By David Willis
---- — Andrew Eriksen and Tyler Weeks may each be Andover High lacrosse captains. They may also be three-year varsity starters and even close friends.
But make no mistake, Eriksen and Weeks are not alike.
“No way,” said Golden Warriors coach Wayne Puglisi with a laugh. “They are not similar. Tyler is more laid back and patient. He’s more out there expressing his love of lacrosse. Andrew is more intense. He expects a lot out of his teammates. But it’s great they are so different. It’s an ‘opposites attract’ thing, and the team gets to see two sides of the coin. They are great captains and complement each other very well.”
On the field, the two captains’ jobs could not be more different.
Eriksen is the Golden Warriors’ high-scoring attack, having tallied a team-best 28 goals this spring.
Weeks, on the other hand, spends his time serving up checks as Andover’s heavy-hitting top defender.
But while their roles — and personalities — may be very different, the bond between the two leaders has been a key reason why the Golden Warriors stood at 8-3 with six straight wins through Monday.
“Tyler and I have a very special connection,” Eriksen said. “We’ve been playing together since we both started as kids. It’s fun to have him out there commanding the defense and I am over commanding the offense. We trust each other and can give each other constructive criticism. It has been a blast playing with Weeks.”
With his knack for finding the back of the net, Eriksen has emerged as one of the most prominent lacrosse players in the region — a fact his teammates can’t help but point out.
“He’s the superstar,” said Weeks, elbowing his friend. “When he walks in, we kid with him, ‘Oohh, the superstar is here.’ But he’s really a great guy.”
Eriksen’s career certainly started in disappointing fashion. After making the varsity team as a sophomore, his season lasted exactly one practice.
“I separated my shoulder in my first varsity practice,” he said. “I was so excited to play, then everything came to a stop. But I think the time on the sidelines really helped me out learning the game.”
Eriksen certainly showed plenty of punch last season, when he scored 33 goals and earned All-MVC honors.
He has been even hotter this season, scoring 28 goals and adding 12 assists. The 40 points are the 10th most in Eastern Mass.
“Scoring goals comes down to intensity,” said Eriksen, who will play club lacrosse at the University of New Hampshire next year. “Everyone can dodge. Every coach teaches that. Scoring is about deceiving a defender, looking one way then picking up speed and going another way. I have also worked a lot on my shot, shooting on the run and placing the shot. There is nothing like the sound of your teammates going crazy after a goal.”
Weeks may not have scored a goal until last Friday. But his game is much more about intimidation than flash.
“I love physical play,” he said. “I love to lay down the body on some people. I had a couple big hits in the Chelmsford game. I love to play body position. You also have to move your feet. It’s feet first and stick later.”
But being a standout defender isn’t all about big hits for Weeks.
“The biggest thing is making sure everyone is on the same page,” he said. “I am one of the only seniors on defense, so I have to pass along my knowledge about how to handle certain situations and talk a lot to make sure the guys are in the right spots.”
Does he mind that the goal-scorers often get most of the credit while the defenders are left with the dirty work?
“You can be the silent killer,” he said. “You can change a game with just one play or one run up the field. You can even put one home once in a while. I scored two goals last week. I just took two shots and they both went in. I had never scored a goal at home, so that was great.”
Weeks will soon take his talents to Division 1 college lacrosse, playing for UMass Amherst.
“They contacted me the fall of my junior year,” he said. “I visited and just fell in love with the school right away. I can’t wait to compete at the highest level.”
But the two are still focused on delivering a big final season for the Golden Warriors.
“I can seriously see us going far,” Eriksen said. “At the beginning of this year, we were still trying to find our roles. But when we have everything clicking, I can’t see another team that we can’t beat.”