Alden Balboni wasn’t the best at anything.

He didn’t score the most goals this season, or collect the most assists. He wasn’t the go-to face-off man for the Messalonskee boys lacrosse team, nor was he a defensive specialist. What he was, though, was just the kind of player every coach hopes to have come through their program at some point.

“He’s a player that doesn’t jump out at you on the stat sheet, but he does a lot of little things,” Messalonskee boys lacrosse coach Tom Sheridan said. “Those things are the things that add up.”

For his efforts in helping take Messalonskee to the Class B semifinals, Balboni is the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel Boys Lacrosse Player of the Year.

Messalonskee teammate Austin Pelletier and Gardiner’s Sloan Berthiaume, both seniors, were also considered.

“I was very surprised,” Balboni said of learning he’d been selected as the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference’s North division player of the year this season. “I remember that last year I was selected as a second team all-conference guy. I was really surprised with how all of the stuff came together this year.”

Balboni, who will continue his lacrosse career next year at the University of New England in Biddeford, was also a standout football player at Messalonskee. A fast and powerful running back on the gridiron, Balboni brought some of that very same skillset to the lacrosse field.

“It’s always been kind of a dual relationship with football and lacrosse for me, I guess you could say,” Balboni said. “But lacrosse is a sport that I really wanted to continue playing in college and beyond.”

That’s not surprising.

Balboni first began playing organized lacrosse when he was in the third grade — the age he had to be in order to get on a team with the Central Maine Spartans, the local youth lacrosse organization. From there, his passion for the game only grew.

Sheridan wasn’t surprised with the success Balboni enjoyed this spring.

“I could see him kind of peaking out this year,” Sheridan said. “He’s a hustle guy. He’s almost always on the field for us. He’s been on the varsity since his freshman year, and he’s filled a lot of different roles for us.

“He’s a team-guy first.”

That team concept is one of the things the midfielder likes best about the game.

“It’s a fast, fun sport, which is what I like about it,” Balboni said. “There’s a spot for pretty much everyone, as long as you try hard. You’ve got the faceoffs, the goalie, the defense — you don’t have to be 6-foot-5, 250 pounds to play lacrosse. There’s a place for everyone.”

Balboni ensured that everyone in an Eagle uniform found their place, too. On a team with plenty of individual talent and unique skillsets, Balboni’s energy was infectious.

It was impossible not to get on board.

“Alden brings the whole package together,” Sheridan said. “Certain players, they can inspire a team. It’s a lot like hockey or basketball, where one person can take over a game and lead the group. Some people just have a way of doing that. Alden’s always there.”

When Messalonskee hit a lull in the middle of its regular season schedule — losing to Greely, Cheverus and Brunswick in succession — it was Balboni who helped right the ship. The Eagles won four of their next five games to reach the state semifinals.

“He brings it every day in practice,” Sheridan said. “Regardless of whether you won or lost the night before, he shows up ready to work the next day. It sets the tone.”

After losing by 10 goals to Greely in the regular season, the Eagles were within striking distance in the fourth quarter of the semis before bowing out to the Rangers in the rematch.

“Obviously, that last game didn’t go how we wanted, but I thought it was a really good showing by our team,” Balboni said. “I’m proud of how we came out in that game. It was close, and we gave them a run they weren’t expecting.”

Balboni added he doesn’t plan to change his approach at UNE as well.

“I’m just looking to play fast and hard and do whatever they need me to do,” Balboni said.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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