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August 20, 2013

Fantasy Matchups: 2003 Beverly vs. 2010 St. John's Prep lacrosse

Picking a winner between the area's two best-ever lacrosse teams no easy task

(Continued)

Now, three years after St. John’s won its title, it’s time to have a discussion.

Let the debate begin.

The Great Motivator

Disappointment can be a great motivator, and both Beverly and St. John’s Prep took symbolic steps back before moving forward.

The Panthers, who had seemingly been on the brink of a breakthrough for a few seasons, took Duxbury to the final seconds of the 2002 championship game. Trailing by one goal, Beverly turned to the North Shore’s all-time leading scorer, Craig Boaman, in hopes of extending the season. His shot missed wide, however, and the Panthers marinated in that sting for a full offseason.

Beverly had been climbing the ranks, but was still looking for respect from the traditional South Shore powers. The loss left a storm brewing inside a tight group of teammates that expected to win.

“We went in (to high school) knowing or expecting to be successful by the time we left Beverly High. We weren’t soft-spoken. I remember saying sophomore year that we were going to win a state championship by the time we leave,” Beverly’s Larry Kline, the team’s goalie, said. “That was drilled in us from youth league.

“We were good as a group, and that collaboration carried us through high school. The pride of wanting to succeed and represent Beverly High lacrosse, and playing the way we knew we were capable of, made us successful.”

St. John’s Prep was a little less outspoken about its strength in the years leading up to its championship. There was, however, internal confidence. How could the Eagles not believe in themselves with an excellent core of players like James Fahey, Jeff Dube, Mark Macdonald, Colin Blackwell and Garrett Campbell, to name a few?

The Eagles knew they had to bite before they started barking because at that time Duxbury was completely entrenched in its dynastic run. They believed they were ready to overtake the Green Dragons in 2009, especially after ending Duxbury’s in-state win streak. But just like Beverly seven years earlier, they suffered a heart-stomping defeat in the state championship game.

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