HINGHAM, Mass. -- In what looked to be a tightly-contested matchup of Division I state title contenders, host No. 5 Notre Dame of Hingham (10-0) grabbed an early six-goal lead as they cruised to a 14-10 victory over No. 1 Lincoln-Sudbury (9-1) at Margetts Field.
“L-S is a great team (that) I know is going to go far,” said Notre Dame coach Meredith Frank. “It is a belief that we can be successful that we can compete with the top teams in the state. Getting after it, finishing our shots and doing all the little things it takes to win a game.”
The Cougars were led with four tallies from sophomore Isabella O'Connor and three goals by juniors Amelia Brown and Alex Dalton (two assists). Junior Abby Quirk netted five for the Warriors.
A Quick Draw: The first ten draws of the game all led to scores for the victor.
Notre Dame center Madison Caron dominated the first six face-offs to set up a 6-0 lead at 16:34, but L-S's Madison Acton (both seniors) won the next four from the center-line and scored a pair to cut the margin to 6-4 in the next three minutes.
“I told the girls yesterday that it is the draw that is going to be the game,” said L-S coach Deb DeJesus.
“It is focus, it is hard work for five or six seconds, and it is getting the ball out of there,” added Frank.
The two squads tallied 13 draws a piece.
Slicing up the Defense: The Cougars spread the Warriors' defense with their wide offensive passing then used quick individual cuts to find open lanes.
Four of Notre Dame's first six goals developed by motioning the rubber behind the net and up to a cutter. A back of the crease assist from freshman Keeley MacAfee to junior Mariel Teague gave Notre Dame its six tally, while upfront one-on-one efforts into open gaps from Teague and Brown put L-S in its deepest hole of the season with a 14-7 margin at 14:53 in the second.
“We really worked on our fitness to keep up with them,” said O'Connor. “ Get open, make cuts, and set picks for other people. When you make the team better, you make yourself better.”
The Griffin Effect: The Warriors used senior Megan Griffin (four assists) to draw off defenders and open scoring lanes for teammates.
A double-team on Griffin at 15:48 in the first opened the scoring for the Warriors by freeing a middle lane for Quirk and a one-on-one with sophomore keeper Sam Cuomo. Eight minutes later the senior walked defenders away from the post and opened a lane along the crease for senior Rachel Sexton to keep the Warriors within range down 7-5.
“We look to draw the double and dump it off to that person,” said DeJesus. “We have a lot of speed on our team so we look for fast break first.”
Warrior Spirit: The Warriors netted a pair of breakaway goals by Quirk and sophomore Eliza Guild in the final two minutes to cut the margin to four. However, a low set-piece rocket from senior Sarah Ganio ricocheted off Coumo's stick in the final seconds.
“Today they were the better team,” said DeJesus. “That is why you have the regular season so you grow as a team. To take it as a challenge and learn from those areas that beat you in.”