(Duxbury's Sam Sweet beats Connor Darcey from a difficult angle during Friday's win over Wellesley. Photo by Jim Tarbox)
They have beaten many of the top teams in Massachusetts, and have also beaten two nationally ranked teams from New York. You would think I was describing the best team in Massachusetts high school lacrosse history. But after listening to Coach Chris Sweet’s comments following Friday’s 9-3 win over Wellesley, it appears the best is yet to come.
After the game Sweet was asked by a reporter if the team is where he wants it to be right now.
“Almost,” he responded. “I’m a coach. I’m almost never satisfied. Honestly, we’re getting there, but we still have a lot of work to do to get where we think we should be.”
With four games remaining on their regular-season schedule the Dragons have served notice that their opponents better bring their “A” game the rest of the season if Sweet feels his team has yet to reach its peak.
While the offense isn’t close to being the high-powered scoring machine of years past, the defense has established itself as the cornerstone of the 2012 Dragons.
When No. 4 ranked Wellesley came to town on Friday afternoon with its 12-3 record, it appeared the Dragons were in for another serious challenge, especially after the Raiders held Duxbury to a 1-1 tie at the end of the first 12 minutes with Sam Sweet supplying the host’s only offense.
But in the second period the defense stepped to the forefront, holding the Raiders scoreless while their offensive teammates buried five shots past Wellesley netminder Connor Darcey for a 6-1 halftime lead.
It took less than a minute for the Dragons to take the lead in the second stanza when senior Andrew Buron cut in front of Darcey, burying his shot and giving the Dragons a 2-1 lead. The pace was picking up for Duxbury now that they had the lead, as Sweet got his second of the afternoon when he took a pass from Will Siefert and fired high over Darcey’s shoulder for a two-goal advantage.
After the defense held Wellesley in check once again, goaltender Henry Buonagurio started a transition for the Dragons, who used pinpoint passing as they went up the field and traumatized Darcey as his head turned in several directions trying to find the ball. Siefert would be the beneficiary of the checkerboard passing and the Dragons now led 4-1.
Two minutes later it was time for Duxbury to score again, as senior Seamus Connelly got into the act, pirouetting around a Wellesley defender and falling to the ground while watching his shot evade Darcey between his legs. Connelly must have enjoyed his success, as he waited over four minutes this time before beating Darcey once again for a five-goal advantage at halftime.
The Dragons hardly needed any breaks to keep their lead in check, but they got one right away with a man-up situation at the 11:18 mark and took advantage immediately with Siefert taking a Chris Williams pass after the Dragons broke out of a defensive scrum, finding himself all alone in front of Darcey with plenty of time on his hands.
The Raiders would finally get on the scoreboard at the 8:44 mark after a Duxbury turnover at midfield led to a Wellesley score by senior Reed Westerman to make it 7-2.
The Duxbury defense led by Max Randall, Matt O’Keefe, Reilly Naton, and Jay McDermott would keep Wellesley at bay for the rest of the third quarter, eventually leading to a breakout late in the quarter that resulted in a Cam Mullins goal that broke through Darcey’s legs and dribbled over the goal line to make it 8-2 after three quarters.
With the outcome of the game hardly in question, Darcey decided to take matters into his own hands and show his teammates how to generate some offense. Starting at his own goal line, the senior netminder raced up field avoiding several attempts at dislodging him from the ball and fired a rocket on Buonagurio for the Raiders’ third and most impressive score.
The rest of the quarter became a testament to the domination of the Dragon defense, as they killed a two-minute, man-up, non-releasable penalty that included stealing the ball and running the clock until the penalty expired.
Connelly would score again late in the quarter to make it 9-3, and the Dragon defense would put an exclamation point on its superb effort by keeping the Raiders from getting off a shot in the final minute and a half despite trailing by six goals.
“The defense was incredible today,” said Sweet. “They were communicating well, throwing timely checks, playing defense with their feet, and they really limited Wellesley’s chances and made it easy for Bongo (Buonagurio) today.”
While the strength of the team is defense, Sweet was quick to point out that scoring a lot of goals is not always the priority in trying to win games.
“We’re just trying to take advantage of our good defense and be really patient on offense by taking care of the ball and not making any mistakes,” said Sweet. “If we do that and not give the other team the ball back we’ll be tough to beat. You saw that today. Wellesley is a really good team. We had to play really well today to beat them and it was one of our better games.”
The Dragons will take their 15-2 record on the road Thursday afternoon when they travel to Westwood to take on Xaverian, followed by a home game with Whitman-Hanson on Thursday and a road game with St. John’s Prep in Danvers on Saturday morning