There are losing streaks and then there are losing streaks. The latter are the type that can snuff out a fledgling program entirely.
Just ask the Wakefield boys’ lacrosse team, which carried the burden of 99 consecutive defeats into Tuesday’s matchup with Park View.
But after watching the girls varsity team beat the Patriots to notch its first win in seven seasons, the Warriors followed suit. Junior Da’John Johnson scored four goals and Alejandro Galea, Michael Keck and Matthew Mason added two apiece as Wakefield rolled to a 12-1 victory, breaking a winless streak that spanned nine years.
“It was liberating,” first-year Coach Brian Gilman said.
It was also the next step in Gilman’s aim to build a team capable of competing in the AAA National District and Northern Region.
Over the last three years, growth has been marked by numbers — not on the scoreboard. In 2009, in Gilman’s first season on the staff, the Warriors (1-8) ended its season with only 13 players. This spring they have 19 on the team and for the first time are fielding a junior varsity squad. More than 20 of those players are playing lacrosse for the first time this season in a diverse Arlington neighborhood where the sport is still new to most.
“Without winning, it was hard to attract new players to the game,” Gilman said. “It’s something that happens with a lot of sports at Wakefield — the kids just don’t want to follow through with it.
“But we’ve had the building blocks, and now these guys can see that we’re not as down and out as we once thought.”
Before Tuesday, Wakefield’s closest contest was a 15-8 loss to Stuart. And while claiming a second victory at home against perennial district champion Yorktown will be a tall task, the Warriors finally have tangible evidence that their hard work is paying off.
“The whole point of getting that first win was to establish that winning mindset,” Gilman said. “You could see their confidence building throughout the game. They had that mentality that we can actually do this.”
Sophomore Madeline Brophy scored 10 goals to lead the Wakefield girls past the Patriots 14-13 in overtime.