WESTFORD, Mass. -- Westford Academy's girls' lacrosse strolled about field with the confidence and swagger of a team who had been there before.
Sliding the exact right moment on defense and always finding perfect gaps on offense all well joking comfortably during breaks in play one would never suspect the Grey Ghosts (4-0, 2-0) were grabbing the program's first ever victory against Dual County League (Large) rival and defending division champ Lincoln-Sudbury.
Driven with five goals and an assist from senior Bailey Mongillo, host WA led for all but the first 53 seconds as it cruised to a 14-9 victory over the Warriors (1-2, 1-1).
“We are taught to be the boss,” said Ghosts coach Julie Olivier. “We do not worry about what other teams do and execute our plan. They are confident we know what we are talking about and they listen.”
Junior attack Jenna Klinka added four goals and an assist for the Ghosts, while opponent Eliza Guild netted three goals and assisted a pair.
Westford jumped out to an early 2-0 lead at 23:37 after winning the first two draws. Junior Stacey Shackleton bounced in a free position effort at 24:07, while Mongillo broke in from behind the crease to hook in the second score.
“I just like to draw the defender and can use the crease to my advantage as a barrier,” said Mongillo. “Coach has us work on our bread and butter shots or our strength shots. Every girl on the team has a certain thing they like to do.”
L-S managed to draw within a score four different occasions, but never could pull even.
Guild ripped a free position under the keeper's net then seconds later won and scored off the draw to cut their deficit to 9-8 with 18:12 remaining.
“They were all cutting to the net at once,” said L-S coach Deb DeJesus. “All the defenders come in so we can not get the ball in to who we want to get it to. It is a matter of just getting used to playing with one another.”
Westford outscored the Warriors five to one to finish, including the next four goals.
Shackleton went center net on a free position score to initialize the streak with 15:36 left. Westford junior Cathryn Sennott ducked a defender and hit senior Taylor Freud in motion for the 13-8 advantage at 6:28.
Defensive Prowess: Westford dominated the game despite losing the battle for draws 13 to 11. The difference for the Grey Ghosts was their man-to-man defense and its to ability to effectively collapse both in the open field and off a Warriors free position.
Seven saves from vocal senior keeper Erin Shaughnessey aided the cause.
“We have been preparing for different flavors of games and when to change it up,” said Olivier. “The girls have been working hard on when to put the pressure on and when to pull it back.”
Tough Starts, Different Results: Both teams opened with difficult schedules.
WA began its season by defeating Division 2 favorite Duxbury (2-1) 14-12, while L-S dropped a 9-8 decision to Division 1 South runner-up Needham (3-0) on Saturday.
“A lot of write-ups on teams like Notre Dame (Hingham) and Westwood,” said Olivier. “There is no one here heavy on the radar. I am OK with that.”
“We have the athletic ability to compete with them and it is just a matter of practicing,” added DeJesus.