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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
In most New England towns, a player going on to play Division I college lacrosse is a major accomplishment - not only for the player, but also for the player’s high school program. In Medfield, playing lacrosse in college is becoming ever more popular by the year.
With the sport growing and Medfield’s youth and high school programs flourishing, many Division I schools around the Northeast hold a big recruiting presence in Medfield. However, no Division I school seems to have a bigger presence in Medfield than Holy Cross. The Crusaders currently boast four Medfield natives rostered for the 2019 season: senior close D/LSM Will Murphy, sophomore midfielder Jack Cahill, freshman midfielder Matt DeSisto, and freshman face-off specialist Brendan McKenzie.
Murphy (’15) and Cahill (’17) played their high school days at Medfield, while DeSisto and McKenzie both finished up at St. Sebastian’s this past spring. Nevertheless, all four spent a substantial amount of time in Medfield’s youth program, which, according to Murphy, was what allowed him and his fellow Medfield teammates to develop the skills necessary to achieve in high school, and later in college.
“The simplest way to put it is that it’s really cool,” said Murphy when asked about what it’s like playing with three guys he grew up playing with in Medfield’s youth system. “It really speaks volumes to the town of Medfield and the Medfield youth program. McKenzie, DeSisto, and Cahill were kind of always the younger brothers of some of my buddies who I grew up playing lacrosse with. They were always around and we were always throwing around in the backyard and hanging out as kids. Matty DeSisto’s dad was my coach all throughout middle school, and it’s just really cool to be able to come from such a strong program and be able to share these lacrosse experiences with these guys at the next level at Holy Cross. We’re definitely all looking forward to playing together this season.”
Another key component to Holy Cross’ success in both the present and the future, according to Murphy, is 27-year-old head coach Peter Burke, a native of Walpole and a graduate of St. Sebastian’s.
“Coach Burke has just done such a great job getting us ready for the season throughout fall ball,” said Murphy. “He’s a 27-year-old head coach of a Division I lacrosse team - that’s just incredible. His character as a person really motivates the team to be stronger by the day. One of the motives of the team is we’ve got his back and he’s got ours, especially for the seniors who’ve had him leading us for a full four years now. We’re running and gunning and ready to go. Him being from Walpole and being a Seb’s guy is also really cool, and it really resonates with guys like DeSisto, McKenzie, Peter Murphy, and all those Seb’s guys coming in. He’s done an amazing job here promoting such a strong culture. It feels like a ‘why not us’ type of mentality. We were a young team last year and we have the youngest coach in Division I, and we’re fired up to get behind him and do something special this season.”
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter at @fLAno0.
Photo by Josh Perry