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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
After a 19-9 loss to arch-rival Medfield in the Sectional Finals ended their 2016 season, the Westwood High School boys lacrosse team returns to action this spring with revenge on their mind. The goal for this season is not just to get back to the Sectional Final, but also to win it.
“Getting back to the Sectional Finals is something we’re striving for,” said Westwood head coach Todd Zahurak. “It’s a tough section that we play in, and there are five or six teams who are more than capable of winning it. Getting back there and giving ourselves a chance to win it would be a nice season for us.”
In recent years, Zahurak and the Westwood High lacrosse program have developed a multitude of elite athletes that have gone on to compete at the collegiate level - players such as Jake Cwieka (Bentley), Mike Leonard (Assumption), and Chris Riley (Endicott) just to name a few.One name that will surely soon be joining that prestigious list of alum is that of Providence College lacrosse commit and junior attackman of the Wolverines, Jake Antonucci. After pioneering the Westwood football team deep into the MIAA Division II playoffs last fall along with older brother and senior captain of the Wolverines, Robbie, the 2017 lacrosse season marks the final time that the Antonucci brothers will play side-by-side with one another in high school.
Along with the Antonucci brothers, Westwood also returns their speedy and highly skilled senior captain Tom Rich, giving the Wolverines some much needed depth and experience at the midfield position. On attack, a pair of sophomores in Connor Donahue and Ryan Healey will be joining Jake Antonucci to round out the starting three.
On the negative side of things, the Wolverines lost one of their four senior captains in defensive long pole Brendan Delaney to injury back in November during football season. The loss of Delaney leaves a significant hole in the middle of the Westwood defensive unit, but Zahurak says that he is confident that his team will develop into a highly successful defense due to their depth and guidance from senior captain and defensive long-pole, Brett Middleton.
“Our offense looks really really good,” said Zahurak. “Our D is going to be a work in progress, but I am confident in having a successful season this year with this group of hardworking guys on the back end.”
The last line of defense for the Wolverines this season will be junior goaltender, C.J. Adourian, and Zahurak says that he looks forward to seeing what the junior can do between the pipes in 2017.
“He works hard,” said Zahurak. “He’ll be counted on to make some big saves for us.” Zahurak also says that a guy to look out for this season is sophomore LSM, Ian Williams. “Ian is a guy that is unknown to a lot of the teams in our conference,” said Zahurak. “I think he’s going to have a big impact with his stick skills and long range. He’s really athletic and I expect him to have a really good year for us.”