Boston High School: Mercer Island (Wash.)

Recap: Long day for defending lax champs

April, 6, 2013
ALLSTON, Mass. -- The defending Division 1 and Division 2 state champions of MIAA boys' lacrosse had a long day Saturday morning in a double-header against out-of-state powers at Harvard.

Duxbury went down in a 10-1 defeat to one of the best public school programs in the country in Garden City (N.Y.). Meanwhile, Mercer Island (Wash.) continued its tour of the Northeast -- having lost an 8-4 decision to Duxbury on Tuesday -- with a 7-2 victory over reigning Div. 2 champion Concord-Carlisle.

While there weren't many highlights to go around for the local sides, here are a couple of parting thoughts from today's action:

Concord-Carlisle (2-1) were largely done in by a string of four Mercer Island goals in roughly five minutes to start the game. While it immediately put the Patriots behind the 8-ball, head coach Tom Dalicandro was

"We played pretty even after that, but we just couldn't recover from that start," Dalicandro said. "I thought the play after that was pretty even."

The bright spot for C-C was its man-up unit, which produced both goals. The Patriots also got a lift from their goal-scorers -- senior attack Tim Badgely and sophomore midfielder Will Blumenberg. Both players are coming up to game-speed after out-of-season injuries.

Aside from the goal-scoring boost, Dalicandro has been pleased by the progress of the two players, who carry a heavy height if the Patriots hope to capture their fifth state title in a repeat.

"They're ahead of where I thought they'd be at this time of the year, which is a good thing," Dalicandro added.

After registering a neat and tidy win while playing host to Mercer Island, Duxbury was simply overmatched by Garden City -- a team Dragons head coach Chris Sweet affirmed as one of the nation's best.

While the Trojans stifling defense afforded Duxbury few clean looks at the cage, holding the Dragons scoreless until inside the five-minute mark of the fourth quarter, Sweet felt his team didn't do themselves any favors either.

"We didn't hit our shots. We certainly got outplayed in a lot of phases of the game, but I like the way our guys played."

Junior attack Tanner Williams broke up Garden City's shutout bid off a feed from James Higgins working behind the cage.

Sweet emphasized the ability for his team to learn their weaknesses facing such competition.

"We schedule this game for the sole purpose of having our eye on June," Sweet said. "We'd like to win a game like this, but trust me we got a lot of game out of this that'll make us a much better team going forward.

"You can't find what your weaknesses are when you're winning fourteen to one."
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:

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.”

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.”