SUDBURY, Mass. -- Seconds away from the semifinals keeper Meg Mullin stared down Framingham ace Melissa Renauld and told her self she was not going to lose.
It was the second free position play she had faced in the final 30 seconds, but Mullin had the extra step. As she nipped a lofty rip out of the air, the Lincoln-Sudbury sophomore watched the final eight seconds click off the clock. The top-seeded Warriors (21-1) had weather the late rush of guest No. 9 Framingham (12-8) at Myers field on Friday and held on to a 7-6 victory to take an extra step towards their second Division I North title.
“I looked at the girl and the ball and said 'you are not going to get a goal.',” said Mullin. “As long as I kept telling myself that, I saw
the ball come in and put my stick on it. I was ready to go home.”
L-S stepped into the five minute mark with a 7-4 lead, but fell victim to a free position finish and an isolation tally by Flyers' senior Maya Szymanksi at 4:06 and 3:32, respectively, in the second. A foul in the final 30 seconds gave possession to Framingham who
forced another pair of near net fouls.
Caroline Vonachen created an extra free position with an opposite side lob to teammate Renauld, while Renauld shot high into Mullins' grasp on the second.
“We were looking at the stick positions on the field to see what we were going to have,” said Framingham coach Stacey Freda. “The first was an eight meter mark in which the angle was not too great so instead we made a pass right across the eight meter. A kid got in shooting space so we got the ball back.”
Mullins and Framingham goalie sophomore Aileen Kelly played a big role for their squads, with eight saves each.
Quick off the Draw: L-S prides itself in quick efforts off draws and steals. Seniors Madison Acton and Rachel Sexton are a major part of that speed.
The Duke-bound Acton tallied three goals and two assist, while future Notre Dame midfielde Sexton finished with a pair and one assist. Acton scored off the initial draw in 23 seconds and battled another face off victory to draw out the defense for a backdoor score by Sexton at 8:51 in the first.
The score started a four goal streak for L-S who finished with a steal and score by senior Sarah Ganio for a 5-2 halftime lead.
“When we get the ball we know we are pretty fast (to) bring the ball down and control it,” said L-S coach Deb DeJesus. “The key to this game was getting the draws and once we get the draws we just need to control possession. If we have a fast break opportunity we will take it.”
Slow and Steady: The Flyers worked passes in a wide box around the goal to slow down play and limit efforts from an athletic Warriors squad. L-S averaged 19.6 points per game, but was held to only one score in the first sixteen minutes.
Working a couple minutes off the clock a-piece, Vonachen and Renauld force set positions for a 2-1 Framingham lead at 8:34.
“We did not want to get into a track meet,” said Freda. “We were not confident to match them in the midfield and a transitional game.”
Even when trailing, Framingham stuck to their patient attacking scheme.
“We were looking for if they were making any proactive slides or slashers inside,” said Freda. “Even though they are sets, not plays, we were looking to see if we could get a mismatch on the inside for any easier catch and turn shot.”
Early Tradeoff: Renauld and junior Kaitlyn Wilder were able to use shoulder positioning to score off outside cuts and push the margin to 5-4 in the first five minutes of the second half. L-S responded with a turn-around finish by Acton at 14:14 and a tally off a slide by sophomore Whitney Hartstone seven minutes later.
“There (are) a lot of ups and down,” said DeJesus. “We have some girls who are young as far as experience and this kind of game
prepares us for tougher games ahead.”
L-S advances to battle the tomorrow's victor between No. 4 North Andover (15-5) and No. 5 Masconomet (16-3), with the date to be