Recap: Niskayuna (N.Y.) 9, No. 1 Duxbury 6

DUXBURY, Mass. – Year after year, Duxbury lacrosse head coach Chris Sweet extols the virtue of playing not only the state’s but the nation’s best. With the ultimate goal of postseason success in mind, Sweet assembles his schedule in accordance, taking on all comers.

Saturday’s showdown against Niskayuna of New York was one of those such featured dates. And while the Dragons withdrew from the game defeated on the scoreboard, 9-6, their coach remained certain in his belief his team will be better in the long run.

“To us, it’s still midseason, and three weeks from now, we’re going to be a lot better,” Sweet said.

The Silver Warriors (8-1) were the dominant force in the first half, winning the face-off, ground ball and battle of the scoreboard, taking a 6-3 advantage into the half.

But Duxbury (7-2) mounted its comeback in the third quarter, drawing off the momentum of holding Niskayuna off the board during a two-man advantage with less than three minutes to play in the quarter. The Dragons drew within a goal before the third was out, as sophomore midfielder Harrison Piper, filling in for Wes Quinzani, ripped home a shot with 49 seconds to play.

“We came out of the half with a little different attitude, saying let’s make one play at a time, let’s win the next ground ball and see what happens from there,” Sweet said.

Duxbury maintained its momentum through the fourth quarter, tying the game, 6-6, with 10:06 remaining on a goal by Tyler Powers.

The Dragons were unable to close the game, however, as penalty trouble again haunted them. After a two-minute, locked-in unnecessary roughness call was made at 9:10, Niskayuna cashed in with an EMO strike from Mike D’Amario. It was the first of three Silver Warriors goals rounding out the game.

Despite the lack of finish, Sweet took positives from Saturday’s showing. Goaltender Nick Marrocco again kept Duxbury in it early, making five saves in the first quarter alone when Niskayuna threatened to run away.

“I love this team,” Sweet said. “They have huge hearts, they play till the end. They’re competitive, they want to win. Everything they did out there today is going to translate into a deep run, I think, in June.”

He continued, “We certainly had plenty of chances. I thought their goalie came up huge a bunch of times. But I think we’ve developed a good balance on offense, which is going to help us going forward. We’re getting good production from the midfield and the attack is playing really well.”