Boston High School: Brooke Troy

Frank family fingerprints in D1 South lacrosse

June, 5, 2012

HINGHAM, Mass. -- Notre Dame of Hingham coach Meredith Frank remembers the three-mile runs that would frequent practices in her career at Westwood. As a player they would joke they ran more than the track team, though she now denies it was true.

It is this commitment to resilience that has led to five MIAA Division 1 championships for her mother and former coach Leslie Frank -- including two with Meredith playing -- and that has yearly produced college-ready athletes for top programs like Northwestern.

It was also this level of athleticism that pushed No. 3 seed Westwood (21-2) out of ahead of Meredith's second-seeded Panthers (21-2) on Tuesday and that helped it hold pace as they advanced to Division 1 South finals with an 18-8 road win.

“It was not always peaches and cream with her, but you were better off for it,” said Meredith Frank. “What made her different was the emphasis on athlete endurance and speed.”

“Our fitness can not let down just becaue it is cold and unfavorable,” added Leslie Frank.

Seniors Laura McHoul are Kate Rich are familiar with this standard having grabbed state titles in '09 and '11 under the Westwood skipper. Both players have played a crucial role in defending that crown all season and were no different on Thursday.

McHoul fronted all scorers with six goals and three assict, while Rich put in four and assisted a pair.

Junior Marina Burke started the Wolverines on a nine-goal streak to open by grabbing a free position assist from teammate sophomore Ela Hazar three minutes in. A cross-field assist from Hazar to McHoul made way for a backdoor score by freshman Brooke Troy and a 9-0 advantage at 6:16.

“We use weighted sticks in practice (and) it helps our sticks feel lighter,” said McHoul. “We go on long runs before practice then do
some sprint in practice. When we are running against a fast team we can compete.”

These stick drills are the same ones that helped Meredith develop her handle as youth and made way for both her and sister Alex to each win a pair of state titles. Both the Notre Dame headwoman and her younger sibling carried their talents to Northwestern where they contributed to six NCAA women’s lacrosse championship.

“She never waivers her philosophy,” said Meredith Frank of her mother. “She uses the same drills whether it is a 4th grader or 12th
grader. It is this philosophy that creates confident young women.”

Lacrosse success runs in the Frank lineage and so does the ability to coach it. Older brother Drew brought Colorado's smallest school, St. Mary's High in Colorado Springs, to its first winning season at 8-6. In Hingham, Meredith has taken a perennial playoff program and turned it to a title contender.

“(Leslie) started coaching me in youth lacrosse in fifth grade and was a big part of lacrosse taking of in Westwood,” said Meredith Frank. “Everything I know about coaching is a combination mother and Northwestern coach Kelly [Amonte Hiller].”

A behing the crease isolation run by junior Amelia Brown helped break the shutout for Notre Dame at 4:35 as the Panthers went on their longest run off the night. Teammate junior Alex Dalton whipped a sidearm set piece in the final seconds to cut the score to 9-3 at halftime.

Despite both teams scoring to open the second, Rich motioned completely around the crease then buried a low rip to prompt a four-tally run at 20:33. Burke caught a cross net assist from teammate sophomore Healy to put the Wolverine's up 14-4 six minutes later.

The Panthers would never cut back within nine.

“A large part of the plan was to force them out without swinging and forcing fouls,” said Leslie Frank. “They have so many well-trained shooters. I respect the job she has done, but when I am coaching I do not really think about her.”

D1 girls lax: Westwood 19, Wellesley 3

May, 31, 2012

WESTWOOD, Mass. -- Two time state girls' lacrosse champions Laura McHoul and Kate Rich not only know what it takes to win a title, but showed they are ready to defend their crown this afternoon.

Battling from opposite sides of the crease, the seniors worked passing lanes and found openings all afternoon as they lead defending champs No. 3 Westwood (20-0) to the Division 1 South semifinals with a 19-3 defeat of guest No. 6 Wellesley (12-8) at Flahive Field.

The Wolverines have eliminated Wellesley from five straight postseason, while winning four of the last eight state titles.

“Laura and I have a lot of experience and we are trying to pass that
down,” said Rich. “We have a young team. One of our focuses was off ball movement and I think we did a really good job of that.”

Rich netted five and assisted three, while McHoul both tallied and assisted four.

Opening with nine straight, Westwood put an additional 15 shots on goal as it rumbled ahead early and never looked back.

Spread Out and Attack: The Wolverines look to spread out their opponents then attack the openings. Working McHoul rear of the crease and Rich up top, the seniors bobbed in and out testing isolated openings and finding horizontal passing lanes.

Rich backed up her defender and buried a shot over the keeper's shoulder in the first few seconds for the Wolverines first score, while McHoul slipped in behind the net to assist a quick flicked finish by sophomore Ela Hazar for a 9-0 lead at 9:49 in the initial half.

“Our goal is to spread it out more,” said Westwood coach Leslie Frank. “(Laura) sees openings and hits the pass well. If Kate is behind, Laura can finish.”

Push 'Em Back: Coach Frank aimed to double high and push the Raiders towards the halfway line. This defense was effective in forcing backwards offensive motion as Westwood limited Wellesley to one shot-on-goal in the first eleven minutes.

A pair of unassisted second-half tallies from freshman Caroline Bradley and junior Molly Connelly, at 7:33 and 4:23 respectively, were a brief sign of attacking life for the Raiders.

“We tried to spread them out as much as we could, but they put us under a ton of pressure,” said Wellesley first-year coach Sarah Dacey. “We knew they were going to double, so we prepared the girls for that. This is a team you have to spread out and create lanes.”

Finishing Touch: A penalty effort by junior Annie Valle to open Wellesley's scoring at 4:32 in the first was quickly squashed by eight straight from the Tri-Valley League champs.

Rich caught a pair of back net assist for two late first half goals, while twelve minutes into the second half freshman Brooke Troy buried two off penalties chances to produce a 17-1 deficit.

“We do a lot of work on draw control (which) is key to gaining the first two possessions (and) makes you feel some confidence,” said Frank. “That was the key to them executing well with confidence.”

Westwood grabbed five of the first seven draws, while finishing with a three win advantage.

Family First: Westwood faces tomorrow’s winner between No. 2 seed Notre Dame of Hingham (20-1) and No. 7 Newton North (13-5-1), with the date to be decided. A win by the Cougars would set up the first match up between Notre Dame coach Meredith Frank and mother Leslie.

“I am looking forward to it,” said Leslie Frank of the opportunity. “We try to do the right thing from the sidelines, but very little at this point happens from a coaches standpoint. It is out of both of our hands.”