Share the wealth: Top scorer's generosity paying dividends for Scituate boys lacrosse

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SCITUATE — Around the Scituate High boys lacrosse team, “Willy Ball” is the slang equivalent of “hero ball” in basketball, where the star player tries to do too much by himself instead of sharing the load.

The Sailors don’t fall into that trap anymore because the star player in question (junior midfielder Willy Robinson) has learned to trust his talented teammates. Through the first two rounds of the Division 3 playoffs, the result has been a virtually unstoppable offense.

Robinson got his points in Wednesday’s 20-6 win over Hanover in the Round of 16, finishing with 4 goals and 2 assists. But he deferred to others in the first quarter as the visiting Hawks keyed on him. Scituate moved the ball well and grabbed a 6-0 lead after the first 12 minutes with Charlie Hartwell recording an early hat trick.

In the end, it was perfectly balanced attack for the Sailors as Owen Hofford (5 goals, assist), Hartwell (4 goals, assist), William Cahill (2 goals, 3 assists), Cam Cerussi (2 goals), Owen Quinn (goal, 4 assists), Quinn DeCourcey (goal, 3 assists) and Thyger Smith (goal) all peppered the Hanover net.

Scituate had pummeled Auburn, 25-4, in the opening round and could have matched that goal total in this one if the Sailors hadn’t taken their foot off the gas in a goal-less fourth quarter that was played with a running clock.

No. 2 Scituate (17-5) will hope to keep the party going in Friday’s Elite 8 matchup at home against No. 7 Nashoba Regional (14-6) at 6 p.m.

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“We’re playing very well, playing very smart, playing very disciplined,” said Scituate coach Mark Puzzangara. “What I like most about it is that Robinson is getting shut off, as he probably should, (but) we’re finding other guys to contribute and they’re contributing with a lot of goals. And we’re still finding ways to get Willy the ball and when he does (get it), usually something pretty good happens.”

Robinson, who had 8 goals in the Sailors’ playoff opener, is poised to rewrite the program’s record books. The Army commit is up to 80 goals and 32 assists for 112 points this season, pushing his career scoring line to 205-84—289​. He’s No. 3 all-time in goals (five behind No. 2 Greg Reynolds) and No. 4 all-time in points (12 behind No. 3 Kyle Crowley). Next spring he’ll be within striking range of Tucker Ciessau, Scituate’s all-time leader in goals (282) and points (400).

Scituate’s Willy Robinson celebrate his goal that cut Minnechaug’s lead to 11-9 of their game against Minnechaug in the Division 2 Sweet 16 game at Scituate High School on Thursday, June 8, 2023.

Asked about his milestones, Robinson said, “It’s definitely amazing personally, thinking back as a little kid (wondering) what you’re going to do in high school. But it’s more important to me to look forward to what our team is going to do.”

Puzzangara said “there are really no words to describe” what Robinson means to the team. When Robinson first emerged as legit threat (say, last spring when he netted 77 goals as a sophomore), Puzzangara said he often had to remind him to not try to do too much. Now the coach raves about his on-ball picks and how they free up teammates for prime scoring chances.

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“A couple of goals that Charlie Hartwell scored, Willy set that up with a pick and when Charlie comes down, there’s nobody to slide to him,” Puzzangara said. “(Robinson is) playing the game with a higher level of (lacrosse) IQ right now than he did in the beginning (of his career).”

Robinson, who missed only one game after suffering a partial labrum tear in his shoulder in April, laughed when Puzzangara’s “Willy Ball” comment was relayed to him. Asked if he thinks he’s gotten better at sharing the load, he said, “Oh, for sure. It’s definitely the way our coaches coach. At practice we work on me getting shut off and me having to make the right decisions. The coaches have really helped me out this season with (emphasizing) team play.”

Scituate’s Willie Robinson leaps up to score to cut Minnechaug’s lead to 9-6 during third quarter action of their game against Minnechaug in the Division 2 Sweet 16 game at Scituate High School on Thursday, June 8, 2023. Scituate would lose to Minnechaug 12-10.

Hofford certainly appreciated all the attention Robinson drew against No. 15 Hanover (6-13).

“When they put their number 1 guy on him, it just opens up everybody else,” the junior attack said. “I was able to get into the right place at the right time and my guys found me. The more goals we get, the more momentum we get and we just keep going.”

Having cleared the Round-of-16 hurdle that had tripped them up in both 2023 (vs. Minnechaug) and 2022 (vs. Westwood) when they were in Div. 2, these Sailors are looking more like the 2021 and 2018 Scituate teams that both made the state semifinals.

“We’re pumping right now, pumping goals in,” Robinson said. “We gotta keep looking forward. We’re going to face some harder defenses coming up. We’re ready.”

This article originally appeared on The Patriot Ledger: Scituate High boys lacrosse advances to MIAA Division 3 Elite 8