WESTWOOD, Mass. – There are certain places in sport where anything less than a championship need not apply. Duxbury has achieved such a level of success in the recent decades that any season that isn’t capped with hoisting a trophy results in feeling that something isn’t quite right with the universe.
And, so, the Dragons met last year’s state Division 1 champion and No. 1-ranked Xaverian, Thursday night, looking to reestablish a bit of order to the MIAA lacrosse cosmos.
Nearly from its get-go, the night belonged to Duxbury, as the Dragons never trailed in a 10-5 win.
As Duxbury (6-1) ran out to a 4-1 lead after the first quarter, goaltender Nick Marrocco made the Hawks’ deficit look insurmountable, making five saves in the first period alone in a 10-save performance.
“It starts with Nick Marrocco,” Dragons head coach Chris Sweet said of the Georgetown-bound goalie. “As long as we have Nick in the cage, we’ll have a chance against anybody. You saw it, we have a really physical, tough defense. We’re tough to score on.”
Marrocco made four of his five first-period saves on Xaverian (5-1) man-up situations, as the game took on a physical tone from the opening faceoff. Fifteen minutes of penalties were assessed through the first half.
The Dragons were also opportunistic with their early man-up opportunities, with Trevor O’Brien scoring his first of two goals at 7:37 of the first, giving Duxbury a 2-0 lead. O’Brien also capped the first quarter scoring at 1:51, after a Tyler Powers (2 G) goal.
Despite controlling play in the first quarter, the Dragons were unable to pull away in the second quarter, with both teams struggling to find clean looks at the cage. Although Jack Wheeler (2 G) whittled the Dragons’ lead to one with 9:57 to play in the half before Brendan Burke (2 G, 1 A) sent Duxbury to the half with a 5-2 lead.
“Early on, there were a couple difficult shots,” Marrocco said. “Our D was strong and it’s always good to get a couple shots early in the game.”
After trading goals in the third period, Duxbury all but closed out the victory with a string of three straight goals by Shane Sullivan, Shayne O’Brien and Powers.
Horses run loose: Duxbury put its fleet-footed stable of attackmen and midfielders to good use, scoring four goals in transition, outpacing the Hawks with speed.
In fact, the Dragons nearly had another goal tacked on at the end of the first half, as Wes Quinzani, outraced a trio of Hawks defenders, while swinging around the goal for a shot in close. The goal was disallowed as Quinzani was ruled to be in the crease, but it was another striking example of perhaps greatest asset while possessing the ball.
“If anything, I have to settle them down in between quarters and in timeouts,” Sweet said.
Done before it’s over?: Sweet praised his goaltender for his efforts keeping the Dragons in the lead through the early going, putting his game-changing impact in perspective.
“Immediately in the first quarter, he gets in the shooters’ heads, gets them guessing where he has to put it,” Sweet said. “He gets them out of their game.”