Pictured dodging on a Medway defender during the 2019 Central/East playoffs, attack-man Pierce Gregory (left) enters his senior year in 2021 looking to help the Raiders win their way back atop Division III. Photos by Mike Flanagan.
By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
The date is June 21, 2019. The scene is Babson College on a muggy and rainy afternoon. Dover-Sherborn Regional High School boys varsity lacrosse has just defeated Grafton, 7-4, to claim the program's fifth Division III state championship since 2012, solidifying a modern-day dynasty.
With almost the entirety of their starting lineup returning the following year, a repeat in 2020 is well within reach. Little did anybody know, however, that June 21, 2019 in Wellesley would be the final high school lacrosse game played in the state of Massachusetts for almost two full years. This would also be the final game for not only Dover-Sherborn's class of 2019, but also the class of 2020. We all know what happened next.
After the entire 2020 MIAA lacrosse season was cancelled due to COVID, high school lacrosse will finally return to DS and the entire state of Massachusetts this spring after the MIAA agreed to hold a shortened season beginning in May. Even better, the MIAA also agreed to hold a state tournament for all three Divisions following the conclusion of the regular season, set to run from the end of June into early July.
"The MIAA approved having a state tournament last Wednesday; needless to say the boys are extremely motivated and happy for the opportunity," said DS senior captain and Bryant-committed attack-man Pierce Gregory. "The news was huge because that championship is the primary goal we have, and it’s huge in terms of the motivation for us going into the season. We want to go out on top, and also play for the previous class of seniors, because those guys didn’t get a shot at it. What’s most important this year is the team’s success and a state championship."
Late March is normally the time of year when high school lacrosse players are putting in their final preparations, with regular season action just weeks or days away. In 2021, however, the Raiders and all MIAA lacrosse teams will need to wait an extra month to play games due to the ongoing Fall II athletic season (football and volleyball). The extra month of preparation might be a bit of an annoyance and inconvenience, but it is also allowing one important thing: more practice reps.
"It can definitely be tough to get together all the time and practice, " said Gregory. "But, we’ve put an emphasis on individual work this offseason. Whether that’s wall-ball, shooting, or conditioning on your own, everyone knows what they need to do in order to be ready. We’ve started our joint practices with Natick, and running those sessions gets a lot of the rust off as we get closer to the start."
Along with Gregory back in a featured role on attack, the Raiders also return a plethora of weapons to complement the Bryant commit on offense, as well as a defensive mainstay in Luke Wiese.
"We lost some good talent in last year's class," said Gregory. "But, we have a lot of guys ready to step up. Ford Pegram is a guy who is ready for a breakout year at midfield, and Luke Wiese is a good anchor on the defense. Bradley Peterson, Noah Sampson, and Charlie Budd are all guys who have worked really hard and will make big contributions. We have a lot of experienced guys ready to take on bigger roles since 2019."
For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as video highlights of games, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram handles.