Whether toting a hockey stick onto the ice at Foxboro Sports Center or a lacrosse stick onto the turf at Sam Berns Community Field, Brendan Tully made his mark at Foxboro High School.
Tully was not the only multi-sport player in the school’s athletic program, of course, but there arguably was not another who had as big an impact on each team.
He was a senior captain in both hockey and lacrosse and he was the recipient of the Warrior Award, or student-athlete of the year, in representing the Class of 2019. Tully was also a multi-time, multi-sport All-Hockomock selection.
“Playing hockey helped me in lacrosse and vice-versa,” said Tully, who eclipsed 100 goals during his four-year lacrosse career at FHS. “Just the speed of it, getting up and down the field. I play (midfield) in lacrosse and I play defense in hockey, so it was kind of just understanding where you were on the field, or ice, is similar.”
“And the pace of it,” added the sneaky-quick Tully, who worked tirelessly on his speed and acceleration each off season. “The transitioning stuff, that’s where the similarity really helped me. And battling for ground balls was similar to battling for loose pucks in hockey. It’s along the same lines.”
That battle for loose pucks may have reached its end, but the battle for ground balls is far from over.
Tully will continue his athletic career with the lacrosse program at Providence College but will not play hockey for the Friars, who reached the Frozen Four this past winter.
Tully admitted he was once interested in playing both sports at the college level, but that faded as he entered high school. That’s when lacrosse became priority No. 1 and led him to commit to PC in November of his sophomore year.
At the time, he had only played one high school season for coach Matt Noone and Foxboro, depicting much of his college recruitment was through his club team, the Warrior Elite (now Central Massachusetts Kings out of Wrentham).
“I loved it,” Tully said of his feelings for Providence. He attended a Prospect Camp at PC in September 2016, the second time he attended the camp.
“The first time I was down there (June of freshman year), it just felt like home. It sounds like a cliché, but it just really did,” Tully said. “I just had that feeling like this was where I wanted to be.
“They had a brand new business school, and that’s what I’m looking to study, so that was perfect for me. The whole athletic department is pouring so much money into lacrosse. It’s a brand new stadium, the weight room, everything is just perfect and top-notch. And the coaching staff was just so welcoming. They gave me their vision and it matched up with mine. It’s really just a spot I wanted to be and spend my four years of college.”
Tully said he reached out to Division I schools like the University of Hartford and UMass Amherst, but Providence was the first official offer he received. He accepted it two days later, and despite being two-plus years from graduation, he never second-guessed the decision.
“I was set on Providence,” he said. “The proximity to home, too ... it’s a place where my parents (Mark and Nancy) could come to games. It was just perfect.”
Tully was a four-year contributor with Foxboro High. He started his freshman year on the attack before transitioning to the midfield in each of his final three seasons. He started on the attack as a rookie simply because it was where coach Noone and the Warriors needed him. It exemplified his team-first attitude.
“He’s what you want every lacrosse player to be,” Noone said. “Hardworking, tough, honest, disciplined mentally. He’s all of it. What you want, he’s the epitome of it.
“And he had to carry us a lot, with the young group and what not this year. And he did a great job of it. And not only that, but he was a student. He bought into, ‘You are a student-athlete’ a long time ago. And now he’s getting rewarded and going to Providence. And I’m sure great things will happen for him at Providence.”
Tully said the respect goes both ways between himself and his coach, who he also helped during summer lacrosse camps this week.
“He’s just been a mentor, he’s always been there for me,” Tully said. “And not even just lacrosse stuff, but as a person, as a role model. He’s been awesome.
“In high school lacrosse, you don’t always find the best coach, or you get stuck with a coach who doesn’t really know what he’s doing. But it’s just the opposite at Foxboro. We have a coach who is so experienced, so knowledgeable of the game. It’s been a blessing to be able to play for him and learn from him the past couple of years.”
A three-time Hockomock selection, Tully scored 83 goals in his final two seasons of lacrosse. He netted 39 goals and added 15 assists during his senior year, earning offensive MVP awards from the program. Notably, Tully was team MVP during his senior hockey season as well. He scored 18 goals and dished 17 assists on the ice, too.
Foxboro lacrosse won three Hockomock League-Davenport Division titles during Tully’s four years and claimed a pair of Chowda Cup Tournament titles. Tully said those were a few of his favorite memories.
“The first one that comes to mind was definitely beating Franklin last year,” Tully said. “Louis Piccolo scoring that game-winning goal in double-overtime, that was amazing. To win the entire Hockomock, too. That was definitely the No. 1 memory, just seeing that ball go in and everyone storming the field.
“It just really proved to the (Hockomock) that even though we’re a lot smaller and Franklin are the big guys, they’re always running the league, that they can be beat,” Tully said. “We proved that we were the best team that year, in that whole league, so that was amazing.”