Boston High School: Ela Hazar


BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. – Tuesday’s Division 2 girls’ hockey state semifinal between Sandwich and Westwood was a matchup of one of the state’s top lines against one of the state’s most balanced forward line combinations.

Although the Blue Knights’ top trio left their mark, it was the Wolverines’ depth which eventually won out in a 4-3 victory.

Sophomore forward Kailey Jacobs’ goal at 14:30 of the third period advanced Westwood past the semifinal for the first time in program history, despite having played in the semis in each of the last three years.

Westwood (15-2-5) will play Wellesley in Sunday’s final at TD Garden (time to be announced).

While the Blue Knights (15-10-1) rode their top troika of Claire Gauthier, Maggie Layo and Katie Lowry to within a step of the Garden ice, Westwood remained a step quicker and a bit fresher in a tie game late in the third period, with head coach Justin DeSorgher consistently rolling three lines.

“I think running our three lines most of the third period really helped us rest up when we went on the ice and we gave it our all every shift,” Jacobs said.

The Wolverines opened scoring at 4:38 when Kelly Healey beat Allison Hir with a one-timer off off an Ela Hazar centering pass.

The Blue Knights tied the game, 1-1, about two minutes later as Gauthier put back a rebound of a Layo shot on the power play.

The Wolverines distanced themselves in the early part of the second period, however. Senior forward Catherine Barrett score the go-ahead at 3:49, with an assist from Olivia Fay, before Hazar’s lazer-like slap shot slipped over Hir’s shoulder from an impossible angle.

But Sandwich utilized its power play to get back in the game once more, with Gauthier and Layo teaming up for another goal (Gauthier’s team-leading 32nd on the season) on the man-advantage at 10:02.

“Every time I look up and see No. 6 [Gauthier], I got nervous,” DeSorgher said. “Claire’s a great player.”

Sandwich tied the score, 3-3, at 8:45 of the third, with Layo notching her third point of the game. Layo had missed her previous shift after being hobbled on an attack-zone check, but showed no worse for the wear, putting back a rebound of Lowry’s shot.

Gauthier also picked up her third point of the game on the secondary assist.

While the Blue Knights had several chances in the waning moments of the game to claim a late lead, Jacobs became the hero with 29.3 seconds to play, driving the net.

“That play doesn’t happen with out the effort of Allie Damren as well,” DeSorgher said. “She went hard up the side, chipping that puck ahead. Allie’s a fabulous player and she’s really rounded into her game this year.”

Back it up: Westwood’s team speed and tenacity on the backcheck paid dividends in the third period – both in keeping the game tied and then in the lead-up to Jacobs’ eventual game-winner.

“We talked about that before the game,” DeSorgher said, “after the first period, after the second period, during the third period -- picking up that third player, fourth player, fifth player of theirs. At least two of their three goals were somebody playing smart hockey and staying high.”

While Sandwich’s top line of Gauthier, Layo and Lowry was dominant once again, the Wolverines countered with three lines’ worth of stick checks, subtle nudges and back-side pressure.

In fact, Westwood’s back-checking prowess

“We were just trying to back-check hard, and get on the puck, and take the body, and that just developed into the goal,” Jacobs said.

D2 girls quarter: Westwood 4, Shrewsbury 2

March, 8, 2014
BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. – With only one game under its belt in the last 15 days, Westwood girls’ hockey head coach Justin DeSorgher was worried how long it was take his Wolverines to get their feet back under them.

But those worries were put to sleep early as just 21 seconds into the game Kim Egizi scored her first of three goals on a deflection down low, leading the fourth-seeded Wolverines to a 4-2 victory over No. 12 Shrewsbury in the Div. 2 quarterfinals.

“Last game we had a rough first period,” said Edizi. “Our goal was to go in in that first period and go as hard as we possibly could and that first couple shirts and just get it low and get that momentum.”

The Wolverines used their team speed to slow own the Shrewsbury attack and dominate time on attack, as seen with their 21-11 shot advantage. The standout was the second period when the Wolverines launched 10 shots on net and broke through for two power-play goals, both from Egizi.

Staring down a 3-1 deficit heading into the third period, the Colonials caught a break and build up some momentum to end the period.

With 1:23 left in the period, Lauren Ineson picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and skated in for a breakaway, to bring Shrewsbury within one.

“Big, big momentum and we almost scored with 10 seconds to go right after that,” Shrewsbury head coach Frank Panarelli said. “But we had some momentum but just a couple bounces and breaks weren’t there.”

But Westwood stiffened up in the third period and kept the Colonials off the board while getting an insurance goal from Ela Hazar to advance into the semifinals.

“We can score quick, I actually like how we more than when we scored,” DeSorgher said. “I thought our two big advantages against that team were speed and depth.”

“Overall I wasn’t happy with our speed and I thought we played to their level a little bit.”

Crashing the net: The Westwood goals weren’t flashy but were plenty effective. Over the past two weeks, the Wolverines have been preaching to keep the puck low and crash the net and Egizi bought into that system.

“I think one of our goals were to get shots on net and just crash and all three of my goals were out in front of the net,” said Egizi. “Lauren White was just rocketing shots from the top and I was just in front of the net and got my stick on it.”

Having a pair of power play goals in the middle period was the difference for Westwood, once again set up by getting bodies in front.

“We had a shot from the point and got bodies in front and we got a piece of it,”

DeSorgher said. “We have tried to preach that and been successful when we do it but get away from it at times.”

Back to the semifinals: Another year, another trip to the semifinals for Westwood. This marks the third year in a row that the Wolverines are on the cusp of playing at the Garden.

With Falmouth on the other side of the Div. 2 bracket, the Wolverines will avoid their kryptonite that has ended their season the last two years.

With their repeated success in the postseason over the last three years however, Westwood doesn’t take it for granted.

If you make an expectation of something that tangible and don’t make it, how do you feel?” said DeSorgher. “We want to keep improving each day and get better and better.”

ESPN Boston Girls Lacrosse MIAA All-State Team

June, 29, 2013

Isabella O'Connor, Jr. A, Notre Dame (Hingham)
The Plymouth resident racked up both U.S. Lacrosse and Under Armour All-American honors as the Cougars grabbed their first Division 1 state title in program history. O'Connor registered 56 goals, 15 assists, 40 ground balls and 33 forced turnovers on the season. She is verbally committed to the University of Florida.

Maddie Stenberg, Sr. A, Needham
Stenberg was named the Bay State Conference's MVP after leading the Rockets to a 20-3 campaign and D1 South semifinals appearance. She was named a U.S. Lacrosse All-American, and leaves Needham with 439 career points. She will continue her career next year at Penn State.

Amy Arnold, Sr. A, Masconomet
The Cape Ann League's Player of the Year registered 71 goals and 19 assists as the Chieftains reached the semifinals of the D1 North tournament. Arnold was named a U.S. Lacrosse All-American, and will continue her career next year at the University of Florida.

Alex Dalton, Sr. M, Notre Dame (Hingham)
The recipient of this year's prestigious ESPN Boston Miss Lacrosse Award, Dalton led an explosive Cougars attack to their first D1 state title in program history. She registering 76 goals, 15 assists, 79 ground balls, 69 draw controls and 61 forced turnovers, and leaves the program with 303 career goals and 44 career assists. Dalton was named both a U.S. Lacrosse and Under Armour All-American, and will play next year at Notre Dame.

Marina Burke, Sr. M, Westwood
Burke totaled 48 goals and 39 assists for the Wolverines as the long-time Tri-Valley League juggernaut once again reached the D1 South Final. She was named a U.S. Lacrosse All-American, and will continue her career next season at Harvard University.

Megan Hennessy, Sr. M, Winchester
A three-time selection, Hennessy had a career-high 91 goals and 55 assists in leading the Sachems to the Division 2 State Final. She leaves Winchester with 290 goals and 163 assists for her career, and will continue her career next season at Harvard.

Bailey Mongillo, Sr. M, Westford Academy
Mongillo took the competitive Dual County League by storm this spring, recording 108 goals and 33 assists as the Grey Ghosts captured the D1 North title to cap an unprecedented season. She leaves Westford with 420 career points, and will continue her career next year at Villanova University.

Ela Hazar, Jr. M, Westwood
A repeat All-State selection, the dynamic speedster led the Wolverines' potent attack with 90 goals and 40 assists, to garner U.S. Lacrosse All-American honors. Hazar is verbally committed to the University of North Carolina.

Alexa Cambi, Jr. M, Longmeadow
The Lancers dominated the Western Mass. scene once again, and Cambi was at the forefront, leading the way with 57 goals as they reached the D1 State Final. Cambi was named a U.S. Lacrosse All-American for her efforts.

Taylor O’Connell, Sr. D, Algonquin
One of the top one-on-one defenders around, O'Connell led the Tomahawks to a second straight Division 1 Central title as they allowed 8.2 goals per game on the season. Named a U.S. Lacrosse All-American, O'Connell will continue her career next year at Loyola University (Md.).

Aileen Kelly, Jr. G, Framingham
Allowing 10 goals per game, the Flyers defense was solid, and it started in the back with Kelly. She was named a U.S. Lacrosse All-American, as the Flyers reached the semifinals of the D1 North tournament. Kelly is verbally committed to UMass.


Meghan Collins, Sr. D, Marblehead
Catherine Conley, Jr. M, Needham
Tess Chandler, Sr. M, Hopkinton
Shannon Fitzgerald, Jr. M, Newton North
M.J. Keefe, Sr. A, Andover
Hannah Murphy, Sr. M, Duxbury
Mary O'Connell, Sr. M, Norwell
Annee O'Connor, Jr. G, Needham
Zoe Ochoa, Sr. G, Longmeadow
Abby Quirk, Sr. A, Lincoln-Sudbury
Alison Ryan, Jr. M, Norwood
Kristina Schaefer, Jr. A, Longmeadow
Jillian Scyocurka, Jr. M, Longmeadow
Mariel Teague, Sr. M, Notre Dame (Hingham)
Maddie Ward, Sr. M, Norwell

Recap: No. 1 Westwood 7, No. 2 Notre Dame (H) 4

May, 1, 2013

WESTWOOD, Mass. -– The ever-suspenseful coaching rematch between Leslie Frank and daughter Meredith showed both how far the Notre Dame of Hingham program has come, and why Leslie's two-time defending state champ Westwood remains the standard for girls' lacrosse in Massachusetts.

In a tight defensive battle between the top two ranked programs in the state, No. 1 Westwood (10-0) again edged No. 2 NDH (8-2), 7-4, to win the regular season rematch of the last years' south sectional semifinals at Flahive Field last night.

“We wanted the ball back so furiously,” said Westwood coach Leslie Frank. “You could just see the teamwork. When someone was going in for a shot the double was coming.”

Westwood outscored the Cougars 5-1 over a 23:42 span to pull away from an early 2-2 tie.

Junior Ela Hazar (foul goals) bounced in a free position to start the run at 3-2 with 15:36 left in the first half. A minute and a half later junior Kim Egizi drew three defenders away from the net and setup a backhanded 4-2 score by Hazar along the post to help guarantee the Cougars would never equalize.

“We just tried to play a little bit more aggressive,” said Meredith Frank. “Last time we played them we sort of turtle'd. We kept up our intensity defensively.”

After allowing a deep free position score by Notre Dame junior Kelsey Bowen, Westwood scored twice in the final minute of the first half to go ahead 6-3. Egizi finished a backdoor tally at 53.8 seconds. The junior then hit Hazar in motion along the net where she knocked the ball out of the air and into the inside of the top post for a 6-3 goal.

“Lots of shooting drills are done in two's; quick feet (and) quick shots,” said Leslie Frank. “It is to her credit that (Hazar) can stick that with a swarm of defenders on her. She has legit soft hands, beautiful stick control and beautiful finishing work.”

R'Askin A Lot In Net: Meghan Raskin was absolutely the difference for Westwood in the victory with 14 saves. The Cougars controlled possession and peppered the junior with shots all second half, including nine shots-on-goal, but were only able to score once.

Raskin opened the later half by shifting to catch ND (H) senior Julia Simmons along the post on a dangerous pass from freshman Charlotte Allard. Within four minutes of play Raskin just swung her net low enough to save her second free position in two minutes.

“Stepping up to the occasion is something that is really important,” said Raskin. “We always do eight-meter shots so we are prepared for that. You just have to keep a good head on you shoulders.”

Cracking a Defensive Stalemate: Westwood sophomore Colleen Burke worked her way through a gap in the defense and snuck horizontally past the front of the net to open up a high 7-3 scoring effort after 16 minutes of play in the second half. Fifty one seconds later Cougars' sophomore Lexi Lenaghan caught a high lob from Allard and buried it along the back post for the 7-4 final.

“(Raskin) was dominate on her low saves,” said Meredith Frank. “I wish we could have shot the ball a little higher. This is just one more step in where we want to take this program.”

Lenaghan ripped an open shot off the top crossbar with 4:55 left, while junior Isabella O'Connor bulldozed her way past two defenders to force a tough low save from Raskin.

Up and Coming Family Rivalry: Meredith played on two of her mother's six Division 1 state champion teams before playing four years at juggernaut Northwestern University. Last year was a breakthrough season for the program, but the Cougars were brought back down to Earth with a tough 18-8 south sectional semifinal loss in Meredith's first matchup against her mother.

The tight loss last night showed another step in the right direction, as the two squads remain the favorites for the South region and the state as a whole this season.

“I am following the lead of my girls and my school,” said Meredith Frank. “This is just one more step in where we want to take this program. My mom has done this for a long time and she has earned that respect and discipline from her players and that is what I am trying to instill.”

Our MIAA girls' hockey All-State Team

April, 1, 2013
All-StateF - Alison Butler, Sr., St. Mary's
This year's ESPN Boston Miss Hockey award winner, Butler captained the Spartans to their fourth Division 1 state title, scoring the game-winning goal against Arlington Catholic at the Garden. The St. Anselm's commit was third in Division 1 in scoring with 37-25-62 totals. It is her second ESPN Boston All-State nomination.
All-StateF - Hannah Murphy, Sr., Duxbury
The fulcrum to Duxbury''s run of three straight Division 2 state championships. Murphy, a three-sport athlete, finished fifth among all Division 2 scorers, putting up 29-24-53 totals. Murphy will play lacrosse at UMass-Amherst.
All-StateF - Kayla Smith, Sr., Woburn
One of the most talented pure scorers in the state, Smith finished second in Division 1 across the state in scoring with 34 goals and 24 assists for 63 points. The three-time ESPN Boston All-Stater will continue her hockey career at Salve Regina.
All-StateD - Cassandra Connolly, Sr., Woburn
The repeat ESPN Boston All-Stater finished fourth on the Tanners in points (2-15-17) while helping goaltender Courtney Davis notch seven shutouts on the season. Connolly will continue her playing career at the University of New England next year.
All-StateD - Hannah Wright, Sr., Arlington
A shut-down, physical blue-liner, Wright also finished tied for fourth on the Spy Ponders with 17 points (3 goals, 14 assists). She will attend Castleton State College next year where she will play hockey.
All-StateG - Shannon O'Neil, Sr., Austin Prep
Pitched a remarkable 10 shutouts on the season, along with a dazzling 96.8 save percentage. O'Neil, a Franklin Pierce commit, was also among the statewide leaders in goals against average with a 1.08 marka.
All-StateF - Kaleigh Finigan, Sr., St. Mary's
Despite missing time with an injury, Finigan still managed to finish second on the Spartans in scoring - following Alison Butleró with 17-28-45 totals. The Medford resident is also a standout on St. Mary's softball team.
All-StateF - Jane Freda, Sr., Hingham
A two-time ESPN Boston All-State selection, the Harborwomen captain finished among the Top 10 scorers in the state, tallying 31 goals to go along with 16 assists.
All-StateF - Ashley Moran, Jr., Woburn
The rangy winger made great strides this season, finishing among the Top 10 scorers in the state, posting 25 goals and 31 assists.
All-StateD - Brooke Matherson, Jr., Walpole
The blue-liner led the Rebels in scoring this year with 33 points points and her 24 goals were also a team-best. Matherson is also a standout player on Walpole's field hockey team.

All-StateD - Annie Messuri, Jr., Acton-Boxborough
Messuri was named the DCL/MVC Large division Most Valuable Player this year after posting 13-17-30 totals.
All-StateG - Courtney Davis, Jr., Woburn
Led the Tanners to an undefeated regular season while registering seven shutouts. The three-year starter registered a 92.1 save percentage while posting a 1.35 goals against average.


Carolyn Avery, Sr., Lexington
Megan Barrett, Frosh., Acton-Boxborough
Christie Caliendo, Sr., Billerica
Leah Cardarelli, Soph., Acton-Boxborough
Molly Connolly, Sr., Wellesley
Amanda Conway, Soph., Tewksbury/Methuen
Gabby Crugnale, Sr., St. Mary's
Jackie Denning, Sr., Lexington
Cecily Docktor, Soph., Wellesley
Kara Donati, Sr., Winthrop/Lynn
Erin Dwyer, Sr., Archbishop Williams
Marissa Fichter, Soph., Duxbury
Ela Hazar, Jr., Westwood
Shannon Hickey, Sr., Arlington
Emily Kelly, Jr., Norwood
Olivia Konaxis, Sr., Beverly/Danvers
Brittani Lanzilli, Jr., Medford
Maggie Layo, Jr., Sandwich
Sara Lehman, Sr., Lexington
Emily Lissner, Jr., Woburn
Kim Lizotte, Sr., Westford Academy
Emily Loprete, Soph., Watertown/Melrose
Meaghan McKenna, Sr., Canton
Rachel Moore, Soph., Falmouth
Ali O'Leary, Frosh., Reading
Adrieana Rossini, Soph., Arlington Catholic
Nicole Woods, Jr., Beverly/Danvers

Allison Cunningham, Soph., Arlington Catholic
Tatiana Doucette, Jr., St. Mary's
Erin Ferrara, Sr., Fontbonne Academy
Hannah Ghelfi, Soph., Falmouth
Alexandria Gong, Sr., Hingham
Ally Hammel, Jr., Duxbury
Melissa Richard, Sr., Arlington Catholic
Caroline Seibold, Frosh., Reading

Megan Messuri, Jr., Arlington Catholic
Rachel Myette, Jr., Duxbury
Madison Scavotto, So., Falmouth
Lauren Skinnion, Jr., St. Mary's

Coach of the Year
Frank Pagliuca, St. Mary's (Lynn)

While piloting to the Spartans to four Division 1 state championships, perhaps Pagliuca's finest job behind the bench came this year, as St. Mary's knocked off Catholic Central rival Arlington Catholic in a rematch of the 2012 title game.

Todd Fletcher, Westford Academy
Michael Golden, Reading
Friend Weiler, Duxbury

D2 girls: Falmouth 3, Westwood 1

March, 10, 2013

BOURNE, Mass. – While not ideal, Falmouth girls’ hockey head coach Erin Hunt has come to expect a certain kind of finish from her team this season.

“They keep us right on the edge, until they know they need to get it done,” said Hunt of her young Clippers.

Facing No. 11 seed Westwood in the Division 2 state semifinals for the second straight year, Falmouth found itself in familiar territory, trailing by a goal headed into the third period. But somehow the Clippers have managed to find focus late in games and held true to their track record, taking the ice in the third with an ebullient noise and clatter.

But Falmouth also let their sticks do the talking in the final period, tallying three straight goals to claim a 3-1 comeback victory on Saturday at Gallo Arena. With the win, the Clippers earn the right to skate on the TD Garden ice for the state title against Duxbury, in a much-anticipated rematch of last year’s final.

“I’ll take anyone at the Garden,” Hunt said. “We’re happy to be there, but it’s nice to get another shot. They’re a great team, we split this year and I think it’s going to be a great game.”

Falmouth (19-1-2) stemmed the tide early in the third period while short-handed. The Clippers found themselves in another common position – on the penalty kill—when defenseman Hannah Ghelfi sprung Madison Haberl for a short-handed goal a minute and 58 seconds into the third.

“I always say, if you get a shorty, you’re going to win the game,” Hunt said. “It’s huge to get one when you’re a man down, so it was a huge momentum changer for us.”

Special teams again came into play when Falmouth scored on the power play at 4:31. Maggie MacDonald camped on the off wing post and put back the rebound off of Kendall Stouffer’s point shot.

The Wolverines (14-7-3) had their best scoring chance of the third when junior forward Ela Hazar split the Clippers’ defense pairing and bolted in on goaltender Madison Scavotto. Hazar had her second goal of the game ticketed for the low right-hand corner before Scavotto (20 saves) flashed her left toe with her finest save of the night.

Hazar scored the Wolverines’ lone goal at 5:34 of the second period, with an assist from Kelly Healy.

“We wanted to come through the neutral zone with speed, we wanted to forecheck them,” Westwood head coach Justin DeSorgher said. “We were successful at times; we weren’t as successful at times. They have a couple of defensemen who can really handle the puck. That does a lot against the forecheck.”

At times, particularly at the tail end of the second period, there seemed to be a revolving door at the penalty boxes. The teams combined for 14 power-play opportunities (Falmouth had the advantage with eight of those).

And, while both coaches were perturbed by their teams’ propensity to wind up in the bin, the Clippers’ kill unit was up to the task, holding Westwood scoreless on six chances, allowing just three shots-on-goal during those opportunities.

While Falmouth had chances with the man-up, they did come away with one power-play tally, in addition to the crucial shorty by Haberl.

“They have a very aggressive penalty kill, a very aggressive power play,” DeSorgher said. “One our keys coming into this game was to not end up in the box. But we were in the box all night. That was tough to get over.”

Falmouth and Duxbury are no strangers, having split two regular-season tilts this year, following last year’s win by the Dragons at the Garden.

However, a couple of Clippers pointed to their 1-0 win over Duxbury on Jan. 5 as a significant moment, counting for more than a victory.

“They were so pumped to beat us the last time because we’d beaten them,” Scavotto said. “We learned that they value this rivalry as much as we do. We can’t underestimate that.”

While Westwood’s season comes to an end, there’s reason to believe a young Wolverines teams could yet have another late postseason meeting in store with Falmouth next year. Westwood loses just two seniors off its roster.

“It’s sad for our two seniors, Meghan Kelly and Kristina Barounis,” DeSorgher said. “They were here the year we first got here and to see them grow and mature. They’re great kids, it’s tough to see them as upset as they are.”

You know things are going well for a hockey team when its members talk about having fun.

Scavotto offered a refreshing take on goaltending and the game after celebrating with her teammates in a raucous room. Also, entering the third, you couldn’t much tell the Clippers’ season was on the line as they emerged from the intermission with a loud, stick-tapping display as they took the ice.

They’re a group that thrives on raw emotion and their vest for the game is evident in such displays.

Whether it’s Game 7 of the Cup finals, a state high school playoff game, or a game of shinny on the pond, at the end of the day, it’s a game.

“When you’re playing well, you’re having fun,” she said. “That’s what hockey’s all about to me.”

Well said.

SEMGHL girls' hockey All-Stars announced

February, 14, 2013
The Southeastern Mass. Girls' Hockey League All-Stars were announced this morning with Duxbury and Falmouth leading the way with five selections each.

Here's a look at the list:

(Note: All league representatives, athletic directors and coaches are encouraged to send their representing league all-star teams to

Morgan Richard,D, Sophomore
Sarah Boule, F, Sophomore

Kate Albretson, F, Sophomore

Meghan Lennon, F, Senior
Meaghan McKenna, F, Senior
Bethany Kelly, D, Senior
Jill Eckler, D, Junior

Jess Linell, F/D, Senior

Brittany Carte, F, Senior

Hannah Murphy, F, Senior
Rachel Myette, G, Junior
Marissa Fichter, F, Sophomore
Jane Dudley, F, Sophomore
Ally Hammel, D, Junior

Madison Scavotto, G, Sophomore
Hannah Ghelfi, D, Sophomore
Rachel Moore, F, Sophomore
Amy Wilson, F, Senior
Alexa Scribner, F, Junior

Hannah Magerman, F, Senior
Alex Mitchell, F, Junior

Julia Dares, F, Junior

King Philip
Danielle Hamilton, F/D, Junior

Latin Academy
Natalie Lombardi, G

Taylor Newcomb, G, Senior

Martha's Vineyard
Texe Craig, G, Senior
Aubrey Ashmun, F, Sophomore

Mimi Borkan, G, Senior
Nicole Reardon, F, Senior

Kait O'Sullivan, F, Senior
Katrina Anderson, F, Senior

Lilly Cleary, F, Sophomore
Caroline Nichols, F, Freshman
Tori Dinger, F, Senior
Rachel Talanian, D, Senior

Oliver Ames/Mansfield
Victoria O'Heir, F, Sophomore

Quincy/No. Quincy
Erin McGinnis, G, Senior

Katie Flynn, D, Senior
Courntey Alexander, D, Senior
Maggie Layo, F, Junior

Hannah Clougherty, G, Junior
Corey Murray, F, Sophomore

Siobhan Burke, G, Junior
Ela Hazar, F, Junior
Kailey Jacobs, F/D, Freshman

Jane Morrisette, F, Junior

D1 South Girls Lax: Westwood 12, Needham 9

June, 9, 2012

NEEDHAM, Mass. -- Laura McHoul comfortably worked her position behind the net as she eyed for cutters.

A slight sag in the defense showed and the midfielder whipped a pass inches from the defender's net and into Kate Rich's grasp. As the two senior captains connected for the winning tally it became a sight all too familiar for the Wolverines' opponents.

Running its offense from its two senior stars, No. 3 Westwood (22-2) girls' lacrosse bested top-seeded Needham (22-2) 12-9 at Memorial Park yesterday in a Division 1 South finals rematch.

The win advances the defending state champs to play North champion Lincoln-Sudbury (23-1) at Babson College on Monday.

“We have a good connection on the field, so I trust it when I pass it too her,” said McHoul. “She just gets her stick open and she is tall enough that I can lob it in.”

Added Rich, “(We) don't want to stop playing."

Rich netted four, while McHoul assisted five and scored two. The seniors produced the go-ahead goal at 12:13 in the second half, while adding insurance with a pair of unassisted backdoor cuts.

“We wanted for everyone else to clear through,” said Westwood coach Leslie Frank. “We try to take advantage of the weakest defender and to get those matchups on Kate and Laura. When they happen, they have to go.”

Twice trailing by four to open, the Tri-Valley champs battled back to even by running quick plays off draws. A side net pass from McHoul to Rich evened the score at 5-5 with 4:39 left in the first half, while a two-on-one counter-attack assist from Ela Hazar (three goals, two assists) to fellow sophomore Jamison O'Neil gave the Wolverines' their first lead up 8-7 at 22:01 in second.

The two teams would equalize two more times, before Westwood pulled away.

Forcing the Freebies: The Rockets, who had previously not beaten Westwood since 2002, won their regular season matchup 12-10 at home by forcing 10 goals off set pieces. Creating penalties were big offensively again for Needham
in the rematch, as the Rockets scored all but one tally off a set-piece, including its first four finishes.

A one-timer from sophomore Kira Oberle to teammate freshman Carly Colman out of a penalty gave the Bay State Carey champs their largest lead up 4-1 fifteen minutes into the first.

“We just try to play less physical defense,” said Frank. “However, it is impossible (to avoid) at this level. They are so hungry for it and
they have come so far.”

Annee Time: Goalie Annee O'Connor has been the foundation for Needham's defense all season. The keeper made 10 saves to keep the Rockets alive on Friday, with a majority coming face-to-face with a shooter.

Needham coach Beth O'Brien cited the twenty minutes each practice she spent working with O'Connor as a reason for her success. A period she called "Annee time."

“We do reaction drills where it is rapid fire and a lot of the time we use tennis balls,” said O'Brien. “Low to high, crease work, and just lining up to rapid fire balls. That is something we have not done before.”

Tough Road: L-S will be the third straight opponent ranked in the top five of ESPNBoston's statewide poll that Westwood has faced.

The Wolverines lost a road thriller, 13-12, to the Warriors earlier in the season, but eliminated the the DCL Large champs in the previous year's state semifinals by a 15-7 margin. Westwood was the top seed in the South last year.

“I guess we are the underdogs but we are not done,” said McHoul. “We are ready to fight all the way.”

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.”

Westwood makes it 3 of 4 over Longmeadow

June, 18, 2011
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.

Westwood captures fifth straight D1 South title

June, 10, 2011
WESTWOOD, Mass. -– Leslie Frank and her Westwood Wolverines added some more hardware to their trophy case Friday evening, as they beat the Needham Rockets, 14-8, in the MIAA Division I South Sectional Finals.

“I think absent that lead [in the first half], we might have been in trouble,” Frank said. “[Overall], I was happy with the performance in light of [Needham’s] pressure,”

The Wolverines (23-0-1) began the game quickly, as they registered seven goals in a span of 18 minutes, thanks to freshman attack Ela Hazar (2 goals, 1 assist) and junior midfielder Kate Rich (5 goals, 1 assist).

Needham’s freshman attack Catherine Conley (two goals, assist) jump-started the Rockets (21-3) with their first score at 5:35, which then led to two more goals from junior midfielder Shelby Aubin and sophomore attack Maddie Stenberg (three goals, assist). Westwood, however, regained the momentum and scored two more times before the first half concluded.

“We said six goals means nothing in the game of lacrosse,” Needham head coach Beth O’Brien said. “We always keep in our mind that any gap, we’re able to comeback from, so I thought we played pretty bad [in the first half].”

Sophomore attack Marina Burke scored the Wolverines first goal at 23:32 in the second half, before the Rockets recorded their sixth goal of the contest, which came off the stick of senior defenseman Michaela Shea.

Yet, once again, Frank’s team rebounded and scored four more goals, which helped the Wolverines earn their fifth straight sectional title.

“First half, our shots weren’t really on, but then second half, we kind of got our shots in,” Westwood junior midfielder Laura McHoul said.

“I think [Needham] was coming after harder than we were holding onto,” Frank said. “I think given a third half, things might have got a lot closer.”

Needham did attempt a small comeback during the final minutes of the second half, but only managed to record two goals thanks to Stenberg. One of the bright spots for Needham was their freshman goaltender, Anne O’Connor, who played one of her better games of the season, as she finished the with 17-saves between the pipes.

“She’s played this way the entire year,” O’Brien said. “[She had] 14-saves in the win over Notre Dame the other day and I’d say by far, [she’s] one of the best goalies in the state.”

Westwood will return to the field Tuesday for at state semifinal at Wellesley College, where they’ll face the winner of tomorrow afternoon's Division 1 North final between Andover and Lincoln-Sudbury.

“This clearly wasn’t one of our best games, but we just got to bring it next game. [We] just need to concentrate on the little things and play our game,” McHoul said.