[ccfic caption-text format="plaintext"]
By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Throughout the 2019 high school lacrosse season, perhaps no player in the state meant more to their team than Needham’s Jason Child. A shoo-in for All-Scholastic recognition, Child led Needham in both scoring and total points and helped the Rockets to a 12-0 league record en route to the Bay State Conference title.
Thanks to heavy contributions from their BU-bound star, along with notable breakout seasons from players such as Ryan Martin, Kurt Brinkhaus, Roman Tacelli and Matt Guagliano, the Rockets finished 14-4 and earned the No. 5 seed in Division I South.
With tournament time here, the Rockets will put all distractions aside and focus on the common goal of bringing a state championship home to Needham. Child emphasized that as a senior, it is obviously different knowing that this is your final go at a state title - but this year’s tournament is also different in the sense that he and his class are now having to deal with putting aside new types of distractions in order to focus on the tasks at hand.
“First thing first, our seniors have to stay focused with all the easy distractions that are occurring right now [prom, graduation events, etc.],” said Child. “But I would say we have a very devoted group of guys right now who see the possibilities that lie ahead. Second, we just have to keep up the hard work, everyone has to do their job and we should hopefully see all of our work pay off soon.”
While one could make the argument that Needham likely deserved a higher seed than No. 5 after having beaten Newton North (No. 4) in the regular season finale to claim the conference title, the Rockets must now turn to having to face No. 12 BC High in the first round, the same team that ended Needham’s 2018 season en route to the sectional and state championships. Earlier in the season, the Rockets dropped a 13-12 heartbreaker to BC, a loss that certainly helped get their opponents into the tournament after the Eagles finished at 10-8. When asked if familiarity is a factor when taking on a team as potent as BC High, Child said that he and the Rockets know what they are in for and are excited to take on the task of playing what could be deemed the most equal 12/5 matchup this tournament has ever seen.
“We are all about playing our own game, but I would say especially with a team like this, using what we already know about them is an absolute necessity,” said Child. “They have a bunch of threats on both sides of the ball and we recognize it, and will be working some aspects of our game around it. But at the end of the day, it’s going to be who wants it more and who’s going to play smarter and harder. They have a great squad and we are excited for the matchup.”
At the time of print, Needham will host BC High on June 5 at Memorial Field at 7 p.m. If victorious, the Rockets would play the winner of No. 4 Newton North and No. 13 Wellesley in the quarterfinals on Saturday. Not much needs to be said about Needham’s feeling of disdain for both of those squads.
For funny and insightful sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter @fLAno0.