Freshman Avakian leads Buccaneers
May 10, 2017
By Matt Pulsifer, Bourne Courier
Since setting foot on campus at Mass Maritime Academy last fall, Ben Avakian has been a lacrosse star. After having a great fall season, Avakian worked hard in the weight room over the winter to get ready for the big spring season.
As a freshman, Avakian started all 14 of his team’s games, and by season’s end, was tied for the team lead in points, and well out in front in goals.
Sports are also only a part of the Bourne native’s life at Mass Maritime, and in just one short school year, he is already leaving his mark.
“I chose MMA for the academics,” said Avakian. “I didn’t necessarily go there looking for lacrosse, but it was a positive part of it that went into my decision a little bit.”
He may not have been looking for sports, but he certainly found them. “One of the best compliments I can give Ben is that playing defense all my life, I know I wouldn’t want to cover him in a game,” said his former high school coach Tim Crowley. “He always seems to find a way to score.”
While sports get the headlines in college, they are really the third most important thing at the academy after academics and the regiment. It is important that students understand this going in.
“I think Ben came here for the right reasons,” said Buccaneer head coach Rory Deegan. “He is doing well within the regiment, and on the field. He chose MMA for the right reasons, and he is keeping his priorities in order.”
On the field, Avakian led the way with 25 goals, and tied for the team lead with 34 points. As a Bourne Canalman, Avakian put up prolific offensive numbers, but the speed of the game is a little different at the college level.
“Everyone is a little bigger, better, and smarter in college,” he said. “You are pretty much playing against the biggest kid from every [high school] team. It makes you want to work that much harder to accomplish yours goals.”
For all his personal statistics, it is a game where he didn’t score that sticks out in Avakian’s head. Hosting Norwich early in the season, MMA was down by four goals late, but came back to win in overtime. Avakian had just one assist in that game. “That was definitely a great team experience,” he said. “It was cool going through that.”
At least he doesn’t have to go through this experience alone. A total of six former Cape Cod high school athletes, many of whom he played with as a part of Team Cape Cod in the summer, are on the Buccaneer roster including former Bourne teammates Sam Lyons and Tim Johnson. “I’ve played with them since I was a little kid, and they are my best friends,” said Avakian. “It has been a great experience and I wouldn’t want to go through it with any other guys.”
Being so close to home, Avakian’s family is able to see him play often, and his brother is a recent academy graduate. “My parents are a huge inspiration for me getting to this point,” he said. “My brother already has a job after graduating just last year, so that shows me it will all be worth it in the long run. It may be a tough four years here, but it will pay off. I made a great choice to come here.”
Crowley knew that wherever Ben chose to play, he would make an impact. “He has a great lacrosse IQ,” he said. “It is not just skill and ability that has taken him this far, it’s a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication. And then to get the trifecta of Timmy and Sam too, I knew that Rory was in for a treat.”
A marine engineering major, the freshman doesn’t have a career picked out just yet, but he wants to be out on a ship somewhere. “Time management and academics are challenging here at the academy,” said Deegan. “Add in the regimental leadership activities, and you have to rely on each other a lot to get through. Ben and the freshman group are real tight knit and help each other through a tough freshman year.”
After just one season, Ben Avakian has already accomplished so much both on and off the field at Mass Maritime Academy. He is putting himself on the path to both academic, and athletic success.
“I’m not expecting lacrosse to pay the bills,” he said. “I’m just trying to hit the books as much as I can and keep my grades up.”