DRACUT — The Dracut High boys lacrosse team has reached the point in its development where there is no satisfaction derived from moral victories.

The Middies are sitting at the top of the Merrimack Valley Conference Division 2 standings and head into the regular season’s stretch drive with an 8-3 overall record.

Dracut has not only played well as a team all season, it has proven it can play with any team on its schedule.

In an MVC cross-over game Thursday, Dracut gave a perennially strong North Andover club all it could handle before losing, 9-7.

“Anytime you lose a game it’s tough,” said Dracut coach Paul Ganley. “There’s really no moral victories. The kids fought really hard. They didn’t quit. Even when we were down by a couple goals, they just kept grinding and digging.

“Our kids have been tough all year. They’re hard working kids. They’re good kids. Credit North Andover, they are a very talented team. The kids did a good job today elevating their game against a good team.”

Kyle Silva paced Dracut’s offense with three goals. Allyn French netted two goals and had one assist, while Max Kelley scored one goal and dished out two assists. Dante Bossetti scored one goal.

Dracut received a strong effort in net from Calvin Desmarais, who made 14 saves, including several point-blank stops.

After finishing with a 10-10 record and winning a state tourney game last spring, the Middies have the look of a team that is poised to take the next step.

The first objective on the Middies’ bucket list this season is securing the MVC Division 2 crown.

“I think it’s a big thing for us,” said French, a senior co-captain along with Kyle Durkin and Kyle McManus. “It’s something at the beginning of the year we all knew was in reach. But at the end of the day we have to go out and do it.

“We’re a group that’s been overlooked as long as I’ve been apart of this program. I’ve been in a lot of these games where we’ve taken our lumps. It’s nice to start to turn it around and be a program that teams see on the schedule and take notice that they’re playing Dracut.”

Dracut and North Andover were tied, 5-5, heading to the fourth quarter. After North Andover took a two goal lead Silva completed his hat trick, cutting the deficit to 7-6. North Andover built its advantage to 9-6 before French scored the Middies’ final goal with 2:05 left to play.

The Middies got strong efforts on defense/midfield from Lucas Ibarguen, Shawn MaGuire, Justin Bettencourt, Stephen Chisholm, McManus and Durkin.

“We didn’t graduate a whole lot from last year,” said Ganley, who is in his fifth season as Dracut’s head coach. “We had everybody coming back. The kids did a great job really buying into the off-season and really bought into to committing themselves to playing the game of lacrosse.

“This is something we’ve been working on for the last two-and-a-half to three years. It’s nice to see that their hard work is starting to pay off.”

Follow Carmine Frongillo on Twitter @cwfrongi