Tradition Never Graduates
The family of Burke Walker, who recently moved to Duxbury from the lacrosse heartland of Maryland, decides the game should be played here. Justin Walker, who had played lacrosse in Baltimore, gets together with his 7th grade friend Matt Tighe, and at Burke’s suggestion, they put together a list of 35 kids in their grade who are good athletes and might want to play lacrosse. The Dads and Burke Walker, who has a deep knowledge of the game, and Jim Tighe, a former player and veteran lacrosse official, put on a clinic for the prospects.
23 of the original 35 kids invest in the equipment and sell candy to buy nets, uniforms, field paints, etc. The team competes in middle-school competition games against Hingham, Barnstable and a few prep schools.
The team of 8th graders travel to Maryland to play in the prestigious Cockeysville Invitational Tournament, the largest junior tournament in the nation. They stun the crowd by advancing to the championship game against the host team – Duxbury loses by one goal.
The Duxbury School Committee agrees to a standing proposal to add boys lacrosse to spring sports, on the condition that the sport is fully funded by parents. Under Coach George Hill, a member of the Boston Professional Lacrosse Team, the Duxbury Squad plays a junior varsity schedule.
The Duxbury team wants to move on to varsity competition. But new Coach Eric Fekete, a Duxbury native, former University of Arizona player and later head coach at what is now Quinnipiac University, decides it best to stay one more year at the junior varsity level.
Under Coach Fekete, the Duxbury lacrosse team competes in its first varsity-level season. The year ends in controversy as Acton-Boxborough elects to declare a rain-out of its scheduled game with Duxbury. A Duxbury victory would have put the Green Dragons in the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association state playoffs for the first time.
Duxbury hires former Merrimack College player and Duxbury resident John Wait as head coach.Chris Sweet, a four-time All-American at Ithaca College is named assistant head coach. With the original group of 7th graders now seniors, the Duxbury team begins its tradition as an MIIA playoff contender.
In spite of having no returning starters, the team goes 8-8 and makes the playoffs beating Malden Catholic in the first round, losing to league rival Hingham in the second round. Dan Taylor and Matt Winterle are the top scorers, and Tim Kaufman on defense is named the first team of league all-stars.
Still a young team with many underclassmen, the team struggles to a 6-10 record, losing a number of close contests by one and two goal margins. For the first and only time, the team fails to make the playoffs. Still, it captures the Green Cup from Marshfield in a close 6-5 contest. Winterle and Taylor are the top scorers again, and TJ Wigmore has a record 231 saves.
With a returning group of experienced players, the team jumps out to a strong start with a close win over the favored, non-league opponent BC High. Finishing third in the league behind Falmouth and Hingham, the team qualifies for the state tournament with an 11-5 record. After a preliminary round win at home against Peabody, and then consecutive on the road upsets against number two-seeded Winchester and number four-seed BC High, two busloads of Duxbury youth lacrosse players watch sophomore Tom Daniels score the winning goal against BC High in the final nine seconds. The fired-up team was stopped by the eventual state champs, Concord-Carlisle.
Head Coach John Wait steps down and Chris Sweet steps up. In the regular season, the team goes 13-4 with wins over both Lincoln-Sudbury and Concord-Carlisle, establishing a statewide reputation for excellence. In the semi-finals, the Dragons fell to perennial power Newton North. Leading scorer Tenny Reed becomes the schools first All-American and is named Pilgrim Conference Player of the Year.
At the season opener, league rival Hingham falls to Duxbury, and by the end the Dragons were league champions. In the playoffs,Winchester knocks the team out in the semi-finals. Senior midfielder Tom Daniels is named All-American and five players are named to the league all star team. Coach Sweet is named Coach of the Year.
Duxbury again wins the Pilgrim Conference title with a perfect 12-0 record and receives the number one seed in the state tournament. Season highlights include a visit from the number one ranked team in the country, Garden City of NewYork. Junior attack Jon Sisto and classmate Mike Pisco, defense, are named All-Americans. An upset in the quarter-finals with a loss to Waltham dashes Duxbury’s hopes for a state title.
Number one seed in the state tournament. State Champions. Perfect 25-0 season. Jon Sisto, Mike Pisco and Ben Fuchs are named All-Americans. We are now ranked 14th in the country and have the largest tryout of any Duxbury sport. Duxbury lacrosse players are now on fields at the University of Maryland, Dartmouth, Cornell, Tufts, Middlebury, Salisbury State, Hartwick, Gettysburg, Bates…. with many more to follow! Five first team All-Stars are Ben Fuchs, Mike Pisco, Brenton Pitt, Jon Sisto and Sean Sullivan.
Pilgrim Conference Champions, Division I State Champion Finalists. State championship game was attended by over 5,000 fans of lacrosse. Duxbury finished the season with a 22-2 record and ran its winning streak to 35 in a row midway through the year. Ben Fuchs and Kevin Mullins named All-Americans. Patriot League All-Scholastic were Lee Austin, Alex Bezdek, Ben Fuchs, Matt Lanuto and Kevin Mullins. Boston Globe All-Scholastic are Ben Fuchs and Kevin Mullins.
State Champions for the 2nd time in 3 years. Duxbury finishes the season 22-1, ranked 17th nationally. Tom Levesque and Max Quinzani were named All-Americans. Eastern Mass All-Stars were Tom Levesque, Kyle Sullivan and Max Quinzani. Patriot League All-Stars were Kyle Sullivan and Max Quinzani.
Varsity goes for the fourth consecutive EMASS Division I State Championship Title, defeating Waltham 13-6. Team finishes 22-1, the only loss coming from NewYork Class A runner-up Niskayuna (Albany), 9-7. For the first time in EMASS history, five players came from the same boys lacrosse team – Chris Ajemian, Kevin Gould, Chris Nixon, Max Quinzani (2nd time) and Alec Seifert are named to the High School All American Team. Ajemian, Nixon, Quinzani, Gould and Seifert are named to the prestigious Boston Globe, Boston Herald, and Patriot Ledger All Scholastic Team.
Dragon’s play in their fifth straight Division I State Championship defeating Xaverian 14-7, making the win their third state title in a row and fourth out of five. The 22-0 varsity also won their seventh straight Pilgim League championship. Team members Chris Nixon, Matt Fuchs,Chris Casey and Bobby Schnibbe are named to the U.S. Lacrosse H.S.All-American Team. Senior Max Quinzani sets an all time career national high school scoring record, previously held by legendary Casey Powell.
Senior leadership and commitment led to one of the most exciting wins in Duxbury lacrosse in a 12-11 double overtime win over Billerica in the State semi-finals. Seniors gave up their grad-nite celebrations to be at their best for game time. They captured their 5th State Championship against Xaverian in overtime (10-9). Junior defenseman Craig Sullivan was named an All-American. Patriot League All-Stars: Craig Sullivan, Scott Austin, Derek Sweet, and Gus Quinzani. Boston Globe All Scholastic: Craig Sullivan.
The team went into the season defending the State Title and their undefeated streak against Massachusetts teams. Led by Captains Scott Austin, Mark Murphy and Craig Sullivan, along with the eleven other seniors, the Team finished the season with their undefeated streak intact and a Division I State Title. With Gus Quinzani scoring the winning goal again against Billerica,the Team left Harvard Stadium proudly – having never lost to a to a Massachusetts public or parochial school while they played for the Dragons. Three members of the team were named All-Americans (Austin, Quinzani and Sullivan). The graduating Class went on to Cornell, Maryland, Bates, St. Joseph’s, Quinnipiac, University of New England, University of Hartford, Hartwick and Muhlenberg.
It is said that winning a championship takes talent; but winning it again takes character. The Varsity’s sixth straight Division I State Title is testament to the strong character of the hardworking team and its dedicated coaches, Chris Sweet and Tony Fisher. It is significant that for the past eight years DuxburyVarsity has captured the Title in seven of those years. The team’s winning streak against MIAA opponents reached 99 games before losing to St. John’s Prep in front of record crowd at Taylor field. Captains Quinn Cully, Jake Harvey and Kyle Gavoni lead the team to a 19-3 overall season and capped off the 2009 lacrosse season with a pleasant victory over St. John’s Prep at Harvard Stadium. In league play, Duxbury can claim ten straight Patriot League titles with an undefeated record since the turn of the century. Two Duxbury seniors, Quinn Cully and Hakeem Lecky were named to the All American Team. The 11 graduating seniors on the team headed off to Notre Dame, Babson College, Syracuse, University of Vermont, LaSalle, Bentley, Richmond, and Northeastern. Character lives on in the Duxbury Lacrosse team and with the new turf field for the 2010 season the team will work hard with the knowledge that: Tradition never graduates – GO Dragons!
The Duxbury Varsity Lacrosse had some big shoes to fill. Looming before them was the Holy Grail of Lacrosse: the Division I State Title. For the 7 years before them their Duxbury predecessors had been able to capture this dream. The 2010 team knew it, they felt and believed it. For the entire season the pressure was on. Could they do it again? Could they win the state title for the 8th year in a row? The 2010 team was bound together by their strong relationships and a common interest of attaining their goal. The captains: JB Marston, Defense, Mickey Zaverucha, goalie and John Ricciardi, midi lead the team in every way. They had talent at every position on the field. And they had the drive. It proved to be the elusive goal as they were defeated by one goal by St. John’s Prep in the last game of the season. This was one goal in one game – it didn’t affect how the team played or how the individuals will play in the future. The nine seniors went off to play at excellent colleges: Bucknell, Quinnipiac, two to Roger Williams College, Northeastern, Bentley, and the University of Colorado. The overall record for the 2010 season was 22-2-0 and for the Patriot League was 8-0-0.
“Road to Redemption“ captures the exciting and uplifting story of the 2011 Duxbury Varsity Lacrosse season. Stung by the heartbreaking overtime loss to St. John’s Prep in the 2010 State Championship Game at Harvard Stadium, Captains Kane Haffey, Pete Willauer and Brian Barry set the tone for the entire 2011 season with the theme of “Road to Redemption“. In 2011 the Dragons would be determined to once again bring home the Massachusetts Division 1 Lacrosse Championship to the only town where it rightly belonged… Duxbury! The captains challenged their 30 teammates to get focused on the “ultimate goal“ and be willing to pay the necessary price through season – long hard work to make that goal a reality. Towards this end the entire team and coaching staff responded magnificently and on June 14th at Harvard Stadium the three captains once again raised the State Championship Trophy for all to see.
The initial part of that 2011 “Road to Redemption“ however got off to somewhat of a bumpy start. An season opening game overtime loss to Mercer Island, Washington was soon followed by disappointing losses to Garden City, NY and Niskayuna, NY. Eight games into the season saw the Dragons looking at a not so stellar 5 and 3 record. However, from that point forward the Dragons would never lose again, finishing the season 19 – 3. The Dragons stayed totally focused on their objective. In none of those 14 remaining games would any team come within six goals of the Dragons and sweet revenge was finally inflicted upon (you guessed it!) St. John’s Prep 16 – 9 at Harvard Stadium. For the eighth time in ten years Duxbury was the Massachusetts Division 1 State Champion. Mission accomplished on the “Road to Redemption“.
”TRADITION NEVER GRADUATES” The 2012 season began with great expectations for the talented, senior-laden team led by Captains James Burke, Henry Buonagurio, Paul Hellar and Max Randall. Playing together since the 4th grade in Duxbury Youth Lacrosse, the Eastern Massachusetts Town Pride League, SweetLax, the Fighting Clams and Laxachusetts, these seniors developed into a close knit group of high school lacrosse players. The team finished the season with an outstanding 23 – 2 record with losses only to New York powers Irondequoit and Garden City. After the Garden City loss, Duxbury ran the table with 16 consecutive victories, culminating once again with a Division 1 State Championship at Harvard Stadium – the program’s 9th State Championship in the past 11 years.
Post-season awards were numerous with James Burke, Paul Hellar, Matt O’Keefe, Max Randall and Chris Williams being named All-Americans. The team saw an unprecedented 16 graduating Duxbury seniors move on to play college lacrosse (10 Division 1 and 6 Division 3).
Senior captains CJ LoConte, Bob O’Brien and Jay Walsh, led a young team eager to leave their mark in the pages of DuxLax history. Early season, the team looked to find its identity against out of state powers including Mercer Island from WA, Garden City, Shoreham-Wading River & Niskayuna from NY, and Fairfield Prep from CT. This hotbed of powerful competition helped strengthen the team for a strong in-state slate as they demolished ISL power Thayer, longtime rival Billerica, as well as Catholic Conference foes Xaverian Brothers and St. John’s Prep. A close victory over Medfield was book-ended by instant classic, overtime victories against Patriot League nemesis Hingham and the epic 4-OT nail-biter over Lincoln-Sudbury. The boys stumbled at home in a low scoring battle against Needham, but closed out the regular season strong against Bishop Guertin. Entering the playoffs as the Patriot League Champions, Duxbury fell to BC High in a heartbreaking overtime loss. The team featured several Patriot League All-Stars and Massachusetts All-Americans for Jay Walsh and Nick Marrocco. In addition, the class of 2012 sent players to D1 West Point, Rutgers and Fairfield, D2 Merrimack and D3 Amherst, Middlebury, Beloit and Babson.
The 2014 Duxbury Lacrosse Team entered the season led by a group of 19 seniors, most of whom had spent over a decade playing together and working towards the goal of winning a Mass State Championship in their final season in green and white. With Captains Brendan Burke, Nick Marrocco and Trevor O’Brien leading the way, the Dragons undertook a daunting schedule that featured the best HS programs in the state along with some of the marquee programs in NY, NH and CT. While absorbing close losses to Upstate NY powers Niskayuna and Pittsford, the Dragons showed their mettle in big victories over defending State Champs Bishop Guertin (NH) and Fairfield Prep (CT). These tough matchups prepared the boys well as they rolled over traditional rivals and Mass powerhouses Billerica, St John’s Prep, Medfield and Hingham in key regular season games as they strived to recapture the D1 state title. Entering the State Tournament as the #2 seed in the South, the Dragons easily dispatched Natick, CM and Wellesley before facing #1 seed Xaverian in the D1 South Finals. The Dragons played perhaps their best game of the season while capturing the South Title at historic Harvard Stadium before a huge crowd of local lax fans. After falling behind 2-0 early in the game, the Dragons roared back to overwhelm the Hawks in a 6-2 victory many in the media called the game of the year. Next up was the State Finals at BU. Despite their best efforts the boys fell just short of their ultimate goal, losing a 5-4 heartbreaker to top seeded North Champ Acton-Boxboro in 2 OTs to finish the season with an outstanding record of 19-4. Nick Marrocco and Liam Stauss were named 1st Team All-Americans and Trevor O’Brien was named 2nd Team All-American after the season but just as impressive was the fact that 18 Duxlax seniors showed their love of the game by moving on to play college lacrosse.
In 2015, the Duxbury Dragons, led by Captains Brendan Duffy, Hunter Marston, and Matt Sharpe had another remarkable season winning the Patriot League and making it to the Massachusetts State finals. The tight bond between the 14 seniors began 10 years prior when they began playing together in the 2nd grade. Returning starters to the 2015 season were Liam Stauss, Hunter Marston, Matt Sharpe, Brendan Duffy, Chris Armstrong, and Niall Dillon. On a cool day in early spring, the team took on Garden City, NY at Harvard University. Duxbury’s 9-7 victory was the first ever over the New York Powerhouse in the program’s history. They went on to power through top ranked Massachusetts teams including Billerica, Hingham, BC High, St. John’s Prep, and New Hampshire’s Bishop Guertin. They dropped games only to talent-laden Medfield, Lincoln-Sudbury, and one of the top ranked high school teams in the country, Pittsford, New York in a hard fought battle at home. The Dragons slayed Dartmouth, BC High, and Catholic Memorial to win the Division 1 South Championship. For the second time in the season, Duxbury battled top seeded Lincoln-Sudbury in the Massachusetts Division I State Finals. It was a disappointing loss for this team who played with so much commitment throughout the season. Many of the seniors went on to play lacrosse at the next level at Cornell, Ohio State, Fairfield, Washington College, Babson, Westfield, Vassar, Endicott, Roger Williams, and Hartwick. Hunter Marston and Liam Stauss were named 1st Team All- Americans. Matt Sharpe was named 2nd Team All American. Hunter Marston was also named the Patriot League MVP!
As with every year, the 2016 Duxbury Lacrosse Team entered the season with high hopes of returning to the D1 State Finals. The team included 15 seniors and was led by Captains Shane Sullivan, Mason Krahmer and Connor Hunt. As is Duxbury tradition, the schedule included some great out of state teams such as Mercer Island High School from Seattle, WA. and Pittsford High School from upstate NY. The schedule also included some very competitive match ups against in state rivals such as Hingham, Lincoln Sudbury, Billerica and Medfield to name a few. The Dragons had a roller coaster Spring battling many injuries but managed to once again put together a winning season, keeping their sights set on a deep playoff run. In their first game, Duxbury made an unbelievable 4th quarter comeback, fueled by some late game heroics to defeat a strong Needham team which vaulted them into the D1 South Semi Finals against a tough Catholic Memorial team. The back and forth game ended with a heartbreaking season ending, 1 goal loss for the Duxbury Dragons and the 15 seniors who had been playing together for 10 plus years. The team featured 7 Patriot League All Stars and Goalie Brady Burke was invited to play in the Boston Lax.net All American Game. A true testament of the strength of this team is the fact that eleven of the fifteen Seniors have gone on to play college lacrosse.
The Dragons entered the 2017 season led by Captains Bobby Maimaron, Johnny Antaya and Riley Bergstrom along with 13 of their Senior Classmates, the vast majority of whom had been playing lacrosse together since 2nd grade. The Dragons played a challenging schedule that included the best teams in State as well as playing out of state powerhouses from NY, NJ and NH. This tightly knit team led by Coach Sweet and Fisher embraced the role of underdog and quietly went about business game after game and made the lacrosse community realize not to underestimate this Duxbury team. In the first week of May, Duxbury reclaimed the Patriot League title by beating Hingham in a much anticipated contest. The winning continued that week by beating defending D2 State Champions Medfield, as well as Essex NJ 2016 State Champions, Seton Hall Prep. The ultimate goal for the coaches and the team was to be playing at BU in late June for the D1 Championship. Duxbury received the #3 seed in the South Section and went on to beat Brookline, Wellesley and #2 seed Needham to make to make it to the South Sectional finals against the #1 seed BC High at Harvard Stadium. A very tight back and forth game ended with a heartbreaking loss to BC High. While not achieving the teams ultimate goal that they had set for themselves in March, they should be extremely proud of what they had accomplished. The team consisted 8 Patriot League All Stars as well as 2 All Americans, Bobby Maimaron and Johnny Antaya who were also invited to play in the Boston Lax.net All American Game. In true Duxbury tradition, ten seniors from the 2017 team are currently playing lacrosse at the college level.
Led by tri-captains Charlie Gans, Joe Gooley and George Rovegno, and 13 of their senior classmates, the 2018 edition of the Duxbury Dragons entered the season relatively un-heralded following the 2017 team’s loss in the Division I South Sectional Finals. However, much like their predecessors the 2018 quickly established themselves as a force in Massachusetts lacrosse. With a schedule filled with the top Massachusetts programs as well as perennial NY state power Garden City, defending NH state champion Bishop Guertin, and Washington state Div 3A runner-up Mercer Island, the Dragons proved once again that tradition never graduates. Playing hard-nosed, team-first lacrosse the Dragons surrendered double digit goals only once – to eventual NY state class B champion Garden City – and epitomized the adage that defense wins championships. An early season 2OT victory over Longmeadow helped the Dragons get off to a strong start. Following 2 tough, back-to-back road losses, first to Xaverian then to Garden City, the Dragons regrouped and ran off an impressive string of wins, culminating in a 10 day stretch during which they delivered dominating wins over Medfield, then state #1 and nationally ranked Hingham, and Lincoln Sudbury. With the Hingham win, Duxbury claimed its 18th league title of 19 dating back to 2000.
Unfortunately, the Dragons ran into a goaltending buzz-saw in the South Section quarterfinals. They didn’t go down without a fight though, losing a tough 2OT decision to Wellesley. While the season may have ended prematurely, this edition of the Dragons honored the traditions laid down by the 23 varsity teams that preceded them. At year-end, 7 players were named Patriot League All Stars.
The 2019 Duxbury Lacrosse season was led by Cole Biggins, Jack Venturelli, Matt Gill, and Duncan Gillis to the Division 1 South Finals. The Dragons had fourteen seniors who battled throughout the season and helped with many key wins that led to a Patriot League Title. In the regular season, Mike Mccutcheon led the Dragons to an overtime victory against Hingham to win the 19th Patriot League Title with a game winner! The Dragons faced many tough opponents that season including Ridgefield CT, Bishop Guertin, Lincoln Sudbury, Hingham and Medfield. The seniors were aided by many younger athletes including Will Prouty, Seamus Johnston, and Sam Heppenstall who all contributed immensely.
The Dragons had many great victories that year but, unfortunately lost to Hingham in overtime in the Division 1 South Final. It was a hard fought game by both sides. Although the Dragons did not accomplish the goal of a state championship, the season was yet another example of the Duxbury lacrosse traditions that will continue to be passed on in the future. At the end of the 2019 season Duxbury had a total of 6 Patriot league All-Stars as well as 2 All-Americans, Cole Biggins and Matt Gill. The tradition of hard work and fundamentals was brought to the college level by 10 of the 14 seniors.
This was an unprecedented year to say the very least. This season will forever be known as “the season that never was”. The pandemic of 2020 cancelled the promise for a class of very talented lacrosse players who, with captains Sam Heppenstall, Seamus Johnston and Will Prouty, were all eager to carry on the momentum from 2019. Despite the pandemic, several seniors emerged to play in college. Those players included Liam Dillon, Sam Heppenstall, Seamus Johnston, Will Phinney, Kyle Savery and Brett Souza.
After a year’s hiatus, lacrosse returned to Duxbury in 2021. The team led by Captains Will Nolan, Calvin Shepler, John Nagle and Will Leese played a schedule that included many of the best teams in the state. The Dragons reached the Division 1 South Semi-Finals to end an extraordinary season. To begin the season, Duxbury edged out a much-improved Marshfield team to win the Green Cup. The team also had a thrilling overtime finish against Norwell, with John Nagle delivering the winning goal as the Duxbury bench stormed the field. Ten seniors were aided by younger stars Ryan Nagle, Will McDonough, Delby Lemieux, Bowman Rhinesmith, Parker Villarin and Christian Biggins. The team rallied around Duxbury Lacrosse Alumni Hakeem Lecky after he suffered a traumatic injury and used his perseverance as an inspiration during the later half of the season and playoffs. The regular season concluded as the team battled Hingham in the first Patriot Cup. Despite a hard-fought back and forth game, the Dragons came up just short on a shot at the buzzer and lost 10-11.
The team bounced back with a big first round playoff win led by Will Nolan’s six-goal performance and a stout defense guided by Will Leese, Calvin Shepler and Colby Sheehan vs King Phillip. The season ended on the road in the Division 1 South Sectional quarterfinal with a tight loss to a solid Natick team 7-10. Despite not achieving what they might have hoped, the boys on the team brought hope back to the town by playing lacrosse and inspiring the next generation of lacrosse players. The team honored the traditions and play of the three decades of rich history of Duxbury Lacrosse that came before them. Six players were named Patriot League Allstars-Will Leese, John Nagle, Colby Sheehan, Calvin Shepler, Ryan Nagle, and Tony Coppola. Will Leese and Ryan Nagle were also selected to represent Duxbury in the Boston Lax All-American game. Four seniors from the 2021 team will continue the Duxlax traditions playing at the college level. Behind all the success every season, with this one being no exception, was the dedicated and firm leadership from Coaches Sweet and Fisher, who were celebrated at the end-of-season banquet for their 25 amazing years of coaching Duxbury Lacrosse.