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Div. 1 EMass lacrosse final

Duxbury pulls through

Dragons win 9th title in 11 seasons

Duxbury head coach Chris Sweet gets a water bucket dumped on him by Andrew Padula in the final seconds of their win over Needham during a lacrosse game at Harvard Stadium. Duxbury head coach Chris Sweet gets a water bucket dumped on him by Andrew Padula in the final seconds of their win over Needham during a lacrosse game at Harvard Stadium. (Winslow Townson / For The Boston Globe)
By Jason Mastrodonato
Globe Correspondent / June 14, 2012
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It was probably a no-win situation for Chris Sweet’s reputation.

If Duxbury and its 12 Division 1 college recruits didn’t finish the spring with its ninth state title in 11 years, as the Dragons did with a 10-8 win over Needham Wednesday night at Harvard Stadium, it might have been hard for the coach to avoid the blame.

When the Dragons did win it all, well, they were expected to.

“It was the most pressure he’s ever had because of the expectations with all those commits,” said Duxbury athletic director Thom Holdgate. “Any close game we had - the scrutiny was ridiculous.’’

But through it all Sweet remained calm. He’s managed to contain egos on a squad that could have had plenty.

“I want them to be the best lacrosse players they possibly can be,’’ Sweet said. “And to do that you have to constantly pay attention to the little things.’’

“We were supposed to win,’’ said Sweet’s son, Sam, a senior who scored three goals. “And luckily we did. We said before, if we lose, this season is a failure.”

And Needham didn’t make this one easy. The Rockets (16-6) fell behind, 10-4, heading into the fourth quarter, but there was a chaotic stretch in which they scored four straight to cut the deficit to 10-8 with six minutes remaining. But well-coached teams rarely crumble. The Dragons didn’t.

Duxbury’s Reilly Naton defended a three-on-one and regained possession. Henry Buongurio stayed calm in the cage, making a big-time stop on Needham’s Nico Panepinto, who scored four times, before slowing things down on transition to compose the team. And the trio of All-America senior defenders, Matt O’Keefe, James Burke and Max Randall, took care of the rest.

“They show a lot of discipline,’’ Chris Sweet said. “Everyone asks, ‘What’s the secret?’ It’s hard work. Our guys are willing to come out as high school kids with a lot of distractions and work hard and make a lot of sacrifices.’’

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