is a big step for Corsairs
His impact on the success, and failure, of the men’s lacrosse team at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth is rather profound.
The moment Jordan MacPherson went down with a season-ending knee injury last season, UMass Dartmouth went into a funk. Without him, the Corsairs dropped five of their final seven games, finishing 10-6 (3-4 Little East Conference) and were eliminated from the LEC playoffs in the semifinals.
“Jordan is one of our true face-off guys and when he went down, it changed the team chemistry a lot,” said UMass Dartmouth coach Kevin Mahoney.
MacPherson was in the circle for 110 face-offs last season, winning more than half of his draws. He also collected 36 ground balls and had two caused turnovers.
The 5-foot-11, 175-pound midfielder is back this season, and so are the Corsairs, who started the year 5-0 behind stellar two-way play from their junior captain from Westwood. He netted a pair of goals in an 11-4 season-opening win over Norwich on March 2 and has six goals and an assist in the first five games.
His presence was missed a year ago, said Mahoney. But MacPherson has also emerged as a better player, in part because of his time away.
“His injury forced him to watch and learn from the sidelines,” said Mahoney. “He has been both an offensive and defensive midfielder for us and has grown in both roles. He brings a hard-working attitude to the team.”
After surgery in May to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament, and meniscus in his right knee, MacPherson returned to workouts in early February.
“It was pretty taxing at first,” said MacPherson, a criminal justice major who will turn 21 on Saturday.
“Your leg gets so much smaller than the other one. It’s pretty tough. When I went back to school, I started working with our trainer every day. It’s not easy. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.”
It was even tougher for MacPherson to watch from the sidelines. However, he soon realized that he could help his teammates by picking up nuances of the game from the sideline.
“When you are on the sidelines, you see so many things that you don’t normally see on the field,” said MacPherson, who captained the lacrosse team as a senior at Westwood High, where he also played football and hockey.
“You start to look at the game differently. I realized that I could help out my teammates in various ways. I tried to help out a freshman, Riley Baxter , with some ways to score more.”
Now MacPherson is providing the offensive punch that he thought he would provide last season. He has already equaled the six goals he scored in his injury-shortened sophomore season. As a freshman, he scored three goals and one assist, and was second on the team with 54 ground balls.
“I’m trying to do what I can,” said MacPherson. “There will be games where certain people get the looks, and I’ve been fortunate to get one or two in most of our games. Everyone likes to score, but if we’re going to win and I can help by starting off the play without recording a point, then I’m fine with that, too.”
MacPherson is one of five captains on the UMD squad, joining a pair of seniors from Braintree, midfielder Brendan Dalton and defender Ryan Holbrook, along with Adam Niden, a junior attack from Walpole who has three goals and two assists. Freshman attacker Tyler Chasnov of Plymouth has three goals and a team-high six assists, and sophomore Dennis Healy (Hanover) has three goals.
Kudos on the campus
■ Westwood High grad Riley Cachelin was named Player of the Week in the MASCAC after tallying 11 goals and handing out three assists in a 2-0 week for the Bridgewater State women’s lacrosse team. The sophomore attacker scored 31 goals and added 15 assists last season. Freshman Lauren Geary (Hull) is off to a fast start (6 goals, 2 assists) while Braintree’s Taylor Clancy, a junior midfielder, has two goals and five assists after leading the Bears with 42 goals and nine assists last season.
■ Curry College softball coach Bruce Weckworth registered his 400th career victory March 12 in a 10-5 win over Wisconsin Lutheran. In 18 seasons with the Division 3 program in Milton, the 1982 alum is 401-283-5 overall. The Mansfield resident has been named Commonwealth Coast Conference Coach of the Year three times. East Bridgewater’s Kaitlyn Maderios played a big role in the milestone win, going 2 for 4 with a double, two runs scored, and three RBIs. The junior infielder is batting .286.
■ Brockton’s Jennifer Shaw was named MASCAC Player of the Week after batting .478 with a double, four RBIs, and six runs scored for the Bridgewater State softball team. Middleborough’s Amber White grabbed honor roll mention after posting a pair of victories and a 1.06 ERA for the Bears, including a two-hit shutout with five strikeouts in a 2-0 win over St. Mary’s.
■ Walpole’s Catherine Erwin, 13, finished 13th in the 13-year-old girls’ division at the New England Swimming Championship meet held at MIT. Erwin finished second in the 200-yard fly (2:12.77), and third in the 200-yard backstroke (2:10.09). She was also fourth in the 100-yard fly (1:00.70) and fifth in the 100-yard backstroke (1:02.35).
■ Norton’s Abigail Martin, 13, was 14th overall at the meet and earned a fifth-place finish in the 200-yard fly (2:18.17) and sixth place in the 100-yard fly (1:01.17). Walpole’s Andrew Gubanov, 13, finished 16th in his age group, while Michaela Ryan, 16, of Hingham ranked 17th in her age category.John Johnson can be reached at email@example.com.