DUXBURY, Mass. -- Despite enormous turnover on the roster that left coach Chris Sweet with mostly first-year starters, the on-field product seems to indicate that members of the Duxbury lacrosse team must be acing their chemistry tests.
Both offensively and defensively, the Dragons showed tremendous cohesion and seemed to have a knack for anticipating where teammates would be despite having just half a season to get used to playing with one another.
That chemistry was certainly evident on the attack where senior C.J. LoConte and sophomore Mickey Fitzpatrick often set each other up, each finishing with three goals and two assists to lead top-ranked Duxbury to a 13-5 victory over nonleague rival Billerica at Calabrese Stadium Wednesday night.
Brendan Burke and Nick Sisioan each added a pair of goals for the Dragons (7-3), while Jeff Trainor paced the Indians (6-3) with two goals and an assist.
"It's definitely been a process but I think we're definitely starting to perfect it," LoConte said of the bond developing between himself and Fitzpatrick. "We've been working a lot after practice just feeding each other. We've been working pretty hard all year to perfect this."
That they've been working hard together was evident in the first quarter as LoConte scored twice, both with assists from Fitzpatrick, and the senior returned the favor by assisting on Fitzpatrick's tally as the Dragons built a 3-1 lead.
Fitzpatrick would add his second in transition and Burke scored off a turnover to push the Duxbury lead to 5-1 before Kyle Leclair stopped the bleeding for Billerica.
Duxbury junior Trevor O'Brien slowed any hopes of the Indians gaining momentum, athletically dodging his way through three Indians defenders to make it a 6-2 game. Freshman Drew Laundry scored a transition goal for Billerica and the Dragons closed the half on a score from Sisioan.
Despite strong efforts from faceoff man Kevin Farrell and goalie D.J. Smith (seven first-half saves), it was all Duxbury in the second half. LoConte (from Fitzpatrick), Bobby O'Brien and Burke all cashed in during the third, and Fitzpatrick (from LoConte) Hunter Marston and Sisioan buried chances in the fourth.
The Dragons formula was simple: once they got the ball, they didn't do anything to hurt themselves while relying on a terrific ride to force Billerica into making errors that they were able to exploit.
"We were patient with the ball," Sweet explained. "We did a great job of valuing possession and didn't mistakes by throwing the ball away and that's huge. Just be patient and let the other team make the mistakes and then capitalize on them."
Added Indians coach Craig Flynn, "I don't know if it was their ride or if we were just dropping balls. We were just throwing the ball away and giving them the ball right back." We had a tough time winning the faceoffs at first. Kevin was beating them on the initial faceoff but on the loose ball fight, we were losing the ball on that. D.J. [Smith] played great in that first quarter. We just didn't help him enough defensively."