No. 1 Westwood 14, Longmeadow 5
WESTWOOD -- As her team prepared to take the field for Saturday's matchup with Western Mass. power Longmeadow, Westwood girls' lacrosse coach Leslie Frank implored her troops to balance their emotions and relax on the field.
See, the 10th-year coach felt her charges might be a little too amped up for what was being billed as a potential Division 1 state final preview. She didn't want them to be tight on the field.
The top-ranked Wolverines proceeded to score the final seven goals of the first half to open a seven-goal advantage and breezed to a 14-5 triumph on a sun-kissed afternoon at Flahive Field.
"I was more uptight than they were," admitted Frank. "You could tell from warm-ups. Usually in warm-ups they're a bit stressed. We had a great game against Hopkinton (Thursday) and (the Hillers) brought the same defensive pressure at midfield. I think that might have taken the jitters off today. We were throwing teh ball away innumerable times (Thursday), but I think that was a good game to bring into this one.
"The girls were amazing today. I don't know, maybe it's because it's Saturday."
For Longmeadow, it didn't matter what day of the week it was. It was just a long day. The Lancers stuck close over the first six minutes, but Westwood scored 11 of the game's next 12 goals, including seven in a row before the intermission, to run away with the win.
Considering the Lancers (3-1) hadn't been scored upon previously this season, it says a lot about Westwood's effort. The Wolverines (5-0) were relentless in pressuring the ball in the defensive end, nearly flawless in moving the ball through the midfield, and All-Scholastics Erin Massimi and Alex Frank took care of the offense.
Massimi registered five goals and five assists, while Alex Frank added five goals and an assist. Sophomore Kelly Rich chipped in two goals and three helpers as part of a fine effort in which she set up much of the Wolverines scoring.
"The competition out here, it's just a different level than in Western Mass.," said Longmeadow coach Steve Dudek. "Coming out here, facing coach Frank and her team, I think our kids were a little uptight. That's a credit to coach Frank and her program. The firepower they have... Massimi and Frank are phenomenal players and that sophomore, Rich, she's going to be a great one, too.
"This gives our defense a chance to play. A team like this with the firepower they have, we just don't see it. If we take anything away, it's that we gotta tighten up our stuff on the defensive end."
Westwood looked razor sharp, utilizing good ball movement and strong rushes to the cage in order to get the best of Longmeadow's Duke-bound metminder Mollie Mackler. The Lancers struggled to slow Massimi, who really shined going towards the cage. When she wasn't flicking one into the twine, she seemed to set up Frank.
Only two of Westwood's goals came on free-position chances.
Longmeadow's Emily Stankewicz registered three of her team's goals. She and Katie Phillips potted consecutive scores to knot the game at 2 less than five minutes in, but it was all Westwood from there.
The Wolverines led 9-2 at the intermission and led 13-3 with 4:22 remaining.
While Westwood seemingly asserted itself as the team to beat in Eastern Mass., coach Frank knows there's plenty of work left to do. In fact, if her charges had any sort of inflated confidence she knows exactly what advice she'd offer.
"Look, I never want to slight my girls, but everything clicked today," said coach Frank. "There's still a lot to do... We need to make smart decisions, make better clears. I was taking notes on their clear because their goalie can hit you at the 50 each time. We need to work on that. We need to work on our breakout and on and on and on.
"I thought Joan O'Neill had a real nice day. She had four or five draw controls and she came up the field with a presence. She's a middy, but she also gets back on defense. And Abby Brown had a great game in goal. But there's still tons to work on."
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Then there are our fall correspondents:
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- Eric Russo | @erusso22 | Div. 2 football
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