Duxbury (MA) Aims to Please Its Tradition

By Ryan Rohde

Tradition never graduates. This motto rings in every player's ears on the Duxbury lacrosse team. It is this platform that the team uses for motivation--no one on the Dragons' squad of 2009 wants to let down the players that came before them in the program.

The 2009 team has plenty of tradition to carry on. The Dragons are winners of five straight Massachusetts state championships, and have won six overall titles in the program's history. The Dragons carried a 90-game win streak against in-state opponents into 2009, a streak that dates back to the first game of the 2004 season. The numbers are quite impressive, and streaks like this are rarely seen in sports. Often times this much success comes with a price: a target on your back.

Every season the Dragons are the habitual favorite to win the state championship. Every opponent treats the Duxbury game as the biggest game of the year because every one wants to take down the top team. The Dragons extended their win streak to 99 games this season, and then they faced undefeated St. Johns Prep on May 2.

The atmosphere was that of a playoff game. The Duxbury faithful dressed in all white, providing the home team with the "white out". Prep was not phased though, jumping out to a quick 5-0 first quarter lead. Duxbury fought back, finally taking the lead towards the end of the third quarter. By the end of the day though, it was not meant to be for the Dragons as St. Johns came out on top, 12-10, and Duxbury failed to capture that historic 100th consecutive win.

"Our players were just in kind of unfamiliar territory there, losing." Duxbury head coach Chris Sweet told the Boston Herald. "I told them to keep their heads high and we'll get back to work Monday. We've got a streak of five state championships that we're really focused on."

Winning state championships is what keeps the tradition alive. The talent this team possesses makes a sixth straight state title a real possibility. Senior Hakeem Lecky is a Syracuse recruit and paces the Dragons from the midfield. He is heralded as one of the top recruits in the country. Senior captain Quinn Cully adds the experience and leadership to the midfield that will help in the playoff run; he will take his talents to Notre Dame in the fall. Jake Harvey leads the attack unit and rounds out an offense that has failed to score double digits just five times this season. Senior captain Kyle Gavoni spearheads a defense that is holding teams to under six goals a game.

The year's Dragons are trying to pass the state championship torch onto next year like it was passed onto them from the players of years past--players like Max Quinzani and Ben Fuchs, just to name a few. Sweet notes that is not the talent that makes his squad so successful.

"Overall, I think we've developed depth," Sweet told laxjournal.com. "Our best players now are no better than our best players then, but depth-wise, we're stronger."

Whether it's on the defensive end or the offensive end, the Dragons can get the job done. Duxbury now enters its playoff run, starting with Acton-Boxboro on May 30. The Dragons will use that regular-season loss as motivation for the postseason.

The true test of a champion is how one responds to adversity, and the players waiting in the wings in the Duxbury lacrosse program realize they will get their own chance to continue the legacy.

Every one of them knows that tradition never graduates.

2009-05-28



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