DUXBURY, Mass. – Jay Walsh’s favorite position to play on any particular day is what Duxbury’s coaching staff asks of him.
“Whatever we need,” the senior captain said Saturday, “I like playing that.”
The Fairfield University commit has alternated between his natural position at close defense and moving up to play midfield as a long-stick in recent games. He’s done both with aplomb.
Even as the Dragons saw their 48-game MIAA winning streak interrupted earlier this week in a loss to new No. 1 Needham, Walsh stepped up to spur the offense, scoring two pretty goals in transition. On Saturday, with another test against another perennial Division 1 powerhouse No. 3 St. John’s Prep, Walsh moved back to his regular spot, closer to home. Walsh, along with his fellow defenders Jon Hurvitz and Marshall McCarthy, and combined with a 13-save performance from goaltender Nick Marrocco, Duxbury bounced back with a convincing 7-1 victory.
“The wing’s fun, getting to play in transition,” Walsh said, “but I feel really at-home in close [defense]. We were trying to get more transition, and that seemed to work, but today, we knew they had a strong attack.”
After Monday’s loss in a rematch of last year’s state championship game, the Dragons (14-5) began a new win streak after a win earlier in the week against Whitman-Hanson.
Against the Eagles (12-5) – the team whom Duxbury had lost to back in 2010 – Duxbury refocused with a return to the things that had enabled the streak.
“They weren’t happy because they got outworked,” said Tony Fisher, who was coordinating the Dragons’ sideline as head coach Chris Sweet was away at his son’s college graduation this weekend. “That’s been our motto for every year, to outwork the other team. [Needham was] a great team with great skills, but we got outworked on the field.”
Offensively, Trevor O’Brien and Max Quinzani led the Dragons’ charges with two goals each.
Andrew Gallahue had the lone marker for Prep. The fact that Gallahue and the Eagles, by extension, were only able to rip the twine once was a credit to the defensive game plan and Walsh’s positional switch.
“Those guys are interchangeable there,” Fisher said of Walsh and long-stick midfielder George Ward.
Ward, who’d played close defense as Walsh moved up-field, returned back to the wing, following some good defensive work recently, including the Dragons’ quadruple-overtime win over Lincoln-Sudbury.
But Saturday’s plan of action was inspired by the matchup up front.
“We wanted Jay [Walsh] on [Andrew Gallahue] because he’s a little bit quicker in the feet and George [Ward] did a great job on [Drew O’Connell],” Fisher said.