Worcester Prep, Decatur Set to Renew Neighborhood Rivalries

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BERLIN- Area lacrosse fans will be treated to an always-special spring event tomorrow when neighborhood rivals Stephen Decatur and Worcester Prep face off in both men’s and women’s varsity lacrosse as part of a large invitational tournament at the Berlin private school.

The Worcester Prep Invitational Tournament is set for tomorrow, April 3, for with both the men’s and women’s teams from Decatur and Worcester highlighting what should be a tough field of teams. The Seahawk and Mallard men’s teams face each other in the opening round at 10 a.m. at Worcester Prep on one field, while the Decatur girls face the Worcester girls on another field, also at 10 a.m.

In the other match-ups, the Kiski School (Pa.) faces the James M. Bennett boys in the first round, while the Manchester Valley (Carroll County) girls face the Centennial (Howard County) girls in the first round. The opening round winners will face off in a championship game in both the boys and girls divisions, while the losers in the first round will face each other in a consolation game. Each team in the tournament on both the boys’ and girls’ sides will play two games during the tournament.

While the eight-team field features some intriguing match-ups, the focus from a local standpoint will clearly be on the games between Worcester Prep and Decatur. It’s always special when the Mallards and Seahawks face each other in lacrosse and this year’s match-ups will be no different.

Players from both schools have grown up playing with and against each other in various youth leagues, winter indoor leagues and tournament travel teams and are very familiar with each other. If it’s true familiarity breeds content, the expression only applies between the lines on the lacrosse field for Decatur and Worcester. From whistle to whistle, the teams will play a knock down, drag out lacrosse game, but when the final whistle blows, players on both teams will share handshakes and hugs and tell war stories.

With the Worcester teams playing in the Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference (ESIAC) and the Decatur teams playing in the Bayside Conference, there is little at stake in terms of standings or rankings. What is at stake, however, are bragging rights for the next year.

Worcester Prep’s programs have been around much longer and have a deeper tradition, but Decatur has leveled the playing field somewhat in recent years in many respects. The annual neighborhood rivalry has produced some memorable contests for both the boys’ and girls’ teams over the years.

In 2007, the highly anticipated match-up between the Worcester and Decatur boys included a little bit of everything including rumbling thunder, a 30-minute lightning delay, great shots, big hits and lots of penalties, but in the end, the Mallards edged the Seahawks, 8-7, in front of a big bi-partisan crowd at Decatur. In 2008, the Decatur girls’ got the best of their cross-town rivals, beating the Mallards, 6-4. On the boys’ side, the Seahawks beat the Mallards, 13-8, behind Logan West, who dominated the face-off battle and also scored five goals.

Last year, the Worcester Prep boys’ beat Decatur, 5-4, in an overtime thriller on a goal by Justin Butler less than a minute into the extra period. The Decatur girls returned the favor last year, beating the Mallards, 7-4, in an uncharacteristically low-scoring game.

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