Gerry Donahue of Hopkinton: Boys’ Lacrosse Player of the Year

  • Hopkinton’s Gerry Donahue led the Hawks’ stifling defense, which allowed the fewest goals per game in the state en route to an undefeated season. Elizabeth Frantz / Monitor file

  • Gerry Donahue (right) defends during the Hawks’ victory over Laconia in the Division III championship game. Joe Marchilena /

Monitor staff
Published: 6/27/2018 10:15:11 PM

A quick look at the results from the regular season and you might think the Hopkinton boys’ lacrosse team ran away to its second straight 17-0 season and Division III title because of its red-hot offense.

Yes, the Hawks averaged about 13 goals per game in the regular season, but their work in the defensive was equally important and the numbers are perhaps more impressive. Hopkinton allowed opponents about four goals per game, the lowest goals against average across all three divisions.

The team’s effectiveness in the defensive end can be attributed to several players, including All-State First Team goalie Alex Rousseau.

In all, Hopkinton saw five of its players earn first team honors, including senior captain Gerry Donahue, who was named the Division III Defensive Player of the Year.

Whether it’s what he does on the field (10.5 ground balls, 11.5 caused turnovers per game) or his position as a leader on the team (he’s a twice-elected captain), Donahue played a critical role in helping Hopkinton go 34-0 in the last two years.

“He set an example and helped set the tone in terms of our aggressive defense and pushing out on teams and keeping the pressure up and forcing turnovers,” coach Deacon Blue said. “I think he really helped spark the way we play defense and were able to stop teams, no matter who.”

His hardest assignment came in the Division III semifinals against Plymouth. Offensive Player of the Year Nolan Farina spearheaded the Bobcats’ attack, and Donahue was directed to snuff out the sharpshooter.

Donahue passed the test, holding Farina scoreless. Hopkinton won the game, 11-2. It was the only time Plymouth was held to fewer than four goals this year.

“I gave him that challenge to really focus on Nolan and contain him to the outside, don’t go for as many stick checks,” Blue said. “I think he proved just how solid he is with one-on-one D and just containing players and playing fundamental defense.”

Hopkinton lost two starting defensemen and their goalie to graduation last year. Donahue’s presence anchoring the defense helped new players fill those roles and form a complete unit. One example is junior Kiernan Byrne, who went on to be a All-State second team pick.

“Gerry really stepped up and found ways to get the younger guys coming up right into the mix, whether it was in the regular season or during winter lacrosse,” Blue said. “I think guys really responded to it.”

Donahue is heading to the University of New Hampshire in the fall. Hopkinton will seek a third straight title next spring, and it will have a big spot to fill in Donahue’s absence. But Blue said Donahue’s work in these last few years will continue to influence the team.

“I think he leaves a great legacy. He’s one of the best players we’ve had come through,” Blue said. “We’re only losing one guy but we’re losing Gerry Donahue, so definitely a big hole there. But we’ve got four juniors coming back as seniors and some younger guys ready to step up.”

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