SUDBURY, Mass. – Tyler Powers had just scored the game-winning goal in an epic quadruple overtime game between the Nos. 1 and 2 ranked lacrosse teams in Massachusetts.
So how did he plan to celebrate?
“I’ve got a lot of homework to do,” Powers said. “Other than that, I don’t know.”
After a rain-delayed start, the struggle between No. 1 Duxbury and No. 2 Lincoln-Sudbury spanned about three-hours’ time and nearly the full span of four, complete overtime periods. And yet, after all the expended time and energy, it remained apparent that the difference between Thursday’s competitors was a futile exercise akin to splitting hairs. The highly anticipated matchup between the long-standing MIAA Division 1 powers was worth every minute, and every raindrop, which — at times — fell in torrents.
But it was Powers, a junior attackman, who finally broke the defensive stalemate as a fifth extra session loomed. Just 17 seconds remained in the fourth overtime, when fellow junior Brendan Burke found the cutting Powers for the game-winner. After more than 63 minutes of elapsed play, Duxbury emerged with an 8-7 victory.
“C.J. [LoConte] set a pick for Brendan [Burke], Brendan then found me, hit me in stride,” Powers said. “I got by my defenseman and put it by the goalie like our coaches told us.”
Not much did pass between the goaltenders – Duxbury’s Nick Marrocco and the Warriors’ Dario Morando – who were brilliant. The standout saves were too numerous to tally, with both parties seemingly one-upping the other on each stop.
L-S head coach Brian Vona, a goaltender in his own day, called Marrocco “the player of the game” — a tall compliment paid in a game rife with superb defense.
“Nick’s about as tough as they get mentally, physically,” Duxbury head coach Chris Sweet said. “He’s fearless and it showed tonight. He was spectacular along with our three defenders Marshall [McCarthy], [Jon] Hurvitz and George Ward.”
For the scant offense that was available to either side, both teams received contributions beyond their usual cast of starters. Sweet called Burke’s three-goal effort the junior’s “game of his career.”
Meanwhile for the Warriors, who suffered their first defeat of the season and were playing without top offensive threats Dan Delaney and Henry Guild due to injury, junior Greg Roder helped fill the void with a two-goal game. Chris Giorgio was also a factor, scoring a goal and adding two assists.
Giorgio’s greatest thrill was for not, however. L-S started the third overtime period with a man-up advantage. After cycling the ball around, Giorgio had Marrocco beat with a quick rip to the left-hand post. Giorgio’s shot kicked up the slack on the side of net – for a moment, drawing the Warriors’ faithful into a frenzy. The shot landed wide of the post, however, and Marrocco coolly collected the ball and cleared to end the threat.
IN AND OUT
Both teams have dealt with recent injury woes. And while L-S (11-1) was without a couple of its top offensive options Thursday, Duxbury (12-4) is on the mend.
The Dragons rotation was bolstered by Trevor O’Brien and Jack and Shayne Sullivan returning to the mix. And although Sweet has had to mix and match his attack during the last couple weeks, it’s also been a trial by fire for his group.
“We’ve had our share of injuries, but what it’s done is that it’s built a lot of depth for us,” Sweet said. “That can be a good thing. We saw a lot of kids step up today who you probably haven’t heard much from.”
Now, the task is building chemistry among the replenished ranks.
“Our team has a lot of depth,” Powers said. “We have a bunch of middies. They’ve been working hard. The kids that took their place have been playing great, doing what they can to help the team.”
DEFENSE RULES THE DAY
Aside from the goaltending, the true stars of the duel were the poles. And, at times, they weren’t limited to the defensive half.
Hardly a play went into the L-S half field without Notre Dame-bound long-stick John Sexton throwing his height around. In addition, the rangy junior also chipped in on the Warriors’ man-up situations. Also, in close defense, Matt Barker was a revelation for the Warriors, with his crafty stick-check during a key Duxbury possession in the third overtime as a highlight.
Likewise, the Dragons’ vaunted defense came to play.
Highly-touted, Fairfield-bound pole Jay Walsh was a ground ball hound, including a couple pick-ups on faceoffs during the overtime periods.
Marshall McCarthy was a force, scooping up key ground balls in the defensive half, while also stepping into the breakout with an assist. It was a pivotal performance from a player who (can you believe this?) didn't play in his sophomore season and is in his first year as a defender.
“I think he could play Division 1 lacrosse right now,” Marrocco laughed about McCarthy, who was also ESPN Boston’s MIAA football Defensive Player of the Year.