SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

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June 18, 2013

Veloukas, Coelho, Willson to play lax at Mt. Ida

(Continued)

“I did a lot of practice (last) summer (on faceoffs) and that took over during the season,” noted Willson. “I like that 1-on-1 atmosphere, being able to go up against another person and know you’re better than them and just win.”

Even when he was dinged up, like against Beverly midway through the season, Willson still went out and took every draw he could for the Witches, who knew an advantage on draws would help the team on both sides of the ball and in big situations.

But Willson is far more than just a guy who trots out to take draws and then immediately comes off the field for a more offensive midfielder. The Witches didn’t actually have a more offensive midfielder, as Willson scored 34 goals and added 17 assists this past spring.

“Matt was the catalyst for our team. His execution at the faceoff X allowed us to create a lot of transition and great scoring opportunities. We were able to go on a lot of runs this year as a result of Matt winning faceoffs and getting the ball back to our offense,” said Nardella. “Matt put a lot of work in to become not only a faceoff specialist but an offensive midfielder as well and he led all our midfielders in scoring this season.”

Skill sets translate to college lacrosse

Willson may have led the offensive production at midfield but when the Witches really needed goals the team looked to Coelho, who responded by pumping in 71 goals and 23 assists and was named the co-offensive player of the year in the NEC South.

“I feel that when games get to the nitty gritty, you need one person to step up and lead by example. For me, being on varsity for four years, I had that put upon me,” explained Coelho. “My last year there, players looked up to me in those situations, so feel like I had to capitalize.”

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