Davis’ Patience a Major Asset for Franklin Lacrosse Team

KEN HAMWEY, Staff Sports Writer
Issue Date: 
May, 2019
Article Body: 

If patience could be exchanged for money, then Will Davis would be a millionaire.
The Franklin High senior, who’s now the goaltender for the Panthers lacrosse team, had to wait two years to become a starter. During his sophomore and junior seasons on the varsity, Davis played behind all-star goalie Connor O’Rourke, starting only two games, both of which were dynamic victories.
A club lacrosse star with the Central Mass. Kings for the last seven years, Davis gained valuable experience in tournaments that led to a partial scholarship to play next year at St. Anselm’s College in Manchester, N.H.
The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Davis, however, was superb as a Panther reserve, never complaining about playing time and never causing any turmoil.
“Connor and I were friends, and he taught me a lot,’’ said Davis, who’s a captain this season. “In practice, I pushed him to be better, and he motivated me. I watched him for two seasons, and I learned from his demeanor. I knew I had to be patient, and that humbled me.’’
Coach Lou Verrochi admires Davis, calling him “a terrific team player’’ as he waited patiently for his opportunity.
“Will was excellent in his two starts when Connor got hurt,’’ Verrochi said. “He’s fearless in goal. He’s got great skills, anticipates effectively, and is a great communicator. He’s the voice of our defense. A great ball-stopper, his technique is excellent and he’s got speed and quickness.’’
The two matches Davis started last year offered a glimpse into what he could deliver as a starting senior. He had 20 saves in a 9-8 victory over Newton North and against Attleboro he turned in an 18-0 shutout. “The Newton North game was my best,’’ said Davis. “The outcome gave me confidence and made me feel like I belong.’’
Davis is an aggressive net-minder whose instincts are top-notch. “If a pass occurs in front of the net, I’ll go for the ball to disrupt the offensive flow,’’ he emphasized. “I don’t feel any pressure in goal. I’ve got the chance to play, and that’s all I want to do. Where I can improve is bouncing back after I surrender a goal. I’ve got to develop a short memory.’’
As one of Franklin’s four captains, Davis has some definite objectives this season and they’re aimed at going deep into the tourney. During his two previous varsity seasons, the Panthers bowed in the second round to Xaverian.
“My goals are to qualify for the playoffs and go farther than the second round,’’ he said. “I also would like to see us win the Kelly-Rex Division title. Those goals are realistic, because we’ve got a talented group, we’re close-knit, our ball movement is good and our defense is cohesive. We just need to focus on one game at a time and that could lead to a deep run. For me, my personal goals are to become a Hockomock all-star, aim for a high save percentage and post a couple of shutouts.’’
So far, he’s on track with most of his objectives. At Local Town Pages deadline, Franklin was 3-0 and Davis already has a shutout (20-0 over Attlelboro). The other victories were over Milford, 20-1, and North Attleboro, 20-6.
Chosen as a captain with only three starts under his belt, Davis will lead by example, be vocal and supportive. He’s bullish on Franklin’s other three senior captains — defenseman Patrick Morrison and midfielders Nitin Chaudhury and Will Harvey. “They’re highly-skilled, they’re solid players and they’re quality leaders,’’ Davis noted.
Also a fan of Verrochi, Davis likes the way his coach is up front and admires his knowledge of lacrosse. “Coach Verrochi knows the sport, and he’s respected because Franklin has done so well over the years,’’ Davis said. “He’s a good motivator, too. He often talked about my future, and he kept my confidence up when I was the back-up goalie.’’
An honor-roll student who’s been vice president of his class all four years, Davis knows that playing at Division 2 St. Anselm’s will be a challenge. “The college game is faster and the players can all shoot hard,’’ he said.
The 18-year-old Davis is from a lacrosse family, and his two younger brothers are definitely in Franklin High’s future. His brother Jake is a junior and plays attack on the varsity. Luke, an eighth-grader, is an up-and-coming player. All three no doubt get their lacrosse know-how from their father (Peter), who played at Merrimack College and is a volunteer coach with the varsity and a youth league coach in Franklin.
When Davis was playing at the youth level and also in middle school, he suffered a fractured thumb and several fractures of his fingers. “The worst injury I had was breaking my humerus (upper arm) when I was in the seventh grade.
Now fully healthy, Davis, who started the last two years as a wide receiver in football, relies on a competitive philosophy that focuses on winning and reaching his potential.
“The two life lessons I’ve learned from athletics are overcoming adversity and being mentally tough,’’ he emphasized.