WESTWOOD, Mass. -- Two years removed from the squads that faced off in four straight state semifinals, defending state championships No. 2 Westwood (5-1-0) looked poised and ready to repeat this Friday afternoon, while guest No. 14 Framingham (2-3-0) struggled for a second consecutive year with a 15-8 loss.
“It is always good for us to play them because they really do bring so much fire and intensity,” said Westwood senior Kate Rich. “We knew they were going to be aggressive and play a really fast paced game. We tried to slow them down and push the ball when we needed too.”
The two teams have won the last seven MIAA Division 1 state titles, with Westwood claiming four. The Wolverines showed that advantage early by opening with five straight scores and never looking back.
Westwood's attack was fronted with five goals from Rich and four tallies from senior Shelly Walsh. Fellow upperclassmen Laura McHoul buried a hat trick, while also assisting two.
Early Rhythm: Motioning the rubber around the back of the net, McHoul hugged the post where she found Rich out front for Westwood's opening tally at 21:24. Continuing to rotate the ball around the crease, the Wolverines were able to offset the defense and open up one-on-ones with Framingham sophomore keeper Aileen Kelly.
Using her hip for positioning, junior Marina Burke nailed a deep sidearm at 12:22 to put Westwood up 5-0.
“If we could beat (Aileen) with a two versus one down low that would be our best shot,” said Westwood coach Leslie Frank. “They started doubling down on the ball so we had to adjust as well.”
Good, But Not Enough: The Flyers cut the deficit to two by the 11th minute, but were unable to get any closer as Westwood gradually slipped away.
Sandwiching a Wolverine tally with a pair of goals, junior Casey Duggan broke halfway down the field and bodied through a group of defenders to score first for Framingham. Senior Maya Szymanski (three goals) forced a set piece and buried it at 3:40 in the first to trail 6-4.
The Flyers kept within three until 12:47 in the second half, but were outscored six-to-one for the remainder.
“Our team is really solid within eight meters and that is really what our whole sets are built on,” said Framingham coach Stacey Freda. “If we were even fifty percent more successful with our shots that is eight more goals.”
The Finishing Touch: Using a stutter-step to offset her defenders, Rich buried a set play midway through the second half to go up 10-6. With Westwood scoring three straight, McHoul caught a long toss out of the back corner of the Flyers' turf by Walsh and finished them off with a 12-6 score at 10:24.
“We did not take any cushions,” said Frank. “To be patient on offense not only gives your defense a break, but shows them how much you respect what they did.”
Aileen made 19 saves, while Westwood senior keeper Mollie Brown knocked away 24.