WELLESLEY, Mass. –- Leslie Frank and her Westwood Wolverines are headed back to the MIAA Division I State Finals to face Longmeadow, as they defeated the Lincoln-Sudbury Warriors on Tuesday at Wellesley College, 15-7.
“I thought we played good,” Westwood senior attack Emily McGrail said. “I thought it was a really good game, it was one of the biggest games we played so far and even though we like kind of won the last time we played them, I think going into this game we knew that it was going to be just as hard as it was any other game.”
“They’re just very strong all over the field and the pressure was just [too much],” Lincoln-Sudbury head coach Deb DeJesus said. “The last two games that I saw them, the pressure that they put on the ball, created a lot of turnovers and it happened in this game too, [but] they just were too strong.”
Westwood (24-0-1) began the first half with four quick strikes, three of which came off the stick of McGrail (six goals).
The Warriors (20-3) regrouped after a quick timeout and registered three goals by sophomore attack Abby Quirk, as well as junior midfielders Rachel Sexton (two goals, assist) and Madison Acton, but eventually the Wolverines offense responded with a few more goals by McGrail and junior midfielder Laura McHoul (six goals), which helped Westwood secure a 8-5 halftime lead.
“Everybody can [score] and it’s who ever has the most opportunities and today it was Emily,” Frank said.
Kate Rich (three goals) jump-started the Wolverines offense in the second half before Sexton and senior attack Jenna Kabat netted two goals to pull within three points of Westwood at 13:47. However, the Wolverines offense ratcheted up their offensive pressure to score six more goals before the game was finished.
“In some senses, I think they really come together as a team even more in the postseason than in the season,” Frank said. “You have got to talk about defense, defense, defense and it’s tired and true, but defense wins big games. I won’t use that other 'C' word because that will be a kiss of death, but it wins big games.”
Frank’s defense in the second half, as well as goaltender Mollie Brown (eight saves) played terrific, as they kept the Warriors out of their zone and limited any scoring chances too.
“They just have a lot of good athletes and they’re very skilled,” DeJesus said. “The other factor is that they’ve been here so many times. They walk on this field with confidence and they were just too strong for us today.”
Westwood’s senior midfielder Sarah Biron played the entire game with a hip flexor injury, which was something Frank addressed after her teams win.
“She’s nursing a little bit of an injury, so we were actually asking her to be the supporter, not to be taking it in,” Frank said. “We didn’t think she had good power with her shots from yesterday’s practice, so we were asking her to be the feed, so I don’t know if they shut her down [because] we were asking her to be judicious with her shots.”
Westwood and Longmeadow will meet for the second time this season on Friday at Foley Stadium in Worcester, face-off is scheduled for 5:00pm.
“The stakes are so much different [this time] that you can’t even compare,” Frank said. “We know some of the players, so we’ll know how to play them, but it’s all about heart at this point.