Wellesley midfield stifles Framingham

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- Never short on speed, the Framingham girls lacrosse team usually feasts on turnovers and turns them into transition goals with its seemingly endless fleet of jet-quick midfielders.

But the aptly-named Flyers ran into a Wellesley midfield Tuesday that never allowed that to happen, as the Raiders controlled the tempo from start to finish in a 9-5 win, handing the defending Division 1 state champions a rare second straight loss after falling to Westborough last week.

Blake Dietrick (four goals, three assists), Abby Bunting, Maggie Dore and Molly McNamara suffocated the Flyers, who only managed nine shots on net and were never able to get into much of an offensive rhythm.

“Our defense starts with our attack because we set up a zone that tries to slow down and stop the midfielders from breaking through into the attacking half,” said Dietrick, whose Raiders improved to 2-0-1 overall and 2-0 in the Bay State Conference. “And so when our diamond (zone) was slowing them down, the midfielders were getting back and marking up. And when all that came together, it allowed our ‘D’ to be set when we got down to be settled sevens.”

Framingham (1-2, 1-1 BSC) did a decent job of possessing the ball and getting into its settled offense, but Wellesley’s defenders consistently checked balls loose and batted down passes to force turnovers and keep the Flyers from generating quality shots.

“Today especially we were matched up a lot (one-on-one),” said standout Framingham midfielder Rachel Igoe of Dietrick and Bunting. “Blake’s a very versatile player. They’re very aggressive. We know a lot about each other, so we kind of know what to expect and what’s going to happen.”

Despite being hounded by her MassElite teammates, Igoe (two goals, assist) and sophomore midfielder Melissa Renauld (two goals) scored to cut Wellesley’s lead to 3-2 with 5:58 remaining in the first half.

But Raiders coach Chris Molonea called a timeout to preach a more patient attack, and it worked, as Wellesley reeled off the final three goals of the half, capped by a Bunting tally off a Dietrick feed, to make it 6-2.

“Between our rushing and the fine play of the young (Framingham) goalie (freshman Aileen Kelly), it probably could have been a bigger bulge (at the half),” Molonea said.

Framingham wasn’t able to get closer than three goals in the second half despite winning four of the final five draws, as they simply turned the ball over too much to make a serious run at the Raiders.

With these perennial powers set to meet later in the season for a non-league contest and a possible third tilt if they make it through their respective sectionals, Dietrick knows the bragging rights will last only so long.

“We know that (Framingham is) going to be stronger than ever (later in the season),” said the Princeton-bound senior. “So this is a good confidence boost for our team and a good step forward... But we know we still have a long way to go and they’re going to be ready to kick our butts when we play them again. So we have to be better by that time of the season.”