Boston High School: Isabella O'Connor

ESPN Boston Girls Lacrosse MIAA All-State Team

June, 29, 2013
6/29/13
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STARTING ELEVEN

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.

BEST OF THE REST

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

D1 Girls Lax State Final: Notre Dame (H) 13, 'Meadow 10

June, 15, 2013
6/15/13
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WORCESTER, Mass. -- Junior Isabella O'Connor admits that coach Meredith Frank challenged her mental toughness a bit in her first official tryout as the Cougars' head coach.

After two 1,000 meter runs and a pair of 300 meter dashes, O'Connor had reached the point where one's shot went. Meredith had credited mother and five-time Westwood state champion coach at Meredith for her ability to physically push players and it was this same resilience she was instilling with her players when she stepped in as the head coach.

[+] EnlargeIsabella O'Connor
Brendan Hall/ESPNFlorida commit Isabella O'Connor led the way with five points (four goals, assist) as Notre Dame won its first girls lacrosse state title in school history.
In the finale of a challenging postseason run three years later, O'Connor showed no signs of letting her shot slip as she buried four goals and assisted one to push Notre Dame girls' lacrosse (24-2) to the programs' first Division 1 state title with a 13-10 defeat of Western Mass champs Longmeadow (22-2-0) at Foley Stadium in Worcester last night.

“(The conditioning) really kills your mental toughness,” said O'Connor. “That is really when everyone’s shooting goes. You have to focus, see the net and take that extra second when you are tired.”

The Cougars are the first squad besides Framingham and formerly two-time champs Westwood to win state title since the Lancers did it nine years ago.

A Dominant Tiebreaker: Tied 4-4 with seven minutes remaining in the first half, Notre Dame made a six goal run to pull away.

Freshman Charlotte Allard looked to be leaping to the outside of the net when she bowed down back towards the crease and ripped a 5-4 score top corner to begin the streak at 6:56 in the first.

Sophomore Keeley MacAfee twice beat her defender across the front of the net to score ten-yard efforts and prompt a run of three tallies in 2:38. Lenaghan managed to plant a foot and spin back towards the crease on a backdoor pass from O'Connor for the 10-4 goal with 22:22 left in the game.

“We wanted to slow the ball down a little bit (and) see if we could maintain a little bit more possession,” said Frank. “To make sure when we did have the ball we were taking really good care of it.”

Transitional Trouble: Longmeadow lead only once when it had a 2-1 advantage at 19:10 in the first half.

Alexa Cambi took a pass up top from fellow junior Kristina Schafer and rotated around a pick to score the unassisted tally.
Schafer (five goals) slid with the ball under a pick and right in front of the net for the 4-4 evening score at 8:23 in the first half.

“Their pressure really hurt us towards the end of the first half,” said Longmeadow coach Steve Dudeck. “We needed to collapse on them because they are such great dodgers. A few transition scores really got them going early in the second half.”

Longmeadow could only muster runs of two goals or less.

An unassisted score by Schafer and an assist from Caroline Kusiak to fellow junior Caroline McKenna cut the margin to 13-10 with 2:41 left in the game.

The Crease Roll: A strong and power driven attacker when isolated with the ball O'Connor's go to move has been the crease roll. The move which often involves a pair of quick spin moves in opposite directions leaving O'Connor wide open in front of net, lead to two goals for the junior.

“There are so many people that dodge from the top that I never got the chance to,” said O'Connor. “I decided to take it around the crease and I guess my footwork was fast enough. Even if someone knows you can get around them.”

The Frank Legacy Grows: Meredith Frank won two state titles under her mother at Westwood, while winning the NCAA Women's Lacrosse championships in each of her four years at Northwestern. The Cougars' skipper beat her mother for the first time in three tries with a 10-7 road win in the South sectionals.

Tears stilled Meredith's eyes as she accepted her first title as a head coach.

“When I took the program over I always thought it was something we could accomplish, but I think you can accomplish it till you have a group that really buys in,” said Frank. “If you remember that it is fun to win and to play in big games like this then hopefully some of the nerves go away. (Westwood) pushed us to get to this level.”

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

May, 1, 2013
5/01/13
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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.”

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