All-State team and was named the Amity Athlete of the Year for 2013-2014 school year as a tri-captain on the football team, indoor track and lacrosse.
“Joe was a great leader on the field and in the huddle, but a lot of what he was able to contribute came day in and day out during practice,” Pepe said. “He really set the tone for practices as an extension of the coaching staff.
“He commanded great respect from his teammates because he worked so hard every single day. He made every one on the team better because he had the same high expectations for each of his teammates that he does for himself. Our practices were crisp and efficient mostly because the players feared what Joe would say to them if they gave anything but their best.”
Pepe said when the team needed a score or a big play they looked to Choiniere to make something happen. A great example was in a victory at SCC rival Xavier. Amity was behind by one goal and Choiniere scored with 3 seconds left in regulation to tie the game. Amity would eventually win in two overtimes.
Choiniere will be attending Sacred Heart University where he will play lacrosse. Pepe expects Choiniere to excel at the next level on the field and in the classroom.
“Joe has made the honor roll in every marking period throughout his high school career,” Pepe said. “To do that while being a captain of three sports is really a testament to what kind of person he is
“He is a smart kid, very hard working and very deserving of any and all accolades that he has received. Sacred Heart University is lucky to have him
Choiniere is looking forward to playing for the Pioneers.
“At Amity I think I had a strong work ethic, I was a decent scorer, I played hard defense and could clear the ball and contributed in the transition game,” Choiniere said. “I’m excited about playing for Sacred Heart because I hope to bring the same things to Sacred Heart, something that will help contribute to their success.”