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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
An 11-7 season in 2017 ended with a tough 13-8 sectional semifinals defeat to eventual Division II Central/East champs Medfield for the Westwood High School varsity boys lacrosse team.
In 2018, the Wolverines will need to fill in some major holes left behind by departed talent such as Robbie Antonucci. However, Westwood returns two of the top offensive players in the state (both senior captains) in Providence College commit Jake Antonucci and Vassar College commit Connor Deehan, as well as a surplus of attack-men who are capable of lighting up opposing goaltenders.
“We’ve got a good mix of senior leadership coming back along with younger guys,” said Antonucci when asked about the outlook of the 2018 Wolverine laxers. “It’s important that we have balance and stay focused in practice, because we are a pretty young team. We have to keep our discipline in order to win.”
While Antonucci and Deehan will be leading the charge for the Wolverines at midfield, Westwood will be led by a pair of juniors on attack in Connor Donahue and Ryan Healey, both of whom are coming off of 40-point seasons in 2017. Joining Healey and Donahue on attack will be sophomore Jason Stebbins.
Helping out Antonucci and Deehan at midfield on faceoffs and supplying depth to the long-pole corps will be sophomore LSM Matt Cawley. The favorite to take the majority of the faceoffs for the Wolverines this season will be sophomore midfielder/fogo Charlie Harrington.
As far as what to expect out of the 2018 Westwood High boys, Antonucci says that he and his teammates are just looking at things on a week-by-week basis.
“It’s important that we don’t get ahead of ourselves,” said Antonucci. “We’re just looking to take things week-by-week. We play a really tough schedule this year with Medfield, DS, Newton North and Walpole, so we need to be prepared for a fight every time we take the field. If we stay focused, put in the work in practice, and do all the little things, I think we’ll get another shot to make some noise in the Division II playoffs.”
The Wolverines will be tested right out of the gate with a tough non-conference matchup at Newton North in their season-opener on April 3 before hosting Acton-Boxborough on April 12.
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter at @fLAno0, or read his blog at www.flannylive.wordpress.com.