Bringing back all but one starter from last year, Wilmington boys’ lacrosse coach Kieran Kavanaugh was optimistic about the Wildcats’ chances as he began his second season.
After a 9-0 start, it’s obvious that confidence was well-founded.
Kavanaugh wanted to see his team improve on the defensive end, and so far it’s mission accomplished.
“Everyone is buying in,” Kavanaugh said. “We only graduated one starter last year and our lines are meshing really well. We have a lot of veterans on the field who work hard, which helps in improving the younger kids.”
Senior captain Eric Jaeschke is one of those veteran players.
“Eric is a tremendous leader,” said Kavanaugh. “He’s the leader of our defense.”
The Wildcats also receive strong leadership from senior attackmen Mitch DeAmbrose and Ryan Kennedy.
Senior midfielder Brian Priem is the go-to faceoff man, winning 80 percent of his faceoffs.
“We’ve been rolling through the season but the last thing I want us to do is to take the foot off the gas,” said Kavanaugh.
Colonials on the rise
Acton-Boxboro hasn’t been able to beat rival Lincoln-Sudbury, but against everyone else they’re proving to be a formidable challenge.
The Colonials are 10-2, with both losses to the Warriors, including a 19-8 defeat Saturday that ended an eight-game winning streak.
Coach Pat Ammendolia believes his team’s success can be attributed to its athleticism.
“We’re a well-balanced, athletic group,” Ammendolia said. “Not a lot of teams can keep up with us.”
Senior and team captain Thomas Cotter leads the attack with a team-best 36 goals. Junior Hunter Arnold has 15 goals and 25 assists and senior midfielder Scott Rogers has 18 goals and 19 assists. Roger scored the winning goal in a double-overtime victory against Concord-Carlisle last Thursday.
Despite the team’s strong start, the Ammendolia isn’t satisfied.
“We can improve everywhere,” Ammendolia said. “We can improve our clearing game as well as making smarter decisions.
“We also need to improve our effort,” he added. “We can’t take plays off and we need to bring our best effort every game.”
Games of the week
No. 6 Westford at No. 1 Lincoln-Sudbury, Tuesday, 5 p.m. — The top-ranked Warriors look to remain undefeated as they take on a strong Grey Ghosts team.
No. 2 Duxbury at No. 8 Medfield, Thursday, 6:45 p.m. — The Green Dragons are 2-3 in their last five, with losses coming against out-of-state competition. The Warriors suffered their first loss Friday.
No. 5 Wilmington at Watertown, Friday, 3:45 p.m. — The Wildcats will try to continue their undefeated season while the Raiders look to extend their current winning streak to five.
No. 3 Needham at No. 13 St. John’s Prep, Saturday 5 p.m. — Sophomore Tim Peterson looks to have another big game after tallying five goals in the Rockets’ win last Friday.