A senior captain of the men’s lacrosse squad at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Will Doucette was asked to score less this season.
So, naturally, his goal production dropped from a team-high 26 a year to just nine this season. But the bigger picture: the Buccaneers improved their win total, from 4-13 last season to 7-9 this year. And the Manchester-Essex Regional graduate admits that he enjoyed the 2012 season much more than last.
His younger sister, Hillary , was asked to do just the opposite. As one of the few experienced players on the Academy's first women's varsity lacrosse squad, the sophomore attack was asked to target the net as often as possible. She scored 29 goals as the Bucs finished 2-13 in their inaugural campaign.
The Doucettes are the past, present, and future, of lacrosse at the academy.
“[Will] was a great contributor to the program on and off the field,'' said men's coach RoryDeegan .
“Not only was he one of the captains, but he was class president as well. He took face-offs and got us the ball and ran our first line. Last year our offense wasn't that well balanced. This year we tried to spread the scoring around and Will was willing to sacrifice his production for the good of the team. Last year, he carried us on his shoulders. We had two of our best seasons ever during his career.''
Hillary Doucette, said women’s coach Julie Rigo , is an “impact player, one who brought experience, which we needed, to the program. We had many players who had never seen a lacrosse game, let alone play in one.
“She was one of the few players we could look to for skills. The women on the team would turn to her for advice and leadership.''
Doucette was scoreless in the first three games of the season before bagging a pair against Nichols. She then scored goals in 10 of the Bucs’ next 11 games.
She saved her best, though, for the program’s historic first win, an 18-16 decision over Wheelock, when the 5-foot-3 Doucette rifled in eight goals and assisted on one other. The next game, a 9-6 victory over Elms, she connected for three more tallies. The Maritime Academy lost its final eight games.
“Winning those two games was the best feeling ever,'' said Doucette. “They came at the right time and lifted our spirits. Scoring eight goals was unbelievable. I had never done that before, not even in high school. Then to win our next game and score three more goals was great. It was a tough first season and at times very discouraging. You work so hard in practice and put your whole heart and soul into the game and then lose. It finally got to the point where it wasn't about winning and losing. It was about being part of the first team and making memories.''
Her brother will remember a memorable final season, in which his unselfishness resulted in more success for the team.
“Last year we really weren't team oriented,'' said the 5-10 midfielder. “We played a run-and-gun game. There was no set offense. That wasn't by design, it was just the way it was. This year, we focused on a more balance offense and even though I didn't score as much, the team won more games so I enjoyed the season more.''
The siblings remain each other’s biggest supporters.
Will said his sister has always been a successful athlete and “there was never a doubt in my mind that she wouldn't excel. She just loves the game and even though the teams we played on weren't outstanding, we have a passion for the game.''
Hillary said that she has always looked up to Will. “He's a great role model,” she said. “We're definitely competitive. If I see that he gets a goal or two, I have to get two or three. It's a healthy competition.
More Merrimack players get NFL shot
Last week, Merrimack linebacker ShawnLoiseau (Shrewsbury) became the first player in program history to sign an NFL contract, agreeing to a free agent deal with the Houston Texans. Two of his teammates, quarterback JamesSuozzo of Everett and defensive end Tony Johnson of Lynn, have been invited to minicamps, Suozzo with the Super Bowl champion New York Giants and Johnson from the Baltimore Ravens.
The 6-3, 215-pound Suozzo finished his career with a school best 8,559 passing yards, with 69 touchdowns. He also ranks first in single season pass attempts (360), completions (194), yards (2,638) and touchdowns (24). The 6-3, 245-pound Johnson was the Warriors’ all-time leader in sacks (35) and a two-time All-America.
A pair of Endicott seniors, defensive end Kevin Eagan (Colts) and long snapper/tight end Taylor Allen (Jaguars), also signed free-agent deals.
John Vellante can be reached at JohnPVel@aol.com.