Boston High School: Dario Morando

Duxbury, L-S matchup a timeless treat

May, 10, 2013
SUDBURY, Mass. – When it was finally over, the members of the Duxbury lacrosse coaching staff stood in silence, some of them doubled over, hands on knees, looking out at the sticks, gloves, helmets that were being tossed around in celebration. Having endured nearly eight quarters of play, the No. 1 Dragons finally cast off No. 2 Lincoln-Sudbury, 8-7, with 17 seconds to play in overtime No. 4.

Clearly dazed by the nerve-racking experience, a few moments after it ended, Duxbury head coach Chris Sweet took stock of what just unfolded.

It all seemed like a dream – more of the surrealist kind.

“Did we really play four overtimes?” Sweet asked, although not rhetorically. “You really kind of lose track of time in the middle of it.”

Speaking of time, the game was originally slated to start at 5:30 p.m., but its start was delayed to nearly 6 p.m., the result of the string of super-charged thunderstorms that rolled through the Metro-West communities. The turf was saturated. The air hung heavy with humidity, with the occasional whiff of charbroiled hamburgers from the snack shack. Still, the later start time allowed more of the late-arriving revelers to arrive in time for faceoff, with many caught in the snarling traffic that encircled Boston for the Thursday evening commute.

The tone was set from the opening faceoff. After Duxbury won the draw, Sweet decided to take a timeout 15 seconds in – an indication of how important each possession would be between two equally talented sides. No one was in a hurry. This was one for savoring.

The crowd was as big as you’d ever see for a regular-season varsity lacrosse game in the Commonwealth. Fans spilled out of the near-capacity bleachers and around the fencing. By halftime, L-S held a 4-3 lead. The last four minutes or so of the second quarter were played in a torrential downpour. Nobody left.

When the second half passed without resolution, they still remained. Duxbury’s junior varsity team stood in one corner of the far-side bleachers – all players still dressed in uniform, soaking wet. One player held a green flag with a white calligraphy-styled “D” on it. At one point during the fourth quarter, a couple Duxbury students procured the flag and took it on a tour around the track, passing in front of the L-S fan section, drawing jeers.

As the succession of overtimes wore on, there seemed no end. Man-up advantages came and went with the same result. Warriors goaltender Dario Morando and Duxbury counterpart Nick Marrocco had an answer for everything hurled their way.

By the middle of the third extra session, the pair of students administering the official score book for L-S had resigned themselves to inevitability.

“There’s no space for all these overtime periods in the book,” one said.

He paused for a minute and pondered when the game might ever end, adding, “Of course, I have two tests tomorrow to study for tonight. I don’t think that’s going to happen now.”

Soon thereafter, about midway through the third overtime, there was a momentary calm that fell over the huddled masses for a moment. After all the near misses, the fever pitch faded to a sigh.

“Why’d everybody get so quiet?” one L-S student during a pin-drop moment, drawing laughs from his peers.

On the field, exhaustion took its toll as well. Play slowed to begin the fourth overtime, and a few errant passes ended possessions for either side.

Tyler Powers scored the game-winner when the game appeared to be heading to a fifth extra frame. Seventeen seconds locked in on the scoreboard as his teammates ran to greet him.

“It’s one-hundred percent mental,” Powers said of combating weary legs, “not doing stupid things, not throwing passes away, not taking bad shots. And then, just taking the ball to the hoop.”

Although suffering a tough defeat, L-S head coach Brian Vona, himself a former goalkeeper, reveled in the clinic he’d just witnessed between the pipes.

“Wasn’t that awesome?” he beamed. He then broke off to gain the attention of the nearby athletic trainer to attend to Duxbury’s C.J. LoConte, who was splayed out on the turf, merely spent.

Yet, there’s no rest for the Dragons yet. They are scheduled to be back in action less than 24 hours later with another road game against Quincy.

The closest they’d come to relishing Thursday’s win came with the chocolate truffle coated wafers the Dragons manager had prepared for the postgame – a tradition in Duxbury’s program, passing out assorted sweets that is.

“Well, if we didn’t have a game tomorrow, I’d have to think about that,” Sweet said of his team’s recovery. “People talk about our schedule, the grind we put these guys through. There’ve been in some tough ones, but these guys are used to it. We play back-to-back games out-of-state. You’ve just got to be ready.”

Let’s do it again sometime soon.

SUDBURY, Mass. – Tyler Powers had just scored the game-winning goal in an epic quadruple overtime game between the Nos. 1 and 2 ranked lacrosse teams in Massachusetts.

So how did he plan to celebrate?

“I’ve got a lot of homework to do,” Powers said. “Other than that, I don’t know.”

After a rain-delayed start, the struggle between No. 1 Duxbury and No. 2 Lincoln-Sudbury spanned about three-hours’ time and nearly the full span of four, complete overtime periods. And yet, after all the expended time and energy, it remained apparent that the difference between Thursday’s competitors was a futile exercise akin to splitting hairs. The highly anticipated matchup between the long-standing MIAA Division 1 powers was worth every minute, and every raindrop, which — at times — fell in torrents.

But it was Powers, a junior attackman, who finally broke the defensive stalemate as a fifth extra session loomed. Just 17 seconds remained in the fourth overtime, when fellow junior Brendan Burke found the cutting Powers for the game-winner. After more than 63 minutes of elapsed play, Duxbury emerged with an 8-7 victory.

“C.J. [LoConte] set a pick for Brendan [Burke], Brendan then found me, hit me in stride,” Powers said. “I got by my defenseman and put it by the goalie like our coaches told us.”

Not much did pass between the goaltenders – Duxbury’s Nick Marrocco and the Warriors’ Dario Morando – who were brilliant. The standout saves were too numerous to tally, with both parties seemingly one-upping the other on each stop.

L-S head coach Brian Vona, a goaltender in his own day, called Marrocco “the player of the game” — a tall compliment paid in a game rife with superb defense.

“Nick’s about as tough as they get mentally, physically,” Duxbury head coach Chris Sweet said. “He’s fearless and it showed tonight. He was spectacular along with our three defenders Marshall [McCarthy], [Jon] Hurvitz and George Ward.”

For the scant offense that was available to either side, both teams received contributions beyond their usual cast of starters. Sweet called Burke’s three-goal effort the junior’s “game of his career.”

Meanwhile for the Warriors, who suffered their first defeat of the season and were playing without top offensive threats Dan Delaney and Henry Guild due to injury, junior Greg Roder helped fill the void with a two-goal game. Chris Giorgio was also a factor, scoring a goal and adding two assists.

Giorgio’s greatest thrill was for not, however. L-S started the third overtime period with a man-up advantage. After cycling the ball around, Giorgio had Marrocco beat with a quick rip to the left-hand post. Giorgio’s shot kicked up the slack on the side of net – for a moment, drawing the Warriors’ faithful into a frenzy. The shot landed wide of the post, however, and Marrocco coolly collected the ball and cleared to end the threat.

Both teams have dealt with recent injury woes. And while L-S (11-1) was without a couple of its top offensive options Thursday, Duxbury (12-4) is on the mend.

The Dragons rotation was bolstered by Trevor O’Brien and Jack and Shayne Sullivan returning to the mix. And although Sweet has had to mix and match his attack during the last couple weeks, it’s also been a trial by fire for his group.

“We’ve had our share of injuries, but what it’s done is that it’s built a lot of depth for us,” Sweet said. “That can be a good thing. We saw a lot of kids step up today who you probably haven’t heard much from.”

Now, the task is building chemistry among the replenished ranks.

“Our team has a lot of depth,” Powers said. “We have a bunch of middies. They’ve been working hard. The kids that took their place have been playing great, doing what they can to help the team.”

Aside from the goaltending, the true stars of the duel were the poles. And, at times, they weren’t limited to the defensive half.

Hardly a play went into the L-S half field without Notre Dame-bound long-stick John Sexton throwing his height around. In addition, the rangy junior also chipped in on the Warriors’ man-up situations. Also, in close defense, Matt Barker was a revelation for the Warriors, with his crafty stick-check during a key Duxbury possession in the third overtime as a highlight.

Likewise, the Dragons’ vaunted defense came to play.

Highly-touted, Fairfield-bound pole Jay Walsh was a ground ball hound, including a couple pick-ups on faceoffs during the overtime periods.

Marshall McCarthy was a force, scooping up key ground balls in the defensive half, while also stepping into the breakout with an assist. It was a pivotal performance from a player who (can you believe this?) didn't play in his sophomore season and is in his first year as a defender.

“I think he could play Division 1 lacrosse right now,” Marrocco laughed about McCarthy, who was also ESPN Boston’s MIAA football Defensive Player of the Year.
SUDBURY, Mass. – A 16-3 win by Lincoln-Sudbury boys’ lacrosse over North Andover in the final of Saturday’s Coaches Challenge Cup can only tell you so much about this Warriors team.

The enduring image – outside of the game’s score as the scoreboard hit triple zeroes – came about a half hour following the win. On a nearby practice field, a group of Warriors players were helping to the clear the field for Monday’s practice. Youth soccer games left a set of nets on the field. As part of a challenge issued during Friday’s team practice by head coach Brian Vona, the losers of a drill were going to be forced to perform odd jobs on Saturday, including the clean up of the practice field and clearing the 8-yard by 8-foot frames. The nets dwarfed the team members scurrying underneath them, like a colony of ants moving leaves on the forest floor.

“I feel like we’re building,” Vona said following the team’s Cup win, the progam’s second. “We’re not where we’re going to be in June, not even close. We have a long way to go. We’re slowly improving on some things that, maybe things that you might not see, but we’re improving on things that we had to work on.

“So I feel good, knowing that we’re progressing.”

That progress was set in motion two years ago when the Warriors’ seniors were sophomores. Many of them were pressed into immediate service that season, before they might have otherwise. due to a rash of (at times, freakish) injuries. One player was cut severely on a plate glass window at his church and missed time in 2011.

That chain of events gave a deep and talented class a running start while growing into one of the state’s Division 1 title favorites this season.

“I think a huge part of that is the confidence knowing that we’ve played together … almost all of our starters have played together since sophomore year,” said Henry Guild, a Yale commit who led the Warriors with a hat trick and six points on Saturday. “We’ve played in big games and we have confidence in knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses.”

Vona maintains there’s room for improvement, even with the Warriors’ offense, which operates with the efficiency of a Swiss watch.

But with a slew of high Division 1 recruits on offense, including Dan Delaney, Matt Hall, Chris Giorgio, among others, there’s not much that can slow down L-S.

“When we possess the ball on offense,” Vona said, “we control our destiny.”

The Warriors have also taken care of business in their own end. There’s plenty of talent to be found among L-S’s poles, including Sam Chen, Eamon Hunter and John Sexton. And they’ve been able to keep it out of their own cage.

“The key thing is that we’re talking,” Hunter said. “You hear it on the bench, you hear it on the field. You hear it from Dario [Morando]. When we’re talking, we play more aggressively. We’ve motivated to grab the ball, turn it over to the offense and get them started.”

Recap: No. 22 Lincoln-Sudbury 21, A-B 3

November, 3, 2012

SUDBURY, Mass. -- Three-year starter Christopher Giorgio has seen this Lincoln-Sudbury senior class grow from a few starters to what became a crucial part of a third-straight Dual County League (Large) division championship team last night.

In what has been a close rivalry the past five years, the No. 23 Warriors bested division rival Acton-Boxboro for the fourth straight time and cruised to a postseason berth with a commanding 21-3 victory at Myers Field.

“Starting off we did not have many (sophomore) starters,” said Giorgio of his sophomore year. “A lot of [our success] had to doing with starting at a young age and having older kids that taught us leadership skills. We were ready to [defend] it again this year.”

All three L-S (8-1, 3-0) touchdowns were scored by senior backs with the first two coming off a pair of two yard rushes by Giorgio at 7:02 and 1:47 respectively in the second quarter.

Junior backup quarterback Ben Colello caught a pitch from senior quarterback Henry Guild, faked the run, and hit a 10-yard pass to teammate senior Marquis Simmons to place the Warriors on the 26-yard line four minutes into the second quarter.

An eight-yard trap rush by senior Malik Layne on the next play put L-S in position for its first score.

“We stay low and keep the legs moving,” Giorgio said. “Repetition [and] knowing what the defense's formats and strengths are.”

After a 15-yard facemask penalty benefited L-S on its next possession, Guild broke a pair of sweep plays for 13 and 18 yards to set up Giorgio's second touchdown for a 14-0 lead.

A-B took four minutes and 11 plays to move 56 yards and put the ball on the Warriors' 14-yard line during its opening play of the second half. However a total of zero yards on its next three plays, forced the Colonials to let senior Jack Perry kick a 31-yard field goal.

Layne caught the edge on the final play of the third quarter and swept eight yards to bury the Colonials (6-3, 0-2) , with 21-3 touchdown.

“Henry [Guild] did a great job of orchestrating the offense,” Warriors head coach Tom Lopez said. “We had pretty good balance on offense [and] we did it against a very good team.”

Killer Turnovers
Turnovers and conversion failures stunted the Colonials' offense and set up two Warriors' scores.

Senior linebacker Dario Morando flew by the offensive line and grabbed senior Billy Jackman in the backfield to force a failed fourth and 1 attempt on A-B's 36-yard line at eight minutes in the second quarter to setup the first score.

Warriors senior Nick Deandrade grabbed a fumble off a botched sweep play the Colonials' 47-yard line at 4:03 to prompt the final scoring

“We moved the ball and then we would make a mistake and go the wrong way,” A-B head coach Bill Maver said. “Execution and mistakes. I think that is what hurt us more than anything.”

CARROLL'less, but Senior Laden
Malik Layne and Giorgio have stepped up the pass two weeks to fill the role of missing leading rusher and senior Brian Carroll, who is sidelined with a knee injury.

Layne rumbled for 87 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries to lead the Warriors in rushing, while his fellow senior, Giorgio, took 15 carries for 59 yards and two touchdowns.

“I keep telling people, 'We are doing this without Brian Carroll and it is unbelievable,'” said Lopez. “They have great balance and they are physically and mentally tough.”

“We dedicate this season to [Carroll],” added Giorgio.

Not So Close This Time Around
The double-digit win last night by L-S is an oddity in a rivalry that has been predominantly a one-score game during the last five years. With A-B grabbing a 15-6 win in 2008, L-S has won four of the last five -- all by one score.

“The last two weeks have been tough,” Lopez said. “We have not lost a DCL game in a long time. If we stay healthy, we are looking forward to another shot in the playoffs.”

A-B (6-3) 0 – 0 – 3 – 0 – 3
L-S (8-1) 0 – 14 – 0 - 7 – 21

LS – Chris Giorgio 2 run (Chris Roder kick)
LS – Giorgio 2 run (Roder kick)
AB – Jack Perry 31 field goal
LS – Malik Layne 8 run (Roder kick)