After two consecutive losing seasons, the Haverhill High lacrosse team has gotten off to its best start since 2009.
The Hillies were 7-2 as of last Thursday, surpassing their win totals for 2011 (5) and 2010 (4).
A big reason for the success in the early going is the play of Nathaniel Vazquez. The senior attacker had 25 goals as the team reached the halfway point of the season. Vazquez is on his way to eclipsing the 38 goals he put up last season when he was named the Merrimack Valley Conference Division 2 MVP.
The main motive for the Hillies this year will be looking for wins in the post season. The Hillies qualified last year and lost a closer-than-expected tussle to Acton-Boxboro. The Hillies haven't won a MIAA tournament game since 2005.
The Gazette sat down with Vazquez to talk about life on and off the field.
What is different this year compared to last year?
I feel like our captains, Erik (Mangrum,) Josh (White) and myself have done a great job in the off season getting these guys together. We ran them during the week and I feel we bring a positive attitude every practice.
What has new coach Andrew Kirkalby added to the team this season?
A lot of new systems. He's really simplified them for us. We don't have great athleticism and we don't have that good of stick skills, so he's done a good job of dumbing everything down a bit.
What do you want to accomplish as a team this year?
First and foremost, we are definitely trying to be Merrimack Valley Conference champions. We haven't done that since my freshman year and that is definitely a huge goal of ours. We're trying to go to states and get past the preliminaries since we have never done that before.