|Weston lacrosse head coach Jim Wilcon talks to his players, including Will Harris, (left), during last week’s tight battle with Concord-Carlisle. (Lisa Poole for The Boston Globe)|
In the fun of it all, the W’s help
Weston winning under Wilcon
With his Weston High boys’ lacrosse team locked in a 1-1 deadlock at the start of the third quarter last Saturday, Jim Wilcon looked across the penalty area to his counterpart, Concord-Carlisle coach Tom Dalicandro, and asked, “Is this fun?’’
There was a touch of sarcasm in his voice: Both coaches were a bit on edge in the tight game.
When Wilcon asks his players the same question, he expects the same answer every time: “Yes!’’
“We want to have fun,’’ said the coach, who played lacrosse both at Newton South and the University of Rhode Island. “I think you play better when you play loose and you have fun.
“I was kind of joking with [Dalicandro] because it’s a stressful situation for coaches. So I was like, ‘Is this fun?’ Because it’s supposed to be fun, but it’s stressful. But we do, we try to keep that balance of having fun because I think you play better.’’
Wilcon has gotten his wish. Not only are the Wildcats playing loose and having fun, but they’re playing better than ever: their 4-3 loss to Concord-Carlisle was their first of the season after 11 straight wins. Weston was the last undefeated boys’ team in the state and has the look of a squad that can make a serious run in the Division 3 state tournament.
“You don’t want to play sports if you’re not having fun,’’ said senior captain Zach Feldman, who has been sidelined this season with an anterior cruciate ligament tear in a knee but has been a valuable leader off the field, according to Wilcon.
“Being out there, everyone running around, it makes it fun. Winning, too, what’s not to love about that? It’s a lot of fun.’’
Weston’s emergence as a contender in the Dual County League and beyond started with the hiring of Wilcon prior to last season. The program’s third coach in three years, he previously was the varsity coach at Arlington High in 2001 and 2002, along with a stint at junior varsity level in Natick.
“When you don’t have continuity there, it causes a big problem,’’ said Jim Atkins, the head of the youth lacrosse program in Weston. “Over time it demoralizes the program. With coach Wilcon there was always a consistent approach. Even when he was interviewing for the job, he was talking to me about getting a better link from the youth program to the high school.’’
“It’s always good to have a good coach behind you, a consistent coach every year,’’ said senior captain Petie Von Rosenvinge, a defenseman.
Wilcon established four rules: “Be a good teammate, work hard at all times, be coachable, and have fun.’’
He said the secret to the team’s success has been the players, parents, youth program, and assistant coach Mike Brown “pulling all in the same direction.’’
Senior captain Will Harris, a midfielder, leads the Wildcats in scoring with 35 goals and 15 assists. Senior attack Jack Rodday has 22 goals and 10 assists, while junior Chase Williams has added 11 goals. Senior Derek Kachadurian joins Von Rosenvinge on a strong defense in front of sophomore goalie Jared Fong, who has saved 111 shots on 148 attempts (75 percent).
“You can only shut off one person or two,’’ said Harris. “But when you have your third middie or your second-line middies or your third attackman that can attack and score just as well as any guy, I think it’s huge. And also, if one guy attacks, anybody can finish.’’
On Saturday, the Wildcats trailed 3-2 at the start of the fourth quarter before Harris made a strong drive and finish across the goal to tie the game. But the visiting
It wasn’t a satisfying ending for the Wildcats. But it was the type of game Weston can expect more of in the future, with plenty of fun ahead.
“I think the future’s bright,’’ said Atkins. “For the foreseeable future, Weston’s going to be a force in lacrosse.’’
“Since coach Wilcon’s been here, he’s the man. You can’t say much more,’’ said Feldman. “He’s pulled the team together and we’re really close because of it. We’re all just a big family here. It’s definitely nice to have a stable coach.’’
Head coach Karoly Baggio delivered a baby girl, Caroline, two months premature, and made an emotional farewell to the team in early May.
Baggio resigned and junior varsity coach Mae Shoemaker, who had coached A-B on an interim basis during April vacation, has taken over on a permanent basis.
“It was definitely a big surprise,’’ said captain Kelsey McGovern. “No one saw it coming. [Baggio] has to do what’s best for her family and we support her.’’
The Colonials (13-1) have not lost a game since the change.
“The girls are very receptive,’’ said Shoemaker, also the varsity field hockey coach. “I couldn’t have asked to step into a better situation because it could have been ugly.’’
Shoemaker has relied heavily on assistant coaches Jon Ducols, Liz Goddard, and Julie Gallant, along with quad captains McGovern, Marianna Ritter, Marissa Reitsma, and Grace Wilson to make sure the transition was as smooth as possible.
“I think [the transition has] been extremely smooth,’’ said McGovern. “[Shoemaker has] coached the field hockey team to two state championship titles. She knows what to do . . . I’m really excited and happy she’s with us.’’
McGovern (45 goals and 14 assists), who will play at UConn next season, Annie Nero (32 goals and 13 assists), and Reitsma (26 goals and 18 assists) have sparked the offense, while the defense of Ritter and Wilson has been superb.
Senior goalie Natalie McMillan has been a revelation; she had never played lacrosse before this season but has been “a rock in net,’’ according to Shoemaker.
A-B closes the season with home dates against Westford Academy and Newton South, sandwiched around trips to Lincoln-Sudbury and two-time defending state champion Westwood.
Lincoln-Sudbury handed the Colonials their only loss, 13-12.
Adam Kurkjian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.