Monday, June 12, 2017

Duxbury Doubles-Up Needham for Spot in D1 South Final

By Jake Levin (@JakeLevin477)

NEEDHAM - Duxbury lacrosse is one step closer to snapping its five-year state championship drought.

The third-seeded Dragons hit the road and upended the second-seeded Needham Rockets, 14-7, in the Division 1 South semifinals, a game that Duxbury (17-5) controlled from the start.

Riley Bergstrom (five goals, assist) and Henry Weld (14 saves) were the pillars of the win for the Dragons, with the duo taking their respective games to another level as the postseason progresses.

But according to Duxbury head coach Chris Sweet, what everyone saw tonight from Bergstrom and Weld, he sees every day at practice for the Dragons.

“If you show up to our practice, they play like that in practice,” Dragons head coach Chris Sweet said after the game of his stars. “It’s good to see them carry it over to the game.”

Bobby Maimaron (three goals) also starred for Duxbury. The senior attack opened scoring at 1:53 of the first quarter to give the Dragons a lead they’d never lose a hold of.

Bergstrom netted the first of his five tallies at 8:55 of the quarter, only to see Needham’s Danny McEvoy respond some 19 seconds later.

Bergstrom rolled to the net and scored twice more in the quarter to swing things back in Duxbury’s favor, completing his hat trick with a momentous goal with five seconds left in the first.

“Riley, when he’s on his game, he’s a good shooter,” Sweet said of Bergstrom, who’s headed for Colby College in the fall. “He’s a leader and a captain.”

Eric O’Brien cut into the Dragons lead at 7:07 of the second quarter, only to see Bergstrom once again kill the momentum with a response roughly two minutes later. Duxbury led at the half, 5-2.

The Dragons took total control of the game in the third quarter, outscoring the Rockets 5-1 in the frame, and scored the first three goals of the fourth quarter to completely blow the doors open.

Needham (18-4) responded with a 4-0 run of its own as the game wound down, but Weld came up with five additional saves in the quarter to prevent things from spiraling out of control.

“Henry has been making big saves for us all season long, and as the season’s gone on, he’s just gotten better and better,” Sweet said of the Roger Williams University commit.

“Needham had a great offense, a bunch of great shooters, they were just solid all-around,” Weld said of the task at hand. “The game plan was to play it straight up and not play it special for anyone.”

Sweet, Bergstrom and Weld all agreed after the game that in order to conquer the top-seeded BC High Eagles (18-3), the Dragons are going to have to be even sharper than they were tonight.

“We’re going to have to take it up a notch,” Sweet said. “They’re a great team. They’re athletic and physical like we are. We’ll do our best.”

“Their defense is unbelievable, them and [Lincoln-Sudbury] are probably the top two defenses in the state,” Bergstrom said of the Eagles. “We know we have to run really hard and work really hard. That’s what it comes down to at this time of year, who wants it more at this time of year. We pride ourselves on playing as hard as we can for a full 48 minutes.”

Weld added that it would help if Duxbury took fewer penalties on Wednesday at Harvard Stadium in the Division 1 South finals.

“I think we’ve got to run man down a little better, a little more crisp,” Weld said. “I thought we had too many penalties today; we’ll clean that up.”

Since the realignment of 2013-14, it’s been one of the two schools hoisting the Division 1 South trophy. The Dragons won the region in each of the first two seasons of the alignment, while the Eagles are the defending champs.

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