A common-opponent theory had the T.C. Williams boys lacrosse team feeling confident on April 6. Facing a West Springfield team that had lost to Lake Braddock, the Titans, who had beaten Lake Braddock earlier in the season, saw an opportunity for victory.
West Springfield proved the theory misleading, thumping TC 17-5.
"Our guys were real excited," TC head coach Michael Mulherin said, "and to come out and play like we did, which was not up to our potential, was real disappointing."
Two days later, the Titans hosted Lee with the loss to West Springfield fresh on their minds. It didn’t take long for TC to show it was playing with purpose.
Senior midfielder Ben Goodwin won the opening faceoff, passed to Robin Bomberger and the senior attackman scored within the game’s first 10 seconds, setting the tone for a 13-0 TC victory on April 8 on a cold, rainy night at Howard Field. The Titans scored all 13 goals in the first half, allowing reserves to see playing time in the second half.
"I thought we played very well today," Bomberger said. "We had a very bad loss on Wednesday to West Springfield, so it was a great way to bounce back. … [The loss] definitely left a very bad taste in our mouth for tonight. We didn’t play at all as well as we should, but it will definitely carry momentum this season if we play [West Springfield] in the postseason."
The victory improved TC’s record to 4-4, equaling the Titans’ win total from all of last season. The Titans had five regular season games and at least one postseason game remaining.
Senior attack Ben Bilodeau scored a season-high four goals for TC, including three of the Titans’ first five.
"Ben Bilodeau [is] one of our team captains and he’s been a leader long before he was a team captain," Mulherin said. "… [He’s] probably our strongest player on the team and from the word go, put the team on his shoulders and did exactly what needed to get done."
Facing the talent-inferior Lancers, Bildodeau said it was important not to get greedy.
"You’ve just got to keep in mind that you’ve got to try to run the plays and do what you can do to develop as a team," he said. Making it a "one-man game isn’t going to help anything, but if you’re doing teamwork out there, it helps."
Bomberger, Goodwin, senior midfielder James Carragher and junior defenseman Jamal Williams are the team’s other captains.
Bomberger scored three goals against Lee.
He put "himself in the right places," Mulherin said, "and [finished] with strong shots."
Goodwin was a catalyst for the Titans’ fast start.
"Ben Goodwin is probably our strongest all-around player," Mulherin said. "We use him at midfield for faceoffs and then we rotate him down to attack at times to give him a rest but still keep his stick on the field."
Was the first goal the product of a scripted play?
"That’s Ben and his skills alone — no set plan," Mulherin said. "He’s really dominant on faceoffs."
Senior attackman Jay Whitmire scored a pair of goals for TC and Carragher, senior midfielder Tim Dwyer, junior defenseman Wes Taylor and junior attackman Kodie Richards each scored one.
Mulherin, last season’s Northern Region and Patriot District Coach of the Year, said the Titans have improved during his second season with TC. The Titans will travel to face South County at 7:15 p.m. on April 14 and Bishop Ireton at noon on April 16.
"This year, I think we have a lot more potential," Mulherin said. "I know what we have and our players have been together [for awhile]. It’s a large senior class. All of our starters except for one defenseman return this year and I think we have higher expectation of ourselves and there’s more focus and effort on the team."