For most of the fourth quarter of the Division I boys’ lacrosse championship on Saturday, the Duxbury bench and fans harassed Acton-Boxboro senior midi Christopher Wiggins, yelling at him not to blow the game every time the Colonials’ senior came near the sideline. In the end, however, Wiggins got the last laugh as he brought the Dragons’ sea- son to a crushing end in double-overtime.
Wiggins crossed the front of the cage, using Hunter Marston as a screen, and fired a shot over the shoulder of Nick Marrocco to give the Colonials a 5-4 sudden-death vic- tory over the Dragons and the Division I State Championship at Boston University’s Nickerson Field.
Wiggins' game-ending goal came with one minute and five seconds left in the second overtime and less than a minute after the Dragons’ last offensive opportunity end- ed with a moving screen penalty. Duxbury’s offense was frustrated for most of the second half by a few nice saves by Sean Crimmins, but mostly their own wildness. The Drag- ons missed the cage five times in the fourth quarter alone and 17 times total.
“[The moving pick] didn’t effect the outcome,” head coach Chris Sweet said. “We did a great job on defense and in goal, but we came up short on the offensive end.”
The second half was good to the Duxbury boys’ lacrosse team in their South Sectional win over the Xaverian Brothers Hawks on June 10, but it was a disaster in the champion- ship game against the Acton- Boxboro Colonials on Saturday. The Dragons jumped out to an early two-goal lead, but the Colonials cut the lead in half during the second quarter.
The first half ended with Duxbury senior Nicholas Sisoian sent off for two minutes for a cross-check to the head, which allowed the Colonials to tie the game 16 seconds into the third quarter.
Duxbury captain Brendan Burke put Duxbury back in front less than a minute later, but James Kelly and Wiggins each scored in the frame to send the Dragons from a goal ahead heading into the third to a goal behind as the fourth quarter dawned.
“Our attack played their hearts out all season long, but today we just didn’t click,” Sweet said. “A lot of that you’ve go to attribute to A-B playing great defense... It wasn’t the outcome we were looking for obviously, but our guys played their hearts out to- day and left it all on the field.”
Falling behind seemed to wake the Dragons from their stupor as they put an all-out assault on Crimmins’ cage in the third. The Colonials’ keeper stopped Burke and survived an open-net shot on the rebound by Tyler Powers that missed high. Crimmins couldn’t do anything with senior captain Trevor O’Brien, however, after O’Brien unleashed a laser from 20 yards out to tie the game again with 8:34 to play.
O’Brien’s goal was the last of the game until Wiggins’ game-winner in second over- time. Both goalies put on the show at the end of the fourth quarter and during overtime. Marrocco made three saves in the final minute of regulation and then denied the Colonials again in overtime.
The offense looked good early for the Dragons, who controlled play for most of the first half. Niall Dillon gave Duxbury an early lead by shaking off his defender with a shot fake before beating Crimmins high from the left of the cage with 5:44 to go in the first quarter. Less than three minutes later, senior Shayne O’Brien flicked a low shot past Crimmins as he circled the cage to put the Dragons firmly in control heading into the second quarter.
Joseph Biggins pulled a fast one on Acton-Boxboro when he fooled Marrocco with a waist-high shot in the second while Crimmins held the Dragons off the scoreboard with three saves.
The loss came on the heels of a Dragon 6-2 comeback win that earned them the South Sec- tional Championship against the Hawks. Xaverian’s goals in the first and second quarter gave the Hawks the lead head- ing into halftime, but they were not able to hold down O’Brien, who scored three of Duxbury’s four goals in the quarter.
The offense also got a boost with the return of midi Wes Quinzani, who left early in the second quarter after taking an inadvertent knee to the head while trying to block the path of a Hawks midi. Quinzani set up Burke for the game- tying goal in the third and then put the exclamation point of Duxbury’s win with a fourth- quarter goal of his own.
“There is nobody tougher than Wes Quinzani playing high school lacrosse right now,” Sweet said. “There wasn’t anything that is going to keep him off the field.”
While the offense found their groove in the second half, Marrocco and the defense stole the show by holding the Hawks scoreless for more than half an hour. While Sweet said the Dragons’ defense has been their calling card all season, their ability to handcuff Xaverian’s potent attack surprised even him.
“[Our defense] has been comfortable doing it all sea- son, but today they took it up a notch,” he said. “To hold a team like Xaverian, who is that explosive, to just two goals ... I wouldn’t have thought that.”
Whenever the Hawks did seem to find chinks in Duxbury’s defensive armor, Marrocco was there to fill the void. The Georgetown-bound All- American put on a goalie clinic in the second half including a diving save from behind the net to block Lukas Buckley’s shot on a seemingly wide- open cage.
“You wouldn’t want to draw it up like that, but a save like that is a big momentum boost,” Sweet said. “Our guys seized on that and it gave us energy for the rest of the game.”
The dramatic win over the Hawks at Harvard and loss to the Colonials at BU ended a season in which the Dragons returned to the state championship game after a first-round exit last year. While Sweet said there is plenty of talent in the pipeline, he added that the 2014 incarnation of the Drag- ons was a special one that he is not ready to let go of just yet.
“Right now I’m not think- ing too much about the future,” he said. “These guys were fantastic to coach and I enjoyed every second I was out on the field with them in practice and in games. For me, I’m just going to miss this team, the unity of this team and the cast of characters that came along with it.”
Characters like Marrocco, Quinzani, Burke and the O’Brien twins are now moving on, along with fellow seniors Sisoian, Powers, Brad Marcotte Victor Moitinho, Drew Hadley, Max Goldner, Mat- thew D’Amore, Drew Dowling, Charlie Murphy and Scott and Matt Whear. Sweet acknowledged that the loss was a brutal end to a special senior season for the Class of 2014, but said both the seniors and next year’s returning cast will grow from the experience.
“All the seniors are stinging right now, but that’s life,” he said. “That’s a tough loss and it’s going to hurt for a while, but they’re tough kids and they’ll recover and move on. That’s what sports are all about — you learn more from your losses than your wins.”