AC Boys' Lacrosse Wins Sportsmanship Award
Team will be honored at D3 final at Harvard Stadium
The 2010 Arlington Catholic boys' lacrosse team set school records for best record, most wins, most goals scored, and least goals against, and also captured a share of the Catholic Conference crown.
But none of that means nearly as much to coach Dan Brothers as the MIAA Sportsmanship Award the Cougars will receive at halftime of Wednesday's Boys Lacrosse East Division 3 championship game at Harvard Stadium between Cohasset and Norwell.
Especially considering the Cougars, as well as coach Brothers, were bordering on extinction just two seasons ago.
"Two years ago we had a very tough year. We had lost 17 seniors and a lot of kids were playing varsity for the first time," said Brothers. "We were averaging 9.28 penalties per game, we were getting unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and we had game disqualifications. We had things happen to us that we weren't accustomed to."
The also had things happening that they were accustom to, like winning, finishing second in the league, qualifying for the State tournament and finishing the season with a 10-9 record.
"It was an odd year so to speak and many kids from this team were sophomores or freshmen on that team," said Brothers. "There were a lot of questions and I was part of the question as well."
Coach Brothers has answered any questions about his coaching, turning around the culture and identity of the program in just two short seasons, not only in raising the level of play of the team, but also in doing it the right way.
"We changed the culture a little bit," said Brothers. "Quite frankly, we went to an almost zero tolerance policy. Kids are kids, but we got to a point where this is not what we want to be."
Now they are at the point that everyone tries to be, winning their share of games and getting recognized for doing it with class.
"This is a group that is really special to both me and the school. There have been so many positives with this group and this is a great accomplishment. We are really, really excited," said Brothers. "Over last couple years we've had two groups of really good seniors, not necessarily more gentlemanly, but more lacrosse-players."
The numbers speak for themselves.
"We averaged only 3.9 penalties, and had only one unsportsmanlike penalty all year," said Brothers.
And those aren't the only numbers that tell you things are headed in the right direction with the lacrosse program as program participation is at a record high, and with no effect on the baseball program.
"When we brought lacrosse to the school, a lot of people wanted to do it but there were concerns that it could cut into baseball," said Brothers, who established the team at the club level in 2004. "But this year, sports are alive and well at Arlington Catholic, baseball and lacrosse both qualified for the tournament and we both had our highest numbers. It was a good run for us, this year especially."
Coach Brothers credits the leadership of the team's 11 seniors, John Needham, Brian Ouellette, Corey Donovan, Joe Daly, Justin Guanci, Chris Wright, Paul Kehoe, Chris Barrile, John Raimo, John Busa, and Breandan Crane, with being the catalyst for change on the team and expects their influence to have a lasting effect.
The seniors who will be honored on Tuesday with an awards banquet at 6 p.m. at the Arlington American Legion where coach Brothers will also present awards for the team's Most Valuable Player, a Coach's Award, as well a Breakout Player Award.
"Their leadership this year was terrific from the captains right down to the 11th senior," said Brothers. "That being said, next year, we do have some key people in place coming back. I don't know if we can win another 15 but we should make another run at a league title next year."