No Backward Step For Boys Lacrosse

Walpole defender checks a Foxboro attack.

Walpole defender checks a Foxboro attack.

Peter Hoegler

Walpole defender checks a Foxboro attacl. (Photo/ Jeremie Smith)
Walpole defender checks a Foxboro attack. (Photo/ Jeremie Smith)


In the past eight years, one of the most successful spring sports teams at the Walpole High School has been the Boys Lacrosse team.  Since 2005, the Boys have qualified for postseason play, won a few Bay State Titles, and even claimed a State Championship.  However, the 2012 Boys Lacrosse Team was very different–finishing with a dismal 7-12 record and letting down the entire fan base. Now, after qualifying for the Division 2 Tournament and finishing with a much improved record of 11-8, the 2013 Rebels, as a program, seem to be taking a step forward.

“This year, we expected to win,” said senior Captain Eric Jansen. “We changed our attitude by going into every game with more confidence. The starters, especially on offense, always put up huge numbers against opposing defenses.”

This change in attitude led to a spot in the MIAA Division 2 East tournament for the eighth time in the last nine years against No.17 Foxboro on Tuesday May 21.

The Warriors spoiled the Rebels turnaround, however, by completely dominating Walpole in the third quarter and holding to win an extremely close match, 8-7.

Despite being outplayed for much of the second half, the Rebels had possession in the final minute hunting for the tying goal. Senior attack Chris Frye, who scored five of the Rebels’ seven goals, had the ball about 15 yards from the net, but a Foxboro defender checked the ball free and picked up the ground ball with about 25 seconds remaining.

“We set up a play but it didn’t work out, so we went to another look and got the ball to (Steve) Thulin, but they played good defense on him,” said junior midfielder Sean Donnelly. “We got the ball around to Frye, who had 60-some-odd goals, but he couldn’t convert. That’s just how it goes sometimes.”

Walpole had one desperation pass inside the final 10 seconds but it was not caught cleanly and the clock expired as the teams scrambled for possession.Walpole did have a strong first half; however, Foxboro came out firing–scoring five straight goals over a 8:16 span at the end of the third quarter. Foxboro started the run with a man-up goal, pulling within 5-4. Then the senior attack buried a tough shot into the top corner of the net a little more than two minutes later to tie the game. The Warriors took the lead for good with 3:03 left in the third as their attack ran in transition following a save by Foxboro goalie Tyler Elfman on Frye; the Warriors then ran ahead and scored.

After two more goals in the fourth quarter by Foxboro attack, the Rebels made things interesting as Frye scored his fifth goal with 8:04 remaining and junior Mark Niden followed 1:35 later to get the Rebels back to within a goal. Frye nearly tied the game with 4:33 to play hitting the post.

“This game was definitely a microcosm of our season,” said Jansen. “Almost every game we would start strong but could not close out games. It was extremely frustrating.”

Boys Lacrosse loses eight players to graduation, including a par who will play in college: Jansen will be attending Stonehill next fall; Frye, St. Anselm. However, next year’s should have no trouble replacing this talented group of seniors; Walpole returns 10 players who started in at least one game at one time or another throughout the season. Key players who should all see extended minutes next season includes sophomores Seamus Ford and John Stanton; and juniors Mark Niden, Andrew Blood, Aidain Moore, Pat Baker, and Sean Donnelly.

There is no doubt that the 2013 Boys Lacrosse team had a much more successful season than last year’s team. The Boys finished with a record over .500, defeated two teams in the top 25 teams (Scituate and Milton), and made the Division 2 State Tournament. Through arduous training and a bit more leadership, next season’s Lacrosse team should be bound for an even more successful season and maybe make some noise in the State Tournament. Like their shirts read, no backward step for the Boys Lacrosse program.