Boston High School: Kara Connerty
June, 6, 2013
By Shawn Myrick | ESPNBoston.com
NORWELL, Mass. -– Norwell coach Kara Connerty reminded her current team of two of her former girls' lacrosse squads before its postseason rematch with Duxbury this afternoon.
Connerty brought out newspaper clippings of her team celebrating her first state championship in 2010, while reminding her players of a 13-12 loss to Duxbury in the regional semifinals the following year.
Senior Rachel Talanian, who participated on both teams, showed just the tenacity coach Connerty wanted to provoke as she scored a miraculous 13-12 game-winner with 22 seconds remaining to defeat fourth-seeded Duxbury (18-5-1) and give No. 2 Norwell (17-5-1) a Division 2 South championship in a what was a late two-goal comeback.
The Clippers advance to play Winchester (20-3-1) in the Eastern Mass championship.
“We needed to get through Duxbury in order to get to that state final game,” said Connerty. “We want to be that team (again). We heard from the sidelines 'two' and this was (our second to last) goal that needed to come off the wall today.”
The Dragons' looked to have had the final possession as senior Christina Balzotti began to hold the ball for one last play with 1:44 left. An illegal pick drawn by Talanian gave her the ball 1:06 later.
The senior rushed the entire distance of the field as she saw her opening, switched hands to dodge a defender and buried the winner over sophomore goalie Charlotte Wahle's shoulder.
The score was Norwell's first lead since the 19:47 mark.
“We do situational plays all the time in practice in terms of you are down by one or two with two minutes left and they go into a stall,” said Connerty. “Our defense played really smart to attack the ball, but not to have a penalty.”
“I was trying to at least get it over the restraining line (and) I am normally a lefty so I just switched to my left hand,” added Talanian.
Caroline Walsh had prompted the comeback early by assisting senior Mary O'Connell (three goals, two assists) on a counter attack at 3:18. The sophomore noticed her team had not yet caught up, waited for O'Connell to arrive and nailed the senior mid-cut as she finished the 12-11 tally.
After a Duxbury violation on the following draw, sophomore Catherine Connerty threw her body from behind the post and into a group of defenders out front to force a free position then bounced the 12-12 tying goal in at 2:08.
Duxbury claimed the next draw.
“We went into a double (team), because they were in a stall,” said Connerty. “(We) just played clean body defense and were able to get it back. They pressure us throughout so I think we just made good decisions.”
Trading goals nine total times, Duxbury appeared in control after scoring three straight early in the second half.
Dragons' senior Hannah Murphy (three goals) waited for her team to slide in front of the crease then cut in unassisted from the side of the net to equalize at 8-8 with 19:46 left. Two minutes later Murphy ripped a free position to the opposite post for a 10-8 advantage.
The two squads trading goals two more times to maintain the two score advantage.
Senior Christian Balzotti quarterbacked the Dragons' offense as she scored four goals and assisted four. Murphy netted three goals.
“(Balzotti) has provided that leadership throughout the season,” said Duxbury coach Kelly Jurgens. “It comes naturally for her.”
Talanian on Murphy: Talanian face-guarded the UMass-bound Murphy most of the game. Talanian simulated against a lefty teammate in practice to prepare for the role.
“We face guarded Hannah cause she is there leading goal scorer,” said Connerty. “To contain her to three was terrific today.”
May, 17, 2012
By Shawn Myrick | ESPNBoston.com
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.”