HINGHAM, Mass. -- The Notre Dame Academy girls lacrosse team knew it would need someone to step up and fill the large shoes of last year’s top scorer, Jess Roach. Junior Alex Dalton took over that role nicely in the Cougars biggest test of the young season.
The junior scored six times -- including three straight to break open a tie game late in the second half -- and Notre Dame was able to hold on for a 14-13 triumph over Duxbury, Thursday afternoon at Margetts Field.
“She’s definitely a leader,” said Notre Dame coach Meredith Frank in praise of Dalton. “She’s a player who wants the ball when the game is on the line and by golly we’re going to give her the ball. She’s very very talented. I think she still has a lot of growth and a lot learning to do but I couldn’t be more proud of her and how she rallied her teammates.”
The Dragons (3-1) had just taken their first lead of the game courtesy of a Hannah Murphy inspired 5-0 run. Murphy won five straight draw controls and scored the first two goals in the spirt, while Tina Balzotti (five goals) added a pair and Kristen Brockwell buried the score that put Duxbury ahead, 12-11.
Madison Caron, who engaged in a terrific battle in the circle with Murphy all day, won three draws in a row of her own, all three of which led to possessions that resulted in Dalton scores.
Dalton put the Cougars (7-0) back in front for good, raising her stick outside the restraining line to signal for a pass. Keeley MacAfee had the ball behind the Duxbury cage and delivered a perfect feed as Dalton flashed in and was able to score.
“I was coming in from behind the restraining line, filling in after my whole team had been in the eight for a while and I noticed there wasn’t any defense looking at me,” Dalton explained. “They were looking at the ball so I just kind of snuck in behind them and my teammate saw me and passed it to me.”
Dalton put away one more off another terrific pass, this time from Amelia Brown (three goals, three assists), to put NDA ahead, 14-12 with just under three minutes go. Murphy (four goals, two assists) got a late score for the Dragons, but NDA was able to hold off any further thoughts of another comeback.
“It definitely took some adjustments but I’m very proud of these girls,” said Dragons coach Kelly Jurgens. “I know its a loss in the book but I consider it a win in in my heart because the girls came back from a six-goal deficit at one point. It shows that I have a bunch of fighters on my team and thats all you can hope for.”
Notre Dame got off to a hot start, building a 6-1 lead, something that Frank was very pleased to see.
“We haven’t started that strong in the first half yet this season so that was a big positive for us and something we need to take to the rest of our season,” she said. “I knew we weren’t going to be able to sustain because Duxbury has tons of great players and girls who can make plays. But I did know it was great for us to start that strong and then be able to fight back. A lot of great lessons were learned in this game.”