DWC lacrosse making strides

Bill Cosentino gathered his Daniel Webster College men’s lacrosse players together at the start of the season and asked how many worked on their game in the off-season.

“Only a couple of guys raised their hands,” he said. “So I told them, if they want to get better, they have to change the way they do things.”

And that’s what this season is all about for the Eagles, even though it might show up on the scoreboard right away.

“I told the kids that if we’re not going to win many games, we’re at least going to make the games more competitive,” he said. “And here we are having won as many games as we did last year already.”

The Eagles are in a full rebuilding mode with their program, as Cosentino, who at one time was the head coach at Merrimack High School, was brought in to help create a culture change.

So far, so good.

“This program has to be turned around and a little bit of it is setting expectations and changing the culture,” he said.

Cosentino has done it before. He coached Merrimack to its first winning season in 2001 (10-6) and also guided Concord High School to two state semifinal appearances. The last couple of years he was the defensive coordinator at Keene State.

“For me, it’s been a good fit,” he said of the Eagles job. “My goal was to be a head coach in college and Daniel Webster is a mile and a half from my house. But I wasn’t looking for convenience; I was just looking to coach the sport I love.”

One of the main cogs in the Eagles attack, for the second straight year, is Merrimack’s David Downie. Cosentino had Downie observe some practices – and not partake, to avoid fatigue – while he was playing ice hockey, as the seasons overlap. It worked, as Downie has 12 goals and three assists, and is the second leading scorer behind Anthony Cotoni (15 goals).

“You know what’s funny, I’ve been saying it since he was in high school, nothing about Downie is pretty,” Cosentino said. “He understands the game and very rarely does he try to do more than he can.”

And that’s why Cosentino named Downie a captain just last week.

Meanwhile, Cosentino feels Cotoni, a junior out of Groton, Mass. is “a very heady player; his big size (6-foot-5) helps him. He can plow through some defenders.”

Consentino is building his defense around Keene junior Brandyn Torrey, who at last look was second to Cotoni in ground ball pickups with 20.

“I’m teaching him how to be more disciplined and help give us a more fundamental defense,” Cosentino said.

Cosentino also measures a team by heart, and he saw plenty of it in a comeback win over Johnson State, 10-9 in overtime. Downie fed Storm Adams to force OT with just two-tenths of a second left in regulation and Adams fed Tommy Hanley for the game-winner with 28.1 seconds left in sudden-death overtime. The game, an Eagle home game, was played up at New England College.

“It gave me a real good feeling,” he said. “I was really pleased with how they came through.”

With just 10 games on the schedule this year, it’s unlikely any of the home games slated to be on campus will be played there thanks to the snow cover.

Instead, the Eagles will play a home game on Saturday at 8 p.m. vs. Anna Maria at the turf field at Presentation of Mary in Hudson.

The Eagles also added a game with local rival Rivier University, at Raider Field at 6 p.m.