Tough loss to take for Billerica lacrosse
By David Pevear, email@example.com
Updated: 06/13/2010 06:41:21 AM EDT
DUXBURY — Nearby, his players stood silent, stung by an excruciating defeat.
Billerica High lacrosse coach Craig Flynn proudly recited their accomplishments: These 2010 Indians were the highest scoring team in Billerica High lacrosse history (330 goals). They finished with the second-most victories (20). They strung together the longest winning streak (13).
But, like two other recently great Billerica lacrosse seasons, this one ended with an aching one-goal loss to Duxbury, the dynasty that just keeps on ticking.
Duxbury senior midfielder John Ricciardi scored the winning goal with 1:49 left in the fourth quarter and No. 1 seed Duxbury held off No. 4 Billerica yesterday, 13-12, in a Division 1 state semifinal at Chandler Field.
Billerica (20-3) did not get off a clear shot after controlling the subsequent faceoff, even after presented with a man-up situation with 37 seconds left. The final 16 seconds were a desperate scramble in Duxbury’s end after Billerica lost control of the ball.
“No matter how good you feel. No matter how well the game goes. They always find a way to win,” said Billerica senior defenseman Jimmy Holland about Duxbury. “That’s why they’ve been state champs the last six years.”
Duxbury will try to make it seven in a row — and eight in nine years — when the 22-1 Dragons face the only team to beat them this season, St. John’s Prep, in the state final on Wednesday night at Harvard Stadium. Duxbury defeated St. John’s Prep in last year’s final, 13-12.
Two years ago, Billerica, under former coach Chris Burns, fell to Duxbury in the state final, 14-13, in overtime. In 2007, Duxbury defeated Billerica, 12-11, in double overtime in a state semifinal.
“Billerica played well enough to beat us today,” said Duxbury coach Chris Sweet. “A few lucky bounces here and there gave us a chance to win … barely.”
This was Flynn’s first season back coaching Billerica since guiding the Indians to the 2001 state title. Duxbury has won seven of the eight Division 1 titles since.
“We fought to the end,” said Flynn. “Our guys are tough. I love the effort and passion these guys have. Duxbury just made the extra play at the end.”
Billerica’s Cam Slatton scored 15 seconds into the game, off a feed from Ben Melaugh. But the Indians, who lost 9-6 to Duxbury on May 11, trailed 5-2 after one quarter.
Billerica settled in and led 8-7 at halftime (after leading 8-6) and 12-11 after three quarters. Duxbury scored the only two goals of the fourth quarter.
Billerica junior attackman Grant Whiteway, who this year set the state single-season scoring record, yesterday scored three goals — all spectacular — during a first-half span of 14:19. But Duxbury sophomore defenseman Max Randall was otherwise firmly attached to Whiteway, who was shut out in the second half. Whiteway finished the season with 113 goals and 56 assists.
“Grant is an unbelievable player, who I’m sure will come back to haunt me next year,” said Sweet. “But today was our day.”
Slatton, a sophomore attackman, led Billerica with 4 goals — three off feeds from fellow sophomore Ben Melaugh (1 goal, 4 assists). Senior midfielder Bill Frevold had 2 goals and 1 assist. Junior midfielder Ross Murphy also scored 2 goals.
Billerica freshman goalie D.J. Smith made 10 saves. Duxbury senior goalie Makar Zaverucha made 8 saves.
“All it comes down to is the way the ball bounces in the end,” said Holland. “Both teams played hard.”