No. 1 Duxbury 14, Longmeadow 10
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DUXBURY -- Who knows better about spurts than a team with an 83-game, in-state winning streak.
The top-ranked Duxbury boys' lacrosse team scored nine consecutive goals over a dominating 14-minute span in the first half to build a comfortable cushion, then short-circuited visiting Longmeadow's spurts before they snowballed out of control en route to a 14-10 triumph Saturday at Taylor Memorial Field.
The Lancers logged 250 roundtrip miles for their shot at dethroning the four-time defending Division 1 state champs. The Green Dragons haven't lost since the 2003 state final despite the fact that everyone seems to be gunning for them recently.
Longmeadow bounded off its bus overflowing with enthusiasm and scoring first did little to quell that intensity. Duxbury's nine-goal outburst, however, did provide the wet blanket on a chilly spring afternoon.
"Welcome to lacrosse," Duxbury coach Chris Sweet joked when asked about how both teams scored in streaks Saturday. Longmeadow twice put together four-goal outbursts, the first pulling the Lancers within four goals late in the second quarter and the other trimming the final spread to four goals.
"We like (spurts) when they're in our favor. When it swings the other way, you gotta knuckle down. We played some good defense and got key saves in the middle of some of their rallies. It doesn't take much to turn it around. A big save, a score or a turnover. We got enough of those to hang on today."
Longmeadow was desperate for one of those streak-breakers as Duxbury motored away in the first half. It's what head coach John Rauseo and his charges probably rolled over in their minds many times as part of a 2-hour, 12-minute trek back to the high school on Grassy Gutter Road in Longmeadow.
"The first half, they got us," said Rauseo. "In the second half, we held them to what, four goals? You can't spot a team like that nine goals. That was the difference.
"We didn't get the ball on offense. Whoever had the ball on offense today seemed to score. At the end we had a couple of chances... we just couldn't put them in."
Duxbury's Scott Austin scored three of his game-high six goals as part of the Dragons' big first-half outburst that put the hosts out front, 9-1, with 7:07 to play in the second quarter. But Longmeadow responded as James Reardon produced half of a four-goal outburst to make it 9-5 with 2:18 to go in the half.
Duxbury dug in and Austin potted another goal with 51 ticks to play in the frame for a five-goal cushion at the intermission. He and Grant Marston each registered two goals in the third quarter as the Dragons pushed their lead back to 14-6 before Longmeadow produced the only four goals of the final frame.
"Our offense was uncharacteristically patient at key times," said coach Sweet. "That was the difference. We got some big shots and some good defensive play from our poles.
"They got the first goal, but our guys came ready to play. We did a good job of being ready to play from the start."
All-Scholastic defender Craig Sullivan did a fantastic job limiting Longmeadow junior attack Kyle Smith (1 goal), while captain Mark Murphy shadowed Reardon (2 goals) for much of the day. Longmeadow senior David Thor sparked the Lancers' offense with four goals.
Outside of Austin, Duxbury spread it around. Gus Quinzani, Hakeem Lecky, and Marston each had two goals apiece, while Steven Ripley and Dan May scored single goals.
While proud of the way his team battled back and happy to take positives from those spurts, Rauseo seemed to take a bit of umbrage when asked if it was tough to travel so far to play a team the caliber of Duxbury.
"They gotta play us, too," he said. "We're Longmeadow. We have a streak; We haven't lost to a Massachusetts (public) high school all year. This is the first one we lost to."
Longmeadow (11-2), which also lost to Deerfield Prep, boasted wins over second-ranked Medfield (which it lost to in last year's Division 2 state final) and Scituate entering Saturday's game. The Lancers don't travel past 495 again during the regular season, but are seemingly the odds-on favorite to represent that part of the state in June.
For Duxbury, the challenges just keep on coming. Next week's slate features a pair of Catholic Conference foes in Xaverian (a rematch of last year's state final) and BC High. The following week brings Needham and New Hampshire juggernaut Bishop Guertin as tune-ups to the state tournament.
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- Bob Holmes: A Reading resident (Go Rockets!) and Boston College graduate, Holmes is the Boston Globe High School Sports Editor. We remind you now that his weekly picks are often made in jest so everyone just calm down when he picks against Everett for 11 straight weeks. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHolmes.
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- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our winter correspondents:
- Emily McCarthy | @EmilyMcCahthy | BPS correspondent
- Jake Fischer | @GlobeFischer | Boys basketball
- Michelle Fenelon | @michfenelon | Girls basketball
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Boys hockey
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls hockey
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