In his first year as head coach of the boys lacrosse team at his alma mater, Dan Brannigan did a lot of things right. The Oak Hill alumnus turned a struggling program into a title contender, winning as many games in his rookie season as the Raiders had in the past three years.

Overall, it was a successful season.

“Looking back there were some things we could of done differently and some little things I wish I could change, but that is what we will need to focus on next season,” Brannigan said.

Oak Hill finished the regular season 8-4 after three straight losing seasons that produced an 8-28 record. Although the Raiders lost in the Eastern B quarterfinals, a solid foundation has been laid for the future success of the team.

For his outstanding season, Brannigan has been named the Morning Sentinel/Kennebec Journal Boys Lacrosse Coach of the Year.

“We are losing 13 seniors,” Brannigan said. “But, seeing how much our younger group of players improved during the season, we have a great opportunity in the future.”

Brannigan was a member of the 2008 Raiders team that played for the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championship, a place he would like to revisit as soon as possible.

“We had three big goals at the start of the season,” Brannigan said. “We wanted to have a winning record, play in the KVAC game and play in the playoffs.

“It was all about getting back to where we belonged as a team,” he added. “We didn’t make the KVAC game this year, but making the playoffs was really big for us, it showed we were back.”

Brannigan was aware of the impact the 13 seniors would have on the team, both in the present and after graduation. Throughout the season, he consistently placed younger players in positions of responsibility, giving them the opportunity to grow.

With building a strong program in mind, Oak Hill returns its leading scorer junior Jon Averill, who racked up 41 points, along with freshman Kyle Flaherty (12 goals) and the Raiders impressive freshman goalkeeper Matt Martin, who finished the season making 82 saves.

“Watching the younger players improve and grow was satisfying,” Brannigan said. “Our freshmen and sophomores took off and we return a solid junior class, so a good foundation has been laid for us to continue to be successful while looking for a place in the KVAC game.”


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