Image courtesy of Mike Frisoli
If you’re watching Duke in the NCAA men’s Final Four on Saturday or Tufts in the Division 3 championship game on Sunday, there’s a good chance you’ll hear the name “Frisoli” quite often.
That’s because four of the five Frisoli boys are going to be playing on the national stage.
Graduate middie Jack Frisoli and senior defensemen Will are on the top-seeded Blue Devils team that’ll be facing Penn State in the semifinals on Saturday. Meanwhile, the unbeaten Jumbos (23-0) are looking to knock off Salisbury for the D3 title on Sunday with sophomore Sam alongside freshman brother Ben hoping to bring some hardware home early in their careers.
For their father Mike, the idea of having four of his five boys – with Tedy still waiting in the wings after a phenomenal freshman year for St. Seb’s – is a bit surreal.
“This lacrosse season has been amazing and special on every level and we are excited for the weekend in Philly,” he said in a recent interview. “We feel so lucky to have our boys at such amazing schools and part of phenomenal lacrosse programs like Duke, Tufts and St Sebastian’s. Our boys have amazing teammates and we have met the best group of parents who will be lifelong friends.
“And to have our boys coached and mentored by such amazing men of character and integrity like John Danowski, Matt Danowski, Ron Caputo, Casey D’Annolfo, Stephen Toomy, Colin Kirst, Adam Whilte, Tim Shea, and Mark Pohlman is such an incredible honor and a life changing experience. We are so grateful to Sean Morris, Dave Evans, Dan Chouinard and Mike Connolly from Laxachusetts for providing so much time, expertise and guidance to our sons and helping our entire family develop a deep and everlasting love for the sport of lacrosse. Our boys are thankful for the opportunity and we wish everyone the best of luck in Philadelphia.”
For all four of the guys playing on championship weekend, the possibility of this one day being a reality developed in the backyard. Each of them have fond memories of playing together growing up, but with the age gap, pretty significant the opportunity to play competitively together never really came up, which made the backyard games so meaningful, especially for Jack and Will.
“I always think about the times we spent playing together in the front yard. Since there are five of us we would always play two on two with a tennis ball and we would rotate who had to play goalie,” Jack said. “The memory is so funny to me because we did not have actual goalie equipment so whoever got stuck playing goalie would grab a pillow from inside the house and stuff it in their shirt, which looked ridiculous. We would always start out playing a version of mini-lax but as the game went on it would inevitably turn into a full contact game where we were shooting the ball as hard as we could and playing super aggressive defense. We would play for hours because of how competitive we all are, neither team ever wanted to admit defeat. I always loved playing those games because it gave all five of us a chance to play lacrosse together which we never really had the chance to do outside of that.”
“The best lacrosse memory I have growing up was seeing my younger brothers progress in lacrosse and develop a love for the game,” added Will. “We all helped each other get better and it was awesome to be able to have all five of us go to a field or the backyard and play together. Jack was huge in my development as a player and I always appreciated the tips and help he gave me as I was growing up. Going to a field and working with Jack, Sam, Ben, and Tedy to get better has been a really special experience and one that I will never take for granted.”
For Ben and Sam, the memories are a bit fresher and still very, very meaningful, even if they probably got stuck playing goalie more often than not as the younger guys.
“I would say my favorite lacrosse memory together as kids was playing around in the yard,” said Sam. “it was lacrosse with mini-sticks or full pad one on ones, it was always intense. It usually ended in some sort of fight between two of us but it was always a fun time.”
“I would say playing mini lax with a tennis ball together outside. Will would throw a helmet on and hop in net and the teams would normally be Sam and I versus Jack and Tedy. We are all very competitive so the games would get pretty intense, and it definitely helped grow my love for the game,” added Ben.
Of course, college lacrosse is quite demanding, but all four of the guys made sure to keep track of how Tedy was doing this year at Seb’s. After all, he’s now chasing dreams and an ISL title just like they did.
“Jack and I, along with the two other Sebs lax alumni on the team, watched many of the games together this spring. It has been awesome being able to watch Tedy this spring play for Seb’s and compete for the same goals that Jack, Sam, Ben, and I had,” said Will. “Seb’s had an awesome season and had a ton of big wins, it will be great watching Tedy continue to grow as a player on the Arrows team for years to come. I’m hoping that one day Tedy will have the opportunity to compete for national championships in the future. Aside from my parents, Jack, Sam, Ben and I are Tedy’s biggest fans and will always be following along and rooting for him throughout his lacrosse career.”
“We all are very proud to be former St. Sebastian’s lacrosse players and graduates. Seb’s is a very special place to me and my time as a member of the lacrosse program was one of my favorite periods of my life,” added Jack. “I am always bragging about St. Sebs in the locker room and about my younger brothers on the team. This year specifically, I was very proud watching Tedy. I am nine years older than Tedy and it felt like his entire childhood was spent on the sidelines at my games. To watch him finally have the opportunity to play on a big stage and succeed as he has is incredible. Tedy has worked so hard and is so passionate about lacrosse, which is why he has had a great start to his career. Personally, I was so proud to see him wear No. 9 as all of the offensive players in my family have at worn it at Seb’s. Will and Ben both wore No. 2. It started with my uncle Mark Mclean, then I wore the number before Sam did and now Tedy. I think Tedy wears the number better than I ever did and I am so excited to see how he continues to develop going forward.”
While the dreams of playing at a high level in the backyard were always there during those pick up games, it’s still a bit hard to believe that four of the five Frisoli’s are playing for rings at the exact same time in the exact same city. Even for them.
To say this will be a weekend the family never forgets might be the biggest understatement in the history of understatements.
“It has always been a dream of mine to play for a national championship, but I never would have thought all of us would be doing it at the same time,” said Sam. “It’s pretty special to have the chance to potentially win four rings as a family in one year all at the same venue.”
“I never thought we would all be playing on championship weekend, but we always wanted to play for championship level teams,” added Ben. “It’s going to be an awesome experience being able to watch my two older brothers, then go out and play with my other brother the very next day. I will never forget this weekend.”