Three years ago, the Mystic Valley lacrosse team wasn’t on anybody’s radar, because, quite frankly, the program didn’t exist on the varsity level.
But three years in to the program, head coach Marty Horkan has the Eagles on everyone’s screen in the Div. 3 ranks with a 5-0 start to the 2011 season and a recent No. 1 ranking on laxpower.com, the definitive site for high school lacrosse in the state.
“We’ve had that sort of steadily getting better every year,” said Horkan. “In terms of our conference, aside from Shawsheen, we are really establishing ourselves as the second best team in the league right now. We want to make that next step. We have made the tournament the past two years and we are hoping this year for three in a row.”
Starting from Scratch
Horkan has worked hard to get this program up and off the ground after spending seven years as an assistant with Malden Catholic and a brief stint as the head coach at Austin Prep. The program started with mainly sophomores with some experience in the game of lacrosse, and Horkan has built the team in to a high-flying, offensive juggernaut.
The Eagles have averaged 16.80 goals a game, which ranks highest for any school at any level in Eastern Mass. A lot of that comes down to having 13 seniors returning from a team that picked up 14 wins last season, and even more of that comes from having three forwards who earned All-Conference status in the Commonwealth last season.
Taylor Roseen is a marked man by Eagles’ opponents, but he’s still managed to score 24 goals and dish out 12 assists in five games this year. He is getting plenty of help from the decorated Evan Dolber (14 goals, nine assits) and Jimmy Rossi (12 goals, nine assists).
“We are sort of an attack driven team,” said Horkan. “One of the three guys can pick up the slack if one isn’t having the greatest day.”
Team Plays Well Both Ways
Defensively, the Eagles are no slouch. The Eagles 12.8 margin of victory is good for second highest in that category and they wouldn’t be in that position without the efforts of John Dion.
Dion, who played goalie in hockey, made the move from the long-stick to the goalie position this season, and Horkan has been thrilled with the results thus far.
“He was a leader for us defensively and took it upon himself to become a goalie in the offseaon and he’s been great,” said Horkan. “He’s been nothing shore of excellent so far this year.”
Nick Krasco, Zach Hamhoomis, Eric Natale, Brendan Hogan and Pat Kinnon help form a strong midfield and defensive front to help Dion between the pipes.
“They may not be the glory guys and they might not get the goals, but they do the dirty work,” said Horkan. "It just really helps for a team effort.”
Horkan’s previously stated goal is to make the tournament, but the conference title is something he envisions for this team in the not-to-distant future. Shawsheen has staked claim to the title for the past five seasons, and the Eagles will get their first taste of the champs on Wednesday.
The game will be a measuring stick for where the team has improved during the past three seasons.
“We lost to them twice last year, but we are seeing that we are able to hang with them a little more, and this year we are hoping to turn the tide,” said the head coach.