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By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Throughout the last two decades, Medfield High lacrosse has been a powerhouse. There are many factors that have gone into Medfield lacrosse’s success throughout the last two decades. There’s an elite youth program. There are legacy families that seemingly have sibling after sibling stepping up, year-after-year, to contribute to the common goal of winning. And while those responsible will never admit to it, excellent coaching has played a major role in elevating the program.
In 2020, Medfield High lacrosse will return some key pieces that led them to the state finals last spring: attack-man Jack McCordic, LSM James Wilder, and close D John Schofield, just to name a few.
However, despite getting back ample talent and experience with the hopes of making another long playoff run, Medfield will have some figuring out to do on the coaching front next season. On September 6, Xaverian announced the hiring of longtime Medfield assistant Daggett Morse as its next head varsity lacrosse coach. Morse, a Needham native, says the chance to coach at Xaverian is one he looks to take advantage of, and says finding out he won the job was a moment he will never forget.
“Definitely a little surreal once everything was said and done,” said Morse. “I was very fortunate to be in that sort of Josh McDaniels zone as an assistant - not that I'm making a direct comparison, as that would be nuts - but we were having a lot of success on the field and I was happy going to work every day. So I was able to be really picky about where to look next. Obviously, Xaverian has always been a really tough and athletic team. Tim Gardner had a really prolific run and the program is in a strong place for both this season and going forward. I wanted to join a place with a strong culture, both on and off of the field, and Xaverian suits that perfectly. The standards in that building are very high and it leads to a lot of very driven, well-rounded student-athletes. I'm not sure you could ask for much more as a coach.”
The humbled eight-year former assistant also took time to give praise to the man who made all of this possible: John Isaf, who hired Morse in 2013 and served as a big mentor for the new Xaverian head man throughout their time together in Medfield.
“Oh man, it was the full experience. I still have no idea what exactly John saw when he brought me on - 22 and not a whole lot of experience,” said Morse. “Really happy he did, because from day one, it was really obvious that his program was going to be run like a well-oiled machine. The attention to detail in both the big and small things was such a change from what I probably expected, headed into the role. Almost everything I believe in terms of coaching and running a program comes from John's example, and from just listening and observing how he carried himself around the team - even when he probably thought I wasn't paying attention. We were fortunate to have a lot of really great players, some phenomenal athletes, and play in some big games with high expectations from parents and the community as a whole. So I feel pretty well prepared for whatever future seasons have in store.”
As for the road ahead, Morse says he looks to take advantage of the talent Xaverian brings back, such as Bryant commits Teagan Alexander at goalie and Tanner Alexander at close D/LSM, and Bates-committed senior attack-man Jack Daoust. Morse also says his main goal right now is to figure out the best ways to put players in position to win. Xaverian holds a long history of boasting stellar defensive units, a tradition Morse hopes to continue.
“I think the approach will remain pretty much the same from years past,” said Morse. “It's a boring coach type answer, but we'll just do the best we can to put the players in a position to succeed on the field. Try to be fast, confident and aggressive defensively. We definitely have a long tradition of stout defenses over there to measure ourselves against. It will be a total team effort and we're lucky to have some very talented guys but no one ever does it alone. You can't have an All-American without the rest of the unit performing their jobs - that's really a team award as much as an individual one in terms of defensemen. So, we'll see how it shakes out in the spring. I know that the Alexanders and Jack Daoust will be great captains for us going forward. I'm really looking forward to the season arriving so that we can get to work.”
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram @flano0.