The Watertown girls’ lacrosse team might not have any superstar players or Division 1 college recruits, but there is a familiar face is on the sidelines this year.
Eileen Donahue, a veteran field hockey coach at Watertown with over 500 career wins and 11 Division 2 state championships in her coaching career, took over as the coach right before the start of the season. Only in its third year as a varsity program, the team is a mix of athletes from other sports, most of whom are learning lacrosse on the job.
“It’s nice to see a different blend of players come together,” said Donahue. “For many of them it’s their first time playing together, let alone picking up a stick.”
The Raiders are off to a great start. They are currently 8-0 and leading the Middlesex League (Liberty) with four conference wins. Being undefeated is nothing new for Donahue, but having to teach her players basic stick-handling and the rules of the game is definitely a change.
“It floored me giving up 12 goals,” said Donahue of the Raiders’ 15-12 win against Shawsheen in their second game. “That was a new thing for me.”
Along with her assistant coaches, Courtney Tavener, Lisa Pagliuca, and Tiny Loguidice, Donahue is working hard to help her players improve every day.
“It is basically a work in progress,” she said. “We’re trying to teach them basic skills and the strategy of the game. We’re working to correct things and we’re just focusing on the little things right now.”
Donahue points to Westwood and Notre Dame Academy as perennial powerhouses in lacrosse. Of course for a coach who has so much success in the past, she expects to raise the caliber of the lacrosse program over time.
Senior Lauren Sutherland is the team captain and a leader on the field, but it’s a team effort, says Donahue. “Basically the way we’re approaching this is everyone plays a part in the defense and everyone plays a part in the offense.”
Games to watch
No. 2 Notre Dame Academy at No. 1 Westwood, Tuesday — The undefeated Wolverines will host the Cougars Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in a highly anticipated matchup between the top two teams in Eastern Mass. The last time these teams met was in the semifinals of the Division 1 South sectionals. Westwood took that game, 18-8, and went on to claim the state title.
No. 13 Wayland at No. 3 Westford Academy, Tuesday — These two undefeated teams will face off in this Dual Country League crossover matchup. The Grey Ghosts lead the DCL Large division while the Warriors are in first in the Small division. Except a defensive battle, as both teams are averaging just seven goals a game.
Andover at No. 5 North Andover, Friday — Undefeated in league play, North Andover is dominating the Merrimack Valley Conference. Second-place Andover will have to step up its defense to slow down the Golden Warriors. North Andover won the previous matchup, 7-4, April 5th.