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Groton-Dunstable rolls past Algonquin for 8th-straight win

Groton-Dunstable’s Connor Estes bodychecks Algonquin’s John Patterson. Nashoba Valley Voice/Ed Niser
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SOUTHBORO – The Groton-Dunstable boys’ lacrosse team did something that it has not done since the days of Danny Eipp, who went on to have a strong collegiate career at Harvard and was drafted in the fourth round of the Major League Lacrosse draft by the Rochester Rattlers (now with the Florida Launch).

The Crusaders defeated Algonquin (1-4) for the first time since 2010 in Tuesday afternoon’s clash at 911 Memorial Field in Southboro under driving rain.

Groton-Dunstable used four goals from senior attack man Blake Lacombe to shoot past the Tomahawks, 12-6, extending its unbeaten streak to eight. Senior midfielder Jack O’Neill chimed in with 2 goals and 3 assists.

“Algonquin is always at the top,” said Groton-Dunstable head coach Rick Arena. “They are always a tough team. It is always a great win We earned it man -that was a very tough game.”

The unbeaten stretch features wins over perennial Central Mass powers: Westboro, Wachusett and Tyngsboro.

What’s been the secret to the Crusaders’ quick start?

“I think we have a lot of athletes,” said Arena. ” I don’t think that we have any superstars on this team. but we have guys who want to work. We’ve got guys for the first time playing varsity lacrosse. Everybody is trying to work together and get better – that’s the key.”

Junior goalie Nevin Tardif stonewalled 8 shots to preserve the victory for Groton-Dunstable.

“At the beginning of the season, the goalie position was an unknown,” said Arena. “Nevin came out and was a blessing. Our defense has been keeping us in a lot of games with Nevin back there stealing a lot of goals. We’ve got Nevin playing out of his head – he has done a phenomenal job.”

Algonquin’s Andrew Cammarano scored on an unassisted strike with 7:51 remaining in the opening quarter. Cammarano hummed the ball inside the left post just outside of Tardif’s reach.

The Crusaders responded swiftly, as O’Neill drove with the ball and flipped a pass over to the charging Mitchell Townsend, who skipped it home to tie the game at 1-1.

Groton-Dunstable struck before the horn sounded on the first quarter. The Crusaders cycled the ball around the offensive zone looking for the final shot of the opening frame. Connor Estes collected a pass from Liam McDonough and buried the ball inside the low-left post to claim a 2-1.lead.

The Tomahawks tested Tardif in the second quarter and the goalie aced the test. Tardif deflected consecutive shots from Matt Cannon.

Will Labbe tied the game on an unassisted marker with 9:10 remaining in the second quarter. Groton-Dunstable closed the half on a 3-0 run behind goals from Nathan Townsend, Lacombe and Michael Tammaro . The highlight of the sequence came on the goal from Nathan Townsend, when he capitalized on a rebound chance with a sweeping shot.

The defense held true to send the Crusaders into the half with a 5-2 lead.

“I liked what I saw on offense – having the patience that we did,” said Arena. “They weren’t anxious about the ball. I am happy to get out of here with a win.”

Algonquin out-shot the Crusaders, 22-17.

Local scores from Monday and Tuesday

BOYS’ LACROSSE
North Middlesex 6
Lunenburg 3

GIRLS’ LACROSSE

Tyngsboro 8
North Middlesex 7

The Patriots and Tigers went to triple overtime. Tyngsboro’s Sarah Hammerstone ended the game with her goal with 1:22 remaining in the third OT.Molly O’Neal and Hannah Nolan scored twice for the host Patriots (3-4, 1-2)

SOFTBALL

Ayer Shirley 4
West Boylston 2

Sydney Greeno fanned 13 and Jenn McGrath went 2 for 4 in the road win for the Panthers (2-1, 1-0 Mid-Wach E).

BASEBALL

West Boylston 6
Ayer Shirley 3

Nick Granger had an RBI single for the visiting Panthers, who dip to 2-2 and 0-1 in the Mid-Wach E.

BOYS’ TENNIS

Groton-Dunstable 4
Bromfield 1

Kai Georges and Avi Jivanani were victorious in singles play. On the doubles-side, the duos of Alex Valles-Alex Dai and Pranav Hari-Josh Mayer picked up wins for the Crusaders over Bromfield. Groton-Dunstable improves to 1-1 on the season.

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