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Sports

June 19, 2014

Lax Lowdown: Counting down the top ten

There are highs and lows for every season and every sport we cover here at The Salem News. The common belief is these things are cyclical; a couple years on top is usually balanced out with a couple lean years.

This spring, it seemed like there was a tremendous amount of balance among the North Shore lacrosse teams — and it wasn’t middle-of-the-road balance. The level of lacrosse in 2014 was high. Boys and girls teams alike played well from the very first faceoff and deep into the state tournaments.

All that balance made for some of the best lacrosse games I can ever remember covering. So, with that in mind, here are my top 10 lacrosse games for the season, from good to best:

10. Bishop Fenwick at Peabody boys, May 3 — The Tanners haven’t lost to Fenwick in the four years that the Danish Cup has been played, but this battle was the closest and, arguably, most interesting in the series. Peabody’s 8-5 win was hard-earned, with goalie Matt Cloutman earning the MVP trophy.

Peabody came into the game having dropped six straight games, while the Crusaders were looking to keep moving toward a postseason berth. Fenwick’s first-year coach Ralph Ruocco also teaches the Junior ROTC unit at Peabody High, which added another element of interest. Fenwick senior goalie Nick Finan kept his team in the game, but Peabody was able to hold on for the win under the Saturday night lights.

9. Masconomet at North Andover girls, June 2 — Great games aren’t always about watching a local team win; sometimes the losses show just how much hard work it takes to derail a superior opponent. The Chieftains knew exactly what they were up against when they ran into North Andover in a North Division 1 semifinal, and while they were unable to pick up revenge for two regular season losses, they put up a worthy fight.

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