Information in this report was provided on behalf of the CCHS girls lacrosse program.
When returning Patriot varsity starter Emma Brandhorst went down with a season ending ACL injury in the final minutes of a scrimmage win over Medfield, Concord Carlisle Coach Paul Morrison knew he just lost one of his strongest offensive players. When leading scorer Allie Barrett went down last week with a high ankle sprain in a win over Masconomet, he knew the combined loss would be a huge obstacle.
Coach Morrison challenged his underclassmen and first year players to step up and push harder than they have ever before.
And the players did just that as they played their hearts out for 50 minutes Thursday, falling short to Acton Boxborough 12-8 in a closer game than the score indicated.
Offensively CC outgained the Colonials in draw controls and ground balls. Defensively they caused several forced turnovers. Senior Lucy Fell was given face guard duties in shutting down the Colonials top scorer. In the end it was twenty two CC turnovers that made the difference.
The Patriots controlled ball possession for much of the first half patiently working the eight meter as they attempted to penetrate the staunch Colonial defense. ABís goalie proved to be proficient collecting two early save while a third CC opportunity hit the crossbar.
The Patriots attempted several tight passes that resulted in AB turnovers, and ultimately goals. But Patriot center Hannah Dudley would rally for CCís first goal followed a minute later by junior Midfielder Emma Mahoneyís goal on a Free Position shot tying the game at two.
The match remained tight for much of the half as both defenses buckled down forcing turnovers while the offenses were unable to generate much firepower. With less than 6 minutes in the half, AB capped off 2 goals, then a last second goal before the half. The score, AB 5, CC 2.
Coach Paul Morrison lamented on his teams pattern of first half struggles. "This is the second game that we have scored just two goals in the first half. Both teams turned the ball over a ton and neither was able to get into a rhythm.
The Colonials continued their momentum in the second half connecting on sharp passes to fast cutters adding another two more to the box score.
At the five minute mark Patriot Jenna Carlton found fellow attacker Lexi Goodhue open by the edge of the net and Goodhue found the AB webbing for her first of two second half goals.
CC junior Attack Becca Olsen followed up with two consecutive tallies of her own to bring the game back within two. But AB pressured CC at midfield causing a couple crucial turnovers that resulted in two fast break Colonial goals before Patriotís Goodhue pasted her second goal. Sophomore goalie Conley Ernst entered the second half making 3 impressive saves.
The Patriots intensified their defensive effort with several forced turnovers including a spectacular open net goal saving stick check from behind play by OíNeil. Whilee CC dominated time of possession they were unable to convert on several shots and free positions. Olsen earned her third goal of the game then Dudley followed up with her second. But with only minutes remaining CC turned the ball over again resulting in a fast break goal by AB and putting the game out of reach.
"We played better in the second half," said Coach Morrison. "It took the team a while to adjust to playing without a leader like Allie Barrett. The turnovers are still a big concern. It is going to be hard to win games if we have the amount of unforced turnovers like we did against AB."
Some noteworthy Patriot mid season statistics:
- In every game- The Patriots record now stands at 3-5-1 however each of their five losses have been decided, on average, by just two goals.
- Compete with the best- The Patriots tied against Wayland. It's Waylandís only non-win of the season.
- Turnovers a culprit- In the five Patriot losses, they have averaged 15 turnovers a game. In the three Patriot wins they have averaged 6 turnovers a game.
- Draws controls going up- The Patriots averaged 5.5 draw controls a game in their first four games and 11 draw controls a game in the last four games.
- Young and athletic- The Patriots typical starting lineup includes nine underclassmen and three seniors.