Lincoln-Sudbury 14, King Philip 8
SUDBURY -- When you boil it down, girls' lacrosse can be such a simple sport. It all revolves around possession and the simple idea that, if your team has the ball, the other team can't score.
Which is exactly what King Philip found out Monday afternoon during a nonleague showdown with Lincoln-Sudbury. KP got balanced scoring and solid goaltending from All-Scholastic netminder Katie Florence, but it struggled to get one thing late in the first half: the ball.
Lincoln-Sudbury struck for five consecutive goals to close out the half, absolutely dominating the faceoff circle and forcing turnovers between the restraining lines, en route to a 14-8 triumph.
"We put ourselves behind the 8-ball too much early on," said King Philip coach Mike Vitelli, whose squad advanced to the Division 1 South sectional finals a year ago before falling to Westwood.
"If you've seen enough lacrosse, you know it's all about possession. We turned the ball over too much between the restraining lines and we didn't win enough faceoffs when we needed to. That's half the battle."
KP did achieve one of its chief objectives: limit the scoring chances of Lincoln-Sudbury All-Scholastic Jess Griffin. But the junior midfielder utilized her skills to feed open teammates when the visitors committed multiple defenders to her.
And no one capitalized more than classmate Alexa Rozelle, who potted seven goals on the day, including six in the first half as L-S opened a 10-5 advantage at the intermission.
"Alexa really stepped up today," said Lincoln-Sudbury coach Debbie DeJesus, whose troops fell to Framingham in the Division 1 North sectional final last spring.
"We knew it was important to get everyone involved. We never want to become one-dimensional. Alexa is a big scoring threat out there and she showed that today. We knew they'd focus on Jess, so it was up to the others to really step up today."
The teams traded goals over the first 15 minutes of play with neither side taking a multi-goal lead. That changed when Rozelle potted back-to-back scores just over a minute apart to put her squad out front, 7-5, with 6:25 to play in the first half.
Junior Brianna Miller and Griffin sandwiched tallies around another goal from Rozelle before the intermission to put the hosts out front by five at the break.
KP collected itself at the half and came out inspired. Hillary Bushway bookended two tallies around a Kerry Eaton score as the visitors clawed within a pair with 13:56 to play.
They could have gotten closer, but L-S goalie Tess Shananka came up with some big stops, including a free position save on Sarah Brion to preserve the two-goal lead. KP got whistled for a questionable offsides call a short time later and L-S made it really sting when, just seconds after the call, Griffin scored to make it 11-8 with 11:14 to play.
The goal was a back-breaker and thwarted KP's comeback. Steph Zeytoonian scored less than a minute later and Rozelle punctuated her amazing day with a dazzling leaping goal in which she redirected a pass from behind the cage with 8 :17 remaining. Kelley Cakert closed out the scoring by putting home a rebound of a Jen Hayes attempt.
"I really felt the turnovers we forced were the different today," said DeJesus. "(Florence) was outstanding. But that's the thing about lacrosse. You can't save them all."
Florence dazzled with an array of saves in the early going, but she was absolutely peppered with shots over the final eight minutes of the first half as a tired KP squad turned the ball over just trying to get back across midfield.
"We're not going to make excuses, hopefully we learn from this," said Vitelli. "It's a long season and we're still young. It's a bit like Novocaine. It's going to take a while for it to kick in."
King Philip (2-1) dives into Hockomock League play, but has some more nonleague challenges on the horizon. KP visits Division 2 power Winchester on April 24, then hosts Division 1 juggernauts Longmeadow and Andover to close out the regular season on May 18 and 20.
L-S (4-0) gets a visit from Dual County League foe Bedford Tuesday, then has a showdown with Framingham Thursday (rescheduled from a rainout last week).
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