Saturday, June 18, 2011
Westwood makes it 3 of 4 over Longmeadow
By Matt Noonan
WORCESTER, Mass. -- For the third time in four years, the Westwood Wolverines girls' lacrosse team beat the Longmeadow Lancers in the the Division I MIAA State final on Friday at Foley Stadium, 15-9.
"This is probably one of the happiest moments in my life," Westwood's senior attack Emily McGrail said. "Not even winning [three championships], but being able to win one right here with all my teammates. I couldn't ask for such a better team this year. I thought we were all around great and we definitely deserved to win this year."
"[Westwood's] one of the top teams in the country for a reason," Longmeadow head coach Steve Dudeck said. "Hats off to them, they had a great season."
Westwood's junior midfielder Laura McHoul (five goals, two assists) helped the Wolverines jump out to a quick 4-1 lead when she registered three goals and dished out an assist in a span of 14 minutes.
Longmeadow answered after McHoul's first strike when senior midfielder Hannah McGrath netted a goal at 21:13.
The Lancers managed to come within two points of the Wolverines during the final seven minutes of the first half, but Westwood pulled away, as McHoul and Kate Rich (two goals, one assist) added two more goals before the break.
"We knew [there wasn't] a lot of time was left and we wanted to go into the half with some good momentum," Rich said. "What our team did really well with was keeping possession and pulling it together a good part of the game."
Ela Hazar (one goal, three assists), Sarah Biron and Rich extended Westwood's lead during the opening minutes of the second half before Longmeadow attempted a small comeback that wasn't so successful. Junior midfielder Eileen McDonald and freshman midfielder Jillian Scyocurka each scored twice before Biron secured the win for the Wolverines with back-to-back strikes.
"I think they were building confidence as they got more goals, but I think we were damn nervous," Westwood's head coach Leslie Frank said. "I counted about six turnovers, that was our halftime speech. We really needed better stick protection and you really needed sharper passes because [Longmeadow] kept knocking them down, so I think the adjustment in the second half helped a lot. They were much more careful with their possessions. "
After Longmeadow's senior attack Sarah Hannigan recorded her second goal of the game, Westwood retrieved the ball after the final face-off to run out the clock before the entire bench stampeded onto the turf to celebrate yet another championship.
"We wanted to [win this game] for the seniors," McHoul said. "They deserved it. They worked so hard throughout the whole season."
"All 50-minutes, we worked really hard and I couldn't ask for such a better game for us to end our season," McGrail said.
The Wolverines returned to Westwood a few hours later and were escorted back to the high school in grand fashion, as sirens blared throughout the town to notify the champion's return.
"This is incredible and I'm just so proud of our team. Our seniors have worked so hard for this and it all goes out to them," Rich said.