Slatton coming up big
5-foot-7 junior boosts Billerica
Off to his side stands Cam Slatton, a 5-foot-7, 130-pound junior who merits equal attention after a stellar 96-point breakout season as a sophomore. And judging from his production through five games (11 goals, 6 assists), he clearly is not slowing down.
Because Slatton played next to Whiteway, “a lot of people do not realize that Cam was one of the highest scorers in the state last season,’’ Billerica coach Craig Flynn said. “He is not the biggest kid on the field, but he sure makes up for it with his quickness, determination, and toughness. He’s not afraid to stick his face in there and throw his body around the field.’’
Slatton is more than willing to take the hit in order to score a goal. His favorite move is the inside roll, in which he spins through traffic in front of the net to reach a point-blank shooting range. He cashed in four times last Friday in a 16-3 win over visiting Chelmsford.
“I like my size and I like to use it to my advantage,’’ Slatton said. “I’m small, so I like the inside game because I can get in between guys. You are going to take that hit, but as long as you get that goal, it does not matter.’’
Although Slatton tends to be the smallest player on the field, he also tends to have the biggest smile on his face. He said he enjoys the hard work and grit required of lacrosse players, and he always goes hard, whether the setting is a practice or a game.
Toward the end of a recent practice, Slatton was participating in a strengthening drill in which the players used each other as weights. While his Indian teammates clamored over who would be Slatton’s partner — since he is the lightest — he threw himself into the drill. Despite his size, he easily lifted a much bigger Mike Curley, a senior defender.
“I just push them to their maximum too,’’ Slatton said. “I lean on them as heavy as I can and get all my weight into it so that it’s not easy for them.’’
Slatton’s grit and heart have earned the respect of his teammates, who lightheartedly call him “Grasshopper.’’
“He’s a big leader on the team,’’ Whiteway said. “He’s always talking, always telling kids where to be and everything.’’
While Slatton is able to get open at times because of the extra attention on Whiteway, he also has to fight through heavy coverage to score his points. Slatton, Whiteway, and junior Ben Melaugh are well known to opponents, who attempt to slow them down by sliding their defense from one to the other. The trio, in turn, answer with quick movement.
“It’s really all about movement,’’ Slatton said. “One of us dodges and we’re always getting the double because we’re kind of well-known around here, so we move it backside because that is going to be the easy goal. We have to be unselfish. That’s how we win.’’
Slatton is not only attracting the attention of opposing teams, but college recruiters too. He hopes to play at the Division 1 level, and is interested in Dartmouth, Sacred Heart, and Union. But he continues to work hard to prove that a 5-7 attack can compete at the highest level.
“They are concerned about his size, but they should not let it fool them,’’ Flynn said. “Cam more than makes up for it with his grit, heart, and hard work.’’
This season, Slatton’s main focus is helping the Indians capture their first state title since 2001. He loves winning, and he is still motivated by the Indians’ loss to Duxbury last June in the Division 1 state semifinals.
“You think about that day every time you hear the word lacrosse,’’ Slatton said. “I just want to get to Harvard [for the state championship game] and hold that trophy.’’