NORWELL, Mass. -- Kate Rich ducked one defender, saw the hole and jetted towards the net.
Quickly finishing over the keeper's shoulder, the senior pumped her fist as she yelled at her teammates to keep going. It was only Westwood's second tally, but Rich and her fellow Wolverines made it clear early that they were not taking their Division 2 South opponents lightly.
Rolling to an 18-6 triumph over host No. 12 Norwell (10-7), the third-ranked defending Division 1 state champs (16-2) added another
impressive girls' lacrosse victory to their belt on Thursday.
“We love to play teams that fight from start to finish,” said Westwood head coach Leslie Frank.“We were battling for the ball and working together. We work the zone then watch the opening behind or on the opposite side.”
The Tri-Valley champs put away Norwell by outscoring it 11 to one in the final twenty minutes. A pair of side net cuts for scores by senior Shelly Walsh and sophomore Ela Hazar caught the defense shifted off to put the Wolverines ahead 9-5 at 19:26.
A falling over finish off a counterattack by sophomore Kasey Keane
finished the run fifteen minutes later.
“We always stack up high and are looking for that one second where the defender turns her head,” said senior Laura McHoul. “You can not just shoot or just pass the ball. You (have) to be a threat from both.”
Sophomore Jamison O'Neil buried five for Westwood in the second half, including an front net cut for a 16-6 lead and her third consecutive goal at 8:09. O'Neil totaled seven goals and one assist, while McHoul was a constant threat behind the keeper with two tallies and six assists.
“If we can draw the shooting space (things) works a lot better,” said O'Neil. “You have to be really fast to run right through that. Keep your team moving (and) pump fake so it looks like you are going to shoot.”
Tough Draw: The Clippers out drew Westwood 10 to one in the first half. Despite producing one less shot on goal, Norwell fell victim to an early 4-0 hole. Westwood rolled away in the second half by besting 11 of fifteen draws.
“We started working together,” said Frank. “Everyone goes after the
ball high instead of one going after the ball high and the other low
like you should.”
Clipping Away At The Lead: The South Shore League champion Clippers were able to bring the score within a pair three times.
Sophomore Lexa Grasz opened the scoring for the Clippers down 4-0
with an upfront assist from teammate senior Ashley Allington and a set piece finish twelve minutes in. Norwell junior Devon Croke snuck through the side of the defense to slice the lead to 5-3 six minutes later, while junior Maddie Ward finished an impressive solo breakaway to push a 7-5 score at 22:03.
“It was difficult to control their offensive cuts,” said Norwell coach Kara Connerty. “We wanted to utilize all the speed we had offensively. Really just to push it and take it to the cage when we had it.”
Tricky Record: Norwell's record speaks more to difficulty of schedule than overall strength. The Clippers played seven games against Division 1 playoff-bound teams this season, including five losses against teams ranked in the top five of ESPNBoston's poll.
The 2009 and 2010 Division 2 champs will see none of these teams in
“This is the level we look to be at,” said Connerty. “This special
competition better prepares us for postseason play.”