Justin Norris of Kearsarge: Lacrosse Player of the Season

  • Kearsarge’s Justin Norris played a major role in getting the Cougars to the state title game when he scored the game-winning goal in overtime of the D-III semifinals. ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 6/16/2017 10:20:03 AM

Justin Norris knew he would have a different role his senior season on the Kearsarge boys’ lacrosse team.

After leading the Cougars in scoring as a freshman, Norris attracted more and more attention from opponents each year right up through his senior season. That’s why coming into this spring, Coach Zach Matthews made it clear to Norris that he would be setting up more goals than scoring them.

In the end, the double and triple coverage only forced Norris to learn a new set of skills.

“As a sophomore and junior I wasn’t keyed on as much so I was able to do more of the goal scoring,” Norris said. “This year, I had to take on a new role and Coach Matthews tried to drill this into my mind at practice – that I was going to be more of a feeder this year.”

Norris helped lead the Cougars through the regular season with just two losses. They went on to beat Trinity in the Division III quarterfinals, 15-2, where Norris chipped in with five goals and three assists. Kearsarge then dispatched Monadnock in the semifinals with an 8-7 overtime win. Norris delivered the game-winning goal.

In that situation, Matthews knew Norris would give the team its best chance to move on and reach its first title game since 2009. Norris had sharpened his ability to distribute the ball and see plays, but his scoring touch never diminished.

“I’m lucky enough to have a kid like Justin Norris, give him the ball, set a little screen for him and let the rest kind of happen,” Matthews said. “I thought he did an excellent job finishing that off.”

Norris used speed, a quick cut on the turf and a precise shot to send Kearsarge to the championship, where the Cougars faced the one team they couldn’t beat during the regular season. Hopkinton won both meetings with Kearsarge during the regular season and added a third for the state title.

Still, Norris and his teammates did something no other Kearsarge team for the last seven years could do in reaching the championship.

“We’ve been talking about trying to make it to a championship game since sixth grade,” Norris said. “It’s honestly, for me, just way more meaningful to be playing on a team with my best friends.”

Norris, also a star on the football field, will play lacrosse at Assumption College in Worcester, Mass., next year.

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