Pictured during his junior season at DS, Erik Niit (23) will look to make an impact as a freshman this upcoming spring for Colby men's lacrosse. Photos by Mike Flanagan.
By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Erik Niit last suited up for Dover-Sherborn Regional High School varsity lacrosse in 2019. Then a junior, Niit helped the Raiders to the Division III state championship with a 7-4 victory over Grafton. With Niit and the majority of the DS roster returning in 2020, expectations were high - many expected the Raiders to potentially repeat in Division III. Unfortunately, COVID-19 stripped the DS boys of the chance to defend their title after the season was forced into cancellation. Niit, a four-year varsity player, finished his high school lacrosse career with 66 goals and 59 assists.
Reflecting back to his time at DS, Niit described the pain he and his Raider teammates felt not having one final go at a state championship together.
"Not having a senior season was devastating, especially because I was a captain my senior year," said Niit. "However, I wouldn’t have done anything differently at DS. The one thing I can say is I wish I had more confidence when I was playing. Being a senior, I was excited to have a lot of confidence and exhibit it, but our season was cancelled. It’s a good lesson for everyone to play as hard as they can and be confident."
Now a freshman at Colby College in Maine, Niit finds himself in an unfortunate, but familiar situation. As many remember, the NESCAC (Colby's conference) was the first to cancel all spring athletics last March in response to the virus outbreak. Almost a year later, the NESCAC will have a big decision to make in the coming weeks about whether or not the 2021 spring season will be played. The conference already cancelled the entire fall and winter athletic seasons.
Asked about his first semester of college and what fall ball was like, Niit says it was certainly different than anything he was used to, but he believes he and his teammates got a lot of great work in. Niit also says he and the Mules are doing all they can to prepare for a lacrosse season like they normally would, even while being in a new bubble-like environment.
"Luckily, at Colby, the campus had mandatory testing two or three times per week, so we created a little bubble," said Niit. "Around two weeks in, we started small group contactless practices, which consisted of lots of stick work and cardio. Two weeks after that, we went full-contact with the entire team. We then practiced four times per week and lifted three times a week until the end of the semester. We didn’t play any other teams, but we broke our team into four small teams and had a Sunday league, which was a total blast."
In terms of all of the uncertainty ahead, Niit says he and his new teammates remain hopeful that they will have a season despite a lot of unknowns.
"At this point, we are just hoping to have a season - anything is appreciated," said Niit. "The NESCAC hasn’t told us much about what is going on, so right now it’s just fingers crossed."
For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as video highlights of games, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram handles @flano0.