By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Correspondent
Winning is all the 2022 Dover-Sherborn boys lacrosse seniors know: 2019 - Division III state champs, 2020 - no season (COVID), 2021 - Division III state champs.
In 2022, the Raiders will look to win their third state title in four years. However, this year will be different. If the Raiders end up making a long run into June, it will be in the newly-formed Division IV Tournament instead of Division III. This comes after the MIAA realigned spring athletics into four divisions to accommodate the new statewide tournament format. All in all, the former titans of Division III from DS will now try to become the inaugural kings of Division IV.
Returning to lead DS in 2022 are three senior co-captains: Bentley-committed defenseman Henry Murphy, Franklin & Mary-committed midfielder Willy Bowen and midfielder Charlie Perry. Unfortunately, Murphy will miss the entire season as he recovers from a torn meniscus.
“Our first and main goal is to be the best team in Division IV,” said Murphy when asked about his team’s general goals and expectations heading into the new season. “We want to continue the dynasty, and we’re willing to put in the work to do so. Secondly, we want to beat Medfield. Lastly, kind of an overarching goal for us seniors is to leave DS lax better than we found it. The captains want to create a really good culture of extremely tough, hardworking and competitive guys that are also respectful, team oriented, and have good sportsmanship.”
DS lost a large chunk of its roster to graduation last spring, which included leading scorers Pierce Gregory (Bryant) and Ben Teich. However, the Raiders do bring back some key guys, including senior defensive midfielder Johnny Bennett, junior close D Carson Ahola and sophomore attack/midfielder Wyatt Pastore.
“I’m really excited to play lacrosse again,” said Bennett when asked about his mindset heading into the new season. “There are a lot of great guys on the team and we have great coaches, so I know it’ll be a lot of fun. For now, the tournament is so far away that I think most of us are really more focused on starting the regular season well and getting better every day.”
As for Murphy, who will be forced to perform his leadership duties from the sideline, the Bentley-bound star will look to maintain a positive mindset and become a mentor for the DS defensive unit. It’s a tough situation, but one Murphy says he is learning from.
“As for me, it’s been a big adjustment from being on the field to being in more of a mentor role,” said Murphy. “Although I’ll really miss being able to play with the boys, I’ve decided that the only thing I can do is be positive about the situation and kind of assume my place on the sidelines with the coaches. I’ll maintain this mindset by just being grateful that I still have a large impact on the team, and that I still get to enjoy the wins and learn from the losses with my teammates. Honestly, watching from the sidelines has helped me appreciate and learn from the game in a lot of ways, too, because I get to break down what kids are doing and help them with their game, which in turn helps me with my game.”
For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as video highlights of games, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram handles @flano0.