Rick Senatore had a clean sheet of paper with a pen full of ink; all he had to do was add some names to the first recruiting class that would help turn around a struggling program he called “one of the worst in all of college lacrosse.”
It was 2011 and the newly named coach at Franklin Pierce needed to identify his primary target. Who could he build his new team around?
Senatore chose a 5-foot-7, 150-pound midfielder and two-year captain from Foxborough. An unimposing figure, Eddie Noonan would be the player to help change the history of a program that had lost 89 percent (133 of 150) of its games since its 1998 inaugural season.
“Getting him to come here, it wasn’t easy, but it kind of was,” the coach said. “He just believed in what I believed in. He wanted to be a part of making a program better.”
It helped that Noonan had already driven down that road before. His freshman year at Foxborough, the Warriors lost their first 10 games of the season and ended up with a 3-13 record. By Noonan’s senior year, they finished 16-4.
“He’s not one of those big, fast guys,” Senatore said. “He’s just one of those kids who plays with a lot of heart and finds a way to get things done.”
Noonan’s size, at first, was a serious disadvantage. He had spent some time in the weight room as a high school athlete, but not nearly enough to prepare him.
“Once I got there it was a rude awakening,” he said. “I took a couple of beatings during practice.”
It was not until he met a sophomore from Dunstable, Eric Harries , that Noonan learned a workout secret that would help him put on 20 pounds (mostly muscle, he says).
The key: Building strength in his back.
For those who lift weights on a regular schedule, Back Day is often the most dreaded workout. Now 5-8, 170 pound, Noonan calls it “one of those things that’s just not enjoyable.” But Harries, who can rip off 95-mile per hour shots, has learned that the back and legs are the most important areas of strength for an offensive player.
What Noonan could do (after gaining strength in his core) was become a crafty, aggressive ball carrier who will back himself into defensemen and shoot with his shoulders. He said he scored most of his team-leading 21 goals this season from close range, working his body into contact before shooting, when he hit the target 70 percent of the time, also a team best.
But the sophomore captain also has the ability to be elusive, which would explain why his teammates call him “Greasy Eddie.’’
All those days Noonan spent working out his back — well, they paid off.
The Ravens finished the season at 7-6, the first winning season in program history, with promise of a better future.
Stonehill senior sets another record
Two weeks ago, Kristen Mahoney broke her own record at Stonehill in the 10,000 meters (6.2 miles) with a time of 37:31.77 at the New England Championships, the final collegiate competition for the Weymouth High graduate.
This past Tuesday, Mahoney ran just 4 miles to test her legs. Her time: 30:45.
“I felt like I was dying,” she said.
Mahoney enjoyed a four-year career at Stonehill on the cross-country and track teams. She also holds the school record in the 5K (17:29.40).