Tallino’s Talent, Outlook Major Assets For Natick’s Boys Lacrosse Team

Ken Hamwey Staff Sports Writer
Issue Date: 
June, 2018
Article Body: 

Natick High’s Isaac Tallino doesn’t shy away from setting lofty goals.
The 5-foot-7, 150-pound midfielder is optimistic the Redhawks’ lacrosse team can go deep into tournament play and compete for a sectional and state championship. And, although he’s only a sophomore, Tallino has confidence he can play college lacrosse at the Division 1 level. The 16-year-old already has verbally committed to play at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
Nate Kittler, his coach at Natick, calls Tallino “an impact player who’s explosive’’ and one who often draws the full attention of opposing teams.
“Isaac is a great team player, he’s down to earth, easy to coach and always friendly,’’ Kittler said. “As a midfielder, he’s solid in transition, has fast feet and hands and his field vision is excellent. Opposing teams know who No. 17 is and, when he’s double-teamed, his teammates benefit. Opponents worry about his impact.’’
Tallino no doubt is comfortable setting high goals because he’s been around the game for 10 years, starting at age six. He’s played in Natick’s youth league and when Natick High’s varsity schedule ends, Tallino devotes nine months to his club team (Laxachusetts of Boston). His personal objective isn’t about increasing his statistics. It’s about improving daily.
“If I keep improving, then personal statistics will fall into place,’’ Tallino emphasized. “King Philip beat us in the tourney last year and they’re on our radar this year. It’s realistic that we can be successful in the playoffs because we’ve got talented players.’’
Tallino, who had 21 goals and 20 assists at Local Town Pages deadline, has a plethora of strengths that include speed, quickness, stick skills, field vision, and an instinctive approach in transition. “I can improve shooting on the run,’’ he noted. “My step-down shooting can be better and I can improve on catching the ball in tight quarters.’’
Johns Hopkins is a school with a long and storied tradition in lacrosse. Tallino, who’s an honor student, verbally committed to the university after coaches saw him play at the club level. “I’ve chosen Johns Hopkins because of its academic excellence and its tradition in lacrosse,’’ Tallino said. “It’ll take hard work to make the team as a freshman. I’ll be facing all-star caliber players constantly and the game will be faster and more intense.’’
Tallino displayed his intensity in victories earlier this season against Old Rochester and Weston. He showed his all-around ability and his high lacrosse IQ in transition against Old Rochester, and the triumph against Weston revealed that he can excel when he’s sub-par physically.
“I had flu-like symptoms and was in bed all day,’’ he said. “We were due to play Weston at 6 p.m. I got ready and played, getting a goal and an assist in what was a close game.’’
Tallino has played a key role in Natick’s 11-3 record so far but he’s quick to credit the captains and his coach for the Redhawks’ success. The captains are Sean Dye (midfield), Josh Black (long-stick midfielder), John Carr (goalie) and Brian Reese (defense).
“Our captains are athletic, skilled, sound fundamentally and always hustling,’’ Tallino noted. “And, coach Kittler is an excellent motivator whose knowledge and strategy are solid. His expectations for us are high.’’
Tallino’s competitive philosophy is telling and reveals his logical approach to achieving his goals. He’s all about focusing on what’s needed to accomplish his objective. “I look at each situation and focus on what’s required to produce a positive result, or what’s needed to win,’’ he emphasized. “Athletics also teach life lessons. I’ve learned how to win and lose with dignity, how to be disciplined and how to communicate more effectively.’’
A native of Natick, Tallino’s role models are his parents (Mark and Caralyn) because of their support and encouragement. He also includes Mark Morris, his club team coach, as a role model. When it comes to selecting a favorite professional athlete, he gives Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady the nod. “He’s so motivated and exceptionally prepared for any challenge,’’ Tallino said.
Playing midfield in lacrosse presents challenges but Tallino prefers that position because it incorporates the right blend of offense and defense. And, he’s acutely aware of the attributes needed to excel at midfield.
“Athleticism, endurance, field sense and communication are what’s needed for success,’’ he noted. “I was attracted to lacrosse because it features contact, it’s fast and everyone who competes is involved in the action. In a way, it’s like basketball. The offense can set picks for a player to advance to the goal.’’
Tallino has two more years of interscholastic lacrosse and two more years likely at the club level before he heads to Johns Hopkins to begin another chapter in his playing career.
But, as he focuses on the present, Tallino is gearing up for the playoffs and he’s intent on helping the Redhawks advance deep into the tourney. A sectional and a state crown would be fitting for a player who takes the sport seriously and creates a positive impact.