WESTWOOD, Mass. -– Leslie Frank and her Westwood Wolverines added some more hardware to their trophy case Friday evening, as they beat the Needham Rockets, 14-8, in the MIAA Division I South Sectional Finals.
“I think absent that lead [in the first half], we might have been in trouble,” Frank said. “[Overall], I was happy with the performance in light of [Needham’s] pressure,”
The Wolverines (23-0-1) began the game quickly, as they registered seven goals in a span of 18 minutes, thanks to freshman attack Ela Hazar (2 goals, 1 assist) and junior midfielder Kate Rich (5 goals, 1 assist).
Needham’s freshman attack Catherine Conley (two goals, assist) jump-started the Rockets (21-3) with their first score at 5:35, which then led to two more goals from junior midfielder Shelby Aubin and sophomore attack Maddie Stenberg (three goals, assist). Westwood, however, regained the momentum and scored two more times before the first half concluded.
“We said six goals means nothing in the game of lacrosse,” Needham head coach Beth O’Brien said. “We always keep in our mind that any gap, we’re able to comeback from, so I thought we played pretty bad [in the first half].”
Sophomore attack Marina Burke scored the Wolverines first goal at 23:32 in the second half, before the Rockets recorded their sixth goal of the contest, which came off the stick of senior defenseman Michaela Shea.
Yet, once again, Frank’s team rebounded and scored four more goals, which helped the Wolverines earn their fifth straight sectional title.
“First half, our shots weren’t really on, but then second half, we kind of got our shots in,” Westwood junior midfielder Laura McHoul said.
“I think [Needham] was coming after harder than we were holding onto,” Frank said. “I think given a third half, things might have got a lot closer.”
Needham did attempt a small comeback during the final minutes of the second half, but only managed to record two goals thanks to Stenberg. One of the bright spots for Needham was their freshman goaltender, Anne O’Connor, who played one of her better games of the season, as she finished the with 17-saves between the pipes.
“She’s played this way the entire year,” O’Brien said. “[She had] 14-saves in the win over Notre Dame the other day and I’d say by far, [she’s] one of the best goalies in the state.”
Westwood will return to the field Tuesday for at state semifinal at Wellesley College, where they’ll face the winner of tomorrow afternoon's Division 1 North final between Andover and Lincoln-Sudbury.
“This clearly wasn’t one of our best games, but we just got to bring it next game. [We] just need to concentrate on the little things and play our game,” McHoul said.