Boys Lax Gears up for Tournament Run  


Walpole Boys lacross scores goal at first game of the season.

Ben Brownsword

The success of a lacrosse team depends on a multitude of good players. Lockdown defensemen that can take opposing attackmen out of a game, and versatile middies that can do it all while running for the entire game. Additionally, every team needs a player who can just flat out score with consistency. Walpole Lacrosse has all the tools to create that success.

With injuries to several key players, bench players will have to step up to negate the effect of the injuries. The Rebels were given the fourth seed in the Division 2 Central/East bracket and received a bye in the first round, along with the fifth seed Holliston. Tonight, Walpole faces Holliston in a quarter final matchup.  After last year’s heartbreaking 8-6 loss in the preliminary round against Foxboro, they will be looking for redemption.

A big strength of this year’s Walpole team is their offensive firepower. The team has had several high scoring games, including a 13-5 rout over King Philip to begin the season, and a 10-3 whooping of Norwood to finish the season. In between those two games were certainly some rough patches for the 10-8 Rebels. However, if they are going to make a run, their offensive firepower needs to come out guns blazing.

Their goal-scoring ability has been in large part due to the senior duo of Mark Niden and Sean Donnelly. The two have put forth several great scoring performances this year.  Not afraid to get banged around in order to get to the net and score, Niden is the goal-scoring attackman for Walpole this season, with 25 goals that include multiple hat tricks, starting with his first three-goal game in the opener.

Senior captain midfielder Donnelly, who is committed to play lacrosse at Rochester Polytechnic Institute, has had an equally impressive season so far.  Recently, he was bestowed with the honor of a first team Bay-State all star spot for his performance, one of the highest honors in the conference. He has been a versatile, do-it-all middie throughout the year, and even with injuries damaging the depth of the middies (including injuries to fellow starters Munachiso Egbuchulam and Seamus Ford) he has anchored the injury-ridden midfield.  The tournament is a great opportunity for the both of them to end their high school careers with a bang.

Niden and Donnelly not only play well, but they make other players better, according to fellow senior captain and starting attackman Pat Baker. “Donnelly’s skill on the draw helps us get possession, and Niden is always a target on the crease who can score goals for us,” said Baker.

With Walpole facing a very difficult tournament ahead, stocked with top 25 teams, they will be looking for players to step up. The senior duo have done so all year and will certainly hope to continue to do so in order to go deep in the tournament. With the legacy of the 2009 team looming above them, the team will certainly want to live up to the expectations and exceed them in this year’s tournament.