No. 1 Westwood 15, No. 3 Framingham 15
WESTWOOD -- Maybe its appropriate that draw control led to a draw.
The third-ranked Framingham girls' lacrosse team dominated top-ranked Westwood in the faceoff circle while erasing a five-goal, second-half deficit as the Flyers battled back to earn a 15-15 tie Friday morning at Flahive Field.
The Flyers scored four consecutive times capped by Melanie Baskind's sixth goal of the game to take a 15-14 lead with 1:38 to play, but Westwood's Alex Frank forced a crucial turnover in the defensive end that set up the tying goal by Erica Nangeroni with 1:03 remaining.
Westwood netminder Abbie Brown produced a monster save on a Sam Zetlin shot from the slot to preserve the tie in the final seconds.
While it's rare to see any team satisfied with a tie, both sides seemed to find a bit of a silver lining in this one, particularly the defending state champs from Framingham, who trailed 12-7 with 18:40 to go.
"I think the kids are really excited, especially after being down five goals against a team like this," said Framingham assistant coach Gretchen Biggins, assigned the task of team spokesman by head coach Stacey Freda following the game.
"It's tough to come back from that and they really persevered. The kids knew what they needed to do. Draw control was huge, especially down the homestretch. We made a point of it at halftime and in timeouts, and the kids did a great job executing. Give them credit for coming up with the ball when we really needed possession."
Moira Barry stood tall in the faceoff circle while being pitted against the likes of Westwood's All-Scholastic tandem of Frank and Erin Massimi. But it was Framingham's collection of scrappy midfielders that really allowed the Flyers to control the draws by running down loose balls or forcing immediate turnovers by Westwood players.
Lizzie Rubenfield and Brianna Davis came up with a number of balls to spark the late heroics. Framingham trailed, 14-11, with 6:21 to go, but scored four times in a span of 3:18 (three goals by Baskind) to take the lead.
"I felt the intensity of my team wasn't sustained," said Westwood coach Leslie Frank. "I felt like we cruised for many minutes defensively, particularly in the midfield, and you can't do that. I don't think they discounted the level of the competitions, it's just that the kids are in vacation mode. It happens every single year. They love to play, but there's still some on the couch a little bit.
"I'm always happy to stay in a game with a competitor like Framingham. I really felt like we lost the draw control with about seven minutes to go and, it wasn't so much getting them, but getting them checked as soon as we got the ball. The intensity in the circle was flat."
Westwood (7-0-1) pulled away slightly in the first half as four consecutive goals, including two by Alex Frank, put the Wolverines out front, 8-4, with 3:12 to play in the first half. Framingham (8-1-1) cut that deficit in half with a pair of goals in the final minute, but Frank scored with just a tick left on the clock to close out the first half with Westwood on top, 9-6.
The Wolverines battled foul trouble all day, however. The hosts were whistled for a total of six yellow cards for sticks to the head of Framingham players. That included a costly second yellow card for top defender Joan O'Neil, who missed the final 21:24 of the game after picking up the second infraction.
Westwood also had to play man-down for three minutes, but it actually managed to stretch out its lead on goals by Frank and Massimi that made it 12-7 with 18:40 to go.
Coach Frank admitted it was a physical game, but took umbrage with the fact that the calls didn't see to go both ways.
"I'm sure my girls were guilty of several, but I'm not sure they were guilty of six," coach Frank said of the yellow cards.
"It's very difficult to make those calls, but it's not much different than basketball. When the fouls are stacking up on only one side, it raises the question. I'm not pointing any fingers, but you have to question it."
Coach Frank commended Framingham for being able to maintain its own intensity without drawing similar penalty calls. "It's something we'll have to work on," she said.
Alex Frank finished with six goals and two assists, while Massimi added four goals and two assists for the Wolverines. In addition to the six scores by Baskind, sophomore Moira Barry chipped in four goals and an assist for Framingham.
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