BOSTON – After a tumultuous first half full of transition lacrosse and long runs, it looked as though Newburyport and Bromfield were going to tear the house down.
Instead, no goals were scored in the second half as both defenses turned the game into a chess match. Newburyport stalled out the final seven minutes to claim their first Division 2 Girls Lacrosse title with a 7-6 win at Nickerson Field.
The Clippers gained possession with just over seven minutes left and worked a long stall called “St. Louis” to salt away the clock.
“That was really weird,” Newburyport's Lily Donovan said of the scoreless second half. “I don't think we've done anything like that.
“Our coach that this has to be the best St. Louis that we've ever done and that they couldn't touch the ball because they're really good at possessing. We knew we had to run.”
The Trojans came into the came having scored nine or more goals in every game this season. Newburyport hadn't been held under eight goals since a 7-6 loss to Masconomet back on April 24.
Both goalies played confident in the second half and it showed. Bromfield's Julia Hoggins turned aside five shots in the second half, including three right at the top of the crease. Not to be outdone, Newburyport freshman Isabelle Sarra stopped three of own including two shots by Bromfield star Sophia Turchetta.
Turchetta, who came into the game with 164 goals, scored five for the Trojans in the first half but was shut down in the final 25 minutes. The Clippers’ defense marked her from the midline forward and added a help defender whenever the Trojans ran an offensive set.
“I think we kind of realized that she is their player, she is their team,” Donovan said. “Whenever she got the ball we attacked her.”
Donovan was one of three Clippers to score two goals. Seniors Julia Kipp and Ally Peffer were the other two.
Down 2-1 just over 13 minutes into the game, Kipp and Peffer scored 27 seconds apart to put the Clippers ahead 3-2. The teams would trade goals the rest of the first half with Peffer's second (with 20 seconds remaining before halftime) proving to be the eventual game-winner. Kelly Conway scored the first goal for the Clippers.
“They're incredible,” Newburyport coach Catherine Batchelder said. “Julia, Ally, Lily they've sort of been the heart of our team all season. Someone who stepped up today, in my mind, was Kelly Conway. She had two interceptions, she was key defensively coming up with the ball. She was someone who made a difference for us today.”
For Kipp and Donovan – who will be moving on the play soccer at Union and Lesley, respectively, next year – yesterday marked the end of their lacrosse careers.
“I've had my best time ever here playing lacrosse,” Kipp said. “I'm sad I'm not going and playing on next year. It was unforgettable.”
BEGINNING OF AN ERA: For Bromfield, Saturday was a landmark occasion – it was the program's first state final appearance.
With Turchetta already a three-year varsity player with two more to go and a strong core of sophomores and freshman, the future looks bright for Dave Planchet's squad.
“We've got a lot of young kids on the field getting a lot of experience,” Planchet said. “It wouldn't surprise me if you see us here next year or the year after. We've got a good program coming up.”
Turchetta, already with 443 career points, will be asked to carry the burden for the Trojans, but Planchet said this is just the beginning.
“She's a special player; she's really blossomed this year,” Planchet said. “She was a really good goal scorer as an eighth grader and a freshman. Only as a sophomore, she's becoming a leader on the field, directing our offense. We're going to see big things from her to come in the future.”