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Q&A with Hollis Brookline lacrosse player Joe O’Reilly

Coach Cameron Hayward took over a Hollis Brookline boys lacrosse program that slumped in 2018, then did what some might consider unthinkable, placing his attack in the hands of a relatively untested sophomore, Joe O’Reilly.

“Our offense runs through him,” said Hayward. “Everything he does, he has great vision. We let Joe control the clock, be patient, find looks. He has skill and creativity. If you look at most of his points, he gets a lot of assists.

“As a sophomore, we put an awful lot on him.”

The results have been nothing short of spectacular. HB, even with Monday’s loss to three-time defending state champion Derryfield, is a brilliant 11-1 with two games left in the regular season.

We took a few minutes with Joe before Sunday afternoon’s big home win over Merrimack High to talk some lax, hoops and, of course, chemistry.

So, Joe, you guys struggled last year, yet you’ve been almost perfect in 2019, what’s been the big

difference?

“We’ve come together. Definitely, it’s the program unity. Our

chemistry is through the roof. We’ve really picked it up after last year.”

How about you? Did you play much last year?

“I was on varsity, but I didn’t get too many minutes. This has been a big step up, going from playing a little bit to playing the majority of the game and being able to help my team win.”

How did you make such amazing strides in just one year?

“You know, in the offseason, I took it seriously and put in a lot of work with my teammates. As a freshman, I was small. I grew. And I got my speed up. My teammates have really helped me too.”

Being a sophomore and seeing so much of the ball, that must have been a shock to some folks. How have the older guys been?

“The seniors on this team have done such a great job leading us. Guys like JJ Fiore, Tim Sulin, Dylan Terenzoni on offense. And Jonathan Kroposki. Man, they’ve been great. They welcomed me, and they have really helped with the transition.”

Where did you get your start in lacrosse anyways?

“My older brothers, Michael and Andrew, both played at Bishop Guertin.”

Wow, two older brothers to follow. Has that been pressure or do they help?

“They’re so helpful to me. Before every game, they call or text to remind me, do this or do that. Make sure you’re playing fast. They’ve been great.”

Do you play any other sports?

“I play basketball in the winter. I love playing basketball with my friends, and I played JV this winter. I hope to have a shot at varsity next year. But lacrosse is still definitely my No. 1 sport.”

How about your free time?

“I like to watch the NBA and the NFL, and I’m a pretty good student. But most of the time, I like to just hang out with my friends.”

OK, well we know who the team to beat in Division II is, it’s Derryfield. But what about you guys? Are you ready for the tournament?

“I’m hyped. I really feel like we can do some damage. We’re ready. I know we’ve got a great record, but it really will come down to us having to play as a team. We can’t play as individuals. We know we are capable of being a team that can make a long playoff run. “