- Scott Barboza, Reporter, ESPNBoston.com
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DUXBURY, Mass. -- Tight-knit. It’s a codeword for Duxbury lacrosse members.
It’s always slipped into conversation during any of the Dragons’ postgame interviews, a way of showing no team member is above another. Often a teammate will walk past another midsentence and it is uttered again.
After Duxbury advanced to its 11th straight state final with an 18-6 thumping of No. 4 seed Lincoln-Sudbury in Saturday’s semifinal, the Dragons showed strength throughout their ranks. No one player stood above the others as they turned in perhaps their most complete effort of the season – a quintessentially Duxbury performance.
“It started with the faceoffs with Henry [Narlee] and our two wing guys, Reilly [Naton] and James [Burke],” Duxbury head coach Chris Sweet said, going down the roster. “Our attack did a phenomenal job controlling the ball, being patient, but at the same time, being aggressive. And our defense just clamped down, they’re fun to watch. And Bongo [goaltender Henry Buonagurio] came up with some huge saves, highlight saves.”
The Dragons (22-2) traded salvos with L-S (16-6) through the first quarter, but built an 8-3 lead by the half.
While the Warriors hung around in a mostly competitive first half, Duxbury turned the complexion of the match with a seven-goal outburst in the third. Spurred on by a string of eight straight face-off wins by Narlee, the Dragons continued to pour it on.
And the offense was well-distributed with Seamus Connelly, Cam Mullins and Narlee tallying hat tricks. Seven Duxbury players finished with 3-or-more points on the game. Long-stick midfielders, Burke and Naton, continued their ground ball dominance as both collected a team-high six. The defensive trio of Jay McDermott, Matt O’Keefe and Max Randall were impeccable as always, and Buonagurio made several high-difficulty saves.
In all, there wasn’t a lot of fault to go around.
“The guys on the field got it done today, they made very few mistakes,” Sweet said. “From day one, we talk about that we’re going to come out and work hard in order to get better each day. And today was an indication of just that.”
The Dragons look for their ninth state title Wednesday against Needham. Faceoff at Harvard Stadium is scheduled for 7:45 p.m.
For Duxbury’s seniors, Saturday was a bittersweet occasion, as they played their final home game.
“That’s what I was thinking about the whole time,” Mullins said. “This was going to be my last time on this turf. I had to go out with my all.”
Mullins responded with two big first-half goals before notching the hat trick as part of Duxbury’s third-quarter barrage.
“He’s one of the hardest workers on the team, if not the hardest worker,” Sweet said of Mullins. “I’m just happy for Cam that he can cap off his last game on this field with a hat trick.”
Even though he’ll never play again in front of the home crowd, Mullins was looking forward to yet another trip to another patch of hallowed ground.
“We call it our home away from home,” Mullins said of Harvard Stadium. “It’s just nice having that experience behind us. We’ve been playing together since we were in probably second grade, so it’s a nice little group of guys we have going on.”