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Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Scrimmage slants: Duxbury vs. Mercer Island (Wash.)

By Scott Barboza

DUXBURY, Mass. – It didn’t count for the purpose of the MIAA standings, but Duxbury lacrosse’s Tuesday tilt with Mercer Island (Washington) felt like more than just a dress rehearsal.

A new-look Dragons squad turned in a solid all-around performance, using a balanced attack of seven different scorers in an 8-4 win. The game did not count toward the MIAA standings because Mercer Island plays as an independent, as Washington’s state athletic body does not sanction lacrosse.

Here are some parting thoughts and observations from the defending Division 1 state champions’ victory:

SOLID ON THE BACK END
The Dragons have had an embarrassment of riches in their defensive core during the last several seasons. A bumper crop of Division 1 recruits that graduated with the Class of 2012 gives way to a new cast of faces who – while perhaps short on game experience – are talented in their own right.

There should be little drop-off for the Dragons among their poles this season, led by senior captain Jay Walsh, who had a strong game against the Washington state power. Walsh made the start Tuesday at defense flanked by a pair of Duxbury football standouts in Jon Hurvitz and Marshall McCarthy.

Overall, the group’s contributions prompted Dragons head coach Chris Sweet to proclaim his defense was “fantastic” on the day.

“I think the talent’s there, the thing we’re maybe lacking is game experience,” Sweet added. “But it sure looked like this group was paying attention as they were standing on the sideline last year.”

Duxbury is also breaking in a new goaltender this season with Henry Buonagurio matriculating to Drexel. Georgetown commit Nick Marrocco (10 save) played strong in the cage, particularly in the final quarter, making five saves.

“I think he’s solidified the job for now,” Sweet said of Marrocco, “but certainly [goaltender] Jack Corbett waiting right there in the wings.”

SPREADING THE BALL AROUND
After a slow start in the first quarter, Duxbury brought its possession game to the third quarter, when the Dragons almost exclusively set up shop in the Mercer Island half of the field.

“Once we kind of settled down, we started handling the ball nicely and moving well without the ball,” Sweet said.

Duxbury’s ability to the work the ball around was evident on the score sheet, as seven players scored. Only Shayne O’Brien tallied a multi-goal game with two. Junior attack Brendan Burke – brother of former Dragons standout James Burke – led the Dragons with a 3-point game (1 G, 2 A).

Still, Sweet maintained that there’s an adjustment period at this early stage of the season

“We’re still feeling things out. We’re trying to figure out who’s ready for primetime, but certainly we’re happy with the way we started out. That’s a good first game of the season against a really good team.”