Ben and Will Murtagh have chosen to stay home to play Division 1 college lacrosse.
Until 2014, the options for the junior twins from Marblehead would have been limited — only Harvard, Holy Cross, and UMass Amherst fielded D1 programs. But Boston University (2014) and UMass Lowell (2015) have each added varsity programs in the past four years, in the Patriot League and the America East, respectively, opening up more opportunities for recruits that would like to stay closer to home.’
The Murtaghs verbally committed to BU a year ago, as sophomores at Governor’s Academy in Byfield.
“It was important to us,” said Will Murtagh, an attack who leads the 6-2 Govs in goals.
“We love Boston and grew up near Boston and spend a lot of time in the city. It’s been a dream to be able to stay here.”
The Murtaghs wanted to stick together. “We’ve never really been apart,” he added.
“With a young program like BU (12-4, entering Sunday’s match against Duke), we saw a lot of promise, we saw it with coach [Ryan] Polley and how they’ve been competitive in the Patriot League.”
The Murtaghs started playing lacrosse at age 6 and have only been separated on the field once — when Ben played his freshman season at Phillips Andover before transferring to Governor’s. They also play for 3D Lacrosse, a club program locally based.
Though the twins have similar 5-foot-10 frames, their games are not mirror images of each other.
“We always played similar because we grew up together,” said Ben, a midfielder.
“We both love taking the ball, but Will is a great dodger and passer and he can always find me in the midfield. He’s fast, and I like to use my body a lot. Our shots are different too. We’re similar, but not the same.”
Tim Winslow, in his first season as coach at Governor’s, said it’s hard when you have twins to not think they’re similar.
“They are each their own player, and they bring different elements with different positions. Ben is a great dodger and has the best shot on our team. Will can hurt you in a lot of different ways. A lot of similarities, but you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who says they’re the same.”
Winslow replaced his mentor, Peter Bidstrop, who had a 22-year run as head coach at Governor’s.
The Govs already own a win over a strong Rivers squad, but there are always tough challenges ahead in the Independent School League. Next up is St. Mark’s on Wednesday.
“It’s a tough league,” said Will Murtagh. “Every game, we can’t take anything lightly. Teams keep getting stronger.”
■ Walpole fell, 9-6, to Bay State Conference rival Needham on a rainy Tuesday, the first loss of the season for the Rebels (8-1). Two days later, the electric run forHamilton-Wenham (8-1) came to a screeching halt with incumbent Cape Ann League power Ipswich (7-1) serving the Generals an 18-2 road loss. Entering Tuesday’s match against Winchester, Wakefield (9-0) is now the only team in Divisions 1 or 2 with a perfect record.
■ On Saturday, Lincoln-Sudbury played host to a trio of visiting powers from New Jersey. In the first matchup of the day, Hingham (9-2) got into a shootout with Seton Hall Prep (N.J.), but suffered a 20-16 defeat despite five goals and three assists from Jack Hennessey. L-S (8-1) fell to Summit (N.J.) for the second consecutive season. The Hilltoppers were the last team to beat the Warriors, in April, 2016. Chatham (N.J.) also took down Medfield, 16-5, but Duxbury (6-2) earned a huge 9-7 victory over Seton Hall Prep on Sunday before the Pirates departed the state.
■ In Independent School League action, St. Sebastian’s (11-1) took down a dynastic Belmont Hill program (6-2) in a 14-11 road win to take control of the standings. Governor’s Academy (7-2) pulled out 10-9 nailbiter over Rivers (8-2) and held strong with an 11-5 win over Roxbury Latin on Saturday.
With proceeds donated from the nonprofit Friends of Medfield Lacrosse after last week’s Dover-Sherborn/Medfield match, the Bruce Lerch Scholarship Fund – created in honor of the late Boston Herald reporter —
“This is a heartfelt tribute to Bruce and something that high school coaches and teams could get behind as a group,” said Lincoln-Sudbury coach Brian Vona, the founder of the fund. “It just shows you what programs can do when they come together.”
Players of the Week
Bryce Adam, Newton North: The elder son of head coach Bussy Adam was a force last week with 17 goals and 12 assists in wins over Waltham, Natick, Brookline and Weymouth.
Teagan Alexander, Xaverian: The freshman goalie notched 18 saves in a 6-4 win over conference rival BC High.
Jack Cahill, Medfield: With the score tied, 4-4, halfway through the Warriors’ match against Dover-Sherborn on Tuesday, Cahill went into overdrive with two goals and four assists in the second half to pace Medfield in a 14-8 win.
Austin Collard, Wakefield: The senior attack scored a staggering nine goals, and assisted on two others, in a 21-3 win over Marblehead for the undefeated Warriors (9-0).
Jake Green, Chelmsford: The senior bolstered his MVC-leading total to 41 goals with 10 in blowout wins over Methuen and Dracut. He only played the first half of each contest.
Austin Shaver, Needham: The Rockets (7-2) were able to hand Walpole its first loss thanks to the excellent play of their senior goalie, who made 16 saves in a 9-6 win.
Games to Watch
■ Tuesday, Winchester at Wakefield, 4 p.m.: The Warriors (9-0) have been on a roll since taking down Middlesex League heavyweight Reading and the Sachems (7-3) are one of their primary competitors in Division 2 North.
■ Tuesday, Catholic Memorial at Xaverian, 7: Never a light meeting between two talented Catholic Conference teams, even if their collective records aren’t overly impressive.
■ Wednesday, Andover at Reading, 4: The Golden Warriors only loss came against Hingham in the Coaches Challenge Cup, while the Rockets (6-2) possess one of the most exciting offensive units in the state.
■ Thursday, Cohasset at Bridgewater-Raynham, 5:30: The young Skippers (9-2) will test their mettle with another tilt against a Division 1 opponent.
■ Thursday, Duxbury at Hingham, 6: These regional rivals will battle for the inside track to a Patriot League title; both programs are 4-0 within conference thus far.
■ Friday, Rivers at St. Sebastian’s, 4: After taking down Belmont Hill last week, the Arrows will look to stay atop the ISL standings with a win over Rivers.
■ Friday, Chelmsford at Billerica, 7: The surprising Lions (9-1) will look to repeat a 10-7 victory over the Indians (6-4) earlier this season in a Friday night rivalry game.
■ Saturday, Medfield at Duxbury, 7: Another huge test for the Dragons (6-2) against the three-time defending Division 2 champion Warriors (7-2).
Correspondent Nate Weitzer also contributed to this report. Marisa Ingemi can be reached at email@example.com.