Westwood in command
Win over Longmeadow brings 3d title in 4 years
WORCESTER — The Westwood girls’ lacrosse team entered yesterday’s Division 1 state final with just one dent, one little blemish, on its résumé.
The Wolverines repaired that dent by beating Longmeadow, 15-9, at Foley Stadium to avenge a 15-15 tie in early May and earn a third state title in four years.
“This is definitely one of the happiest moments of my life,’’ said senior cocaptain Emily McGrail, who had two goals and an assist. “Not even winning three, but being able to win one here with all these teammates.’’
This showdown was a stark contrast to the first meeting, as the Wolverines (25-0-1) took control early with a 5-1 lead and never looked back.
“I think when we first played them, we weren’t really ready as a team,’’ McGrail said. “I think this time, not only do we know each other so well, but we wanted it, we were hungry for another win, and that just drove us so much harder this time around.’’
Junior Laura McHoul factored in five of Westwood’s first six goals, scoring three and assisting on two.
McHoul finished with seven points, and continued to shine in a more featured role as senior cocaptain and Johns Hopkins-bound Sarah Biron played through a hip injury. McHoul and McGrail each scored six goals in Westwood’s 15-7 win over Lincoln-Sudbury in the state semifinals.
“We were on today,’’ McHoul said. “We needed the points, and I felt like I was going to be able to take control, and I did.’’
Biron still was a factor. The All-American scored five goals, including a gorgeous conversion after freshman Ela Hazar (goal, three assists) flipped Biron a looping lead pass early in the first half.
After Westwood took the 5-1 lead, Longmeadow freshman Alexa Cambi scored consecutive unassisted goals. That was as close as the Lancers would get. Forty-five seconds after Cambi’s second goal, McGrail extended the lead off of a pass from McHoul.
With about a minute left in the half, Longmeadow challenged Westwood goaltender Mollie Brown twice from atop the crease. Brown kicked the first shot wide with her leg, and then scooped the second with her stick.
Then, with four seconds left, Katie Rich (two goals, assist) scored her first goal, which coach Leslie Frank described as “very big.’’
“I think Kate needed to find the back of the net,’’ Frank said. “I think sometimes she feels like she needs to be the support, and we need her to attack. So that gave her confidence.’’
Frank described her team as “damn nervous’’ at the start of the game, and said Rich’s goal went a long way to curing that.
“I don’t know that they seemed that confident,’’ Frank said. “They made a lot of turnovers in that first half, so I think they were building confidence as the game [went on], as they got more goals.’’