Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Postgame Blog and Highlights: Groton-Dunstable Outlasts Marlboro

Groton-Dunstable sophomore Liam McDonough (12) and senior Nick Irby (2) celebrate a fourth quarter goal.
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

Thanks to a 6-0 run in the third and fourth quarter, Groton-Dunstable pulled away from Marlboro to win 13-9, in what had been a competitive game to that point on Tuesday afternoon.

In fact, the Crusaders (7-3, 1-3 Mid-Wach A) scored three goals in the final 25 seconds of the third quarter, thanks to three straight face-off victories and a pair of scores by sophomore Liam McDonough. At the seven-minute mark of the third, Groton-Dunstable was tied with Marlboro (8-2, 4-0 Mid-Wach C) 5-5, but the Crusaders' advantage in possession time, and just overall energy, carried them to a dominating finish.

Here are a few takeaways, with video highlights at the bottom.

Groton-Dunstable on a Roll

I hadn't yet seen the Crusaders this season, but consider me a believer after this one. Whether it was the ball movement up front and in the midfield, with guys like Nick Irby, Kyle Lacombe, Michael Tammaro, Jack O'Neil, Owen Torgerson and Mitchell Townsend all registering multiple points, McDonough's dominance at the face-off X, where he won 21 of 26 draws, or tight play on the back end, where Dillon Ebechardt and the rest of the poles stayed tight in front of goalie Ryan McLean, this team showed out on all levels.

The Crusaders have won seven in a row since opening the year 0-3, and head into Thursday's game against improving Nashoba with a chance to get on track in Mid-Wach A. The Crusaders will then welcome St. John's on Saturday, before diving back into league play next week with games against Algonquin and Wachusett.

Basically, G-D is playing its best lacrosse of the year, and it couldn't have come at a better time.

"We still have a lot of work to do, we've got to put together four good quarters," coach Rick Arena said. "When we do start playing our game, good things happen, but we're peaking at the right time and heading into Mid-Wach A, where it's always a grind."

"When we possess the ball and execute the offense, we know we can be a pretty good team," middie Jack O'Neill said. "We've just got to keep executing, and we'll keep scoring goals."

McDonough's Big Day

Not only did sophomore Liam McDonough score four goals and go 21-5 at the face-off X, he also grabbed four ground balls, and served as a stabilizing force with the ball on his stick. The physical middie scored a pair of goals in transition right off the draw, but also benefited from his teammates' ability to fight for possession off of contested draws.

"I just don't want to let (Marlboro) go down and score," McDonough said. "I just want to battle for the ground ball with my teammates, so that we can maintain possession and go create some offense."

Much is said about some of the older players in the region, but look out for this McDonough kid. He's for real.

Marlboro Out of Gas

Give all the credit in the world to Groton-Dunstable, who could be a major mover in our Power Rankings next week, especially if they can top St. John's Saturday, but Marlboro was clearly feeling the effects of an overtime game it won against Nashoba the day before.

The Panthers looked a step slow on ground balls and, while McDonough is clearly a very good face-off guy, they just couldn't gain possession on the draw, even when it turned into a ground ball situation.

The Panthers started slow, falling into a 3-0 hole, but seemed to find their legs in the second quarter. Unfortunately for Marlboro, those legs faded in the late third and early fourth quarter, and the Panthers just didn't have enough to keep up with a very good Crusader team.

Still, the potential of this team is no doubt exciting. With sophomores like Evan Doherty and Ryan Mechler, and a frosh phenom like Dom Carter, Marlboro's best days are yet to come. Don't sleep on the Panthers the rest of the way, this team has the talent to play with anyone on a given day.


Due to inclement weather, I wasn't able to tape the entire game and do full highlights, but here are a few of Groton-Dunstable's goals from the second half as the Crusaders pulled away from Marlboro.

Groton-Dunstable Pulls Away From Marlboro from Joe Parello on Vimeo.

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