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Sailors, Wildcats turn it around

Post great seasons despite final losses

Clockwise from top: Scituate goalie Hannah Clougherty tries to stop a shot from Westwood’s Kelly Healey Friday night in Canton; Westwood’s Elizabeth Stuehr (left) moves in on Scituate’s Katy McMahon; Scituate coach Caitlyn Donnelly coaches her team in the second period. Scituate lost, 8-1. Clockwise from top: Scituate goalie Hannah Clougherty tries to stop a shot from Westwood’s Kelly Healey Friday night in Canton; Westwood’s Elizabeth Stuehr (left) moves in on Scituate’s Katy McMahon; Scituate coach Caitlyn Donnelly coaches her team in the second period. Scituate lost, 8-1. (Photos by Debee Tlumacki for the Boston Globe)
By Andrew MacDougall
March 8, 2012
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The tears were flowing in the locker room at the Metropolis Rink Friday night after the Scituate girls’ hockey team was ousted from the Division 2 tournament with an 8-1 loss to Westwood.

But the frustration and pain that many teams exhibit after a playoff loss was not weighing on the Sailors.

“We were all crying, but we weren’t crying because we were sad we lost,’’ said senior center Maggie Travers, who netted her 100th career point earlier this season.

“We were just so happy with how far we’ve come.’’

Scituate, along with Weymouth, just completed its fourth season as a varsity girls’ program. And this season, both teams qualified for the postseason for the first time.

One season after a 2-18 finish, Scituate earned a bye in the preliminary round of the tourney with a 13-7 regular-season record.

“It’s so surreal because we went from 0-18 [freshman year] and we had good spirits, but this season I felt we were on a high from winning,’’ said Travers. “It was so unbelievable.’’

With sophomore Hannah Clougherty in net, Scituate registered four shutouts, their first in program history.

“We used to play with [Clougherty] on the [South Shore] Seahawks and she was good back then, but she came into this season playing unbelievable and this was definitely the best season I’ve ever seen her play,’’ said senior winger Katie McMahon.

Nearly three weeks ago, with a 3-0 win over Martha’s Vineyard, the Sailors not only secured their 10th win, but also locked up their first Southeast Mass. Girls’ Hockey League East crown.

“They’re one of the toughest opponents in our league, and we played them fairly early in season down in Martha’s Vineyard and won,’’ said Scituate coach Caitlyn Donnelly. “I think that really sparked confidence in the team going forward into the rest of the season.

“We’ve played Martha’s Vineyard in years past and never picked up a win against them, and I think it was a major, major turning point for us.’’

The Weymouth girls also made dramatic strides this season.

A season after finishing 3-17 and in the basement of the Bay State Conference, the Wildcats went 11-5-4.

“I just hoped to have a good, fun season because in years past we didn’t win any games, but it was always fun,’’ said Weymouth senior forward Jenna Ransom.

“I was just hoping for a fun season and hoping to win a couple games.’’

The Wildcats beat their rival, Braintree, for the first time this season.

“That was probably one of the best wins I’ve ever played in,’’ said senior forward Katie Coleman of the 4-3 victory. “That was the best feeling in the world, thinking back to freshman year, we’d get killed by Braintree. Even last year, they’d skate right around us and beat us to the puck. They’ve always been a powerhouse and still are. This year we knew we could beat them if we all gave it our all, and it was a good win.’’

Weymouth also earned a tie against Walpole, the second seed in the Division 2 tourney.

The Wildcats recorded their first postseason win with a 7-3 victory against Marblehead before falling to Westford, 5-4.

And though their seasons have come to an end, both programs believe that the foundation for success has been established and the future is bright.

“Honestly, this is the best season ever,’’ said Coleman. “It’s so weird to think how far our team has come. No one ever would have expected us to have this good of a season, even last year. It really meant a lot. I’m so happy even though it’s my senior year, it really went out with a bang.’’

“If we can make this much difference in four years,’’ said Scituate’s McMahon, “I’m excited to see what we can do in the next decade.

“I’m confident we’ll win a state championship soon.’’

Girls win title for Noble & Greenough

With a 2-0 victory over Independent School League rival Lawrence Academy on Sunday, the Noble & Greenough girls captured the New England Prep title for the sixth time in the last 11 seasons.

“I think, first of all, [the program] has been blessed with a lot of great players and a really strong tradition of girls’ hockey that’s carried over from one group of girls to the next,’’ said longtime Nobles coach Tom Resor.

“They have high expectations. I think it’s remarkable that the girls have done so well over such a long period of time with obviously a big bull’s-eye on their backs.’’

The Bulldogs (28-0-1) set a school record for wins.

In the NEPSAC championship game, the Bulldogs received a huge lift from goalie Brianna Laing (19 saves) while senior Mary Parker and junior Natasha Rachlin netted the goals.

The Bulldogs will graduate Parker (40 goals, 26 assists), who will play at Harvard, five-year player Mary Kate Cruise (40-plus points), and three other seniors, but Resor feels the depth of his team will help ease the transition.

“We lose five seniors, but we also had a very young team,’’ said Resor. “We had kids spread across each class level, including a couple of seventh-graders and a couple of eighth-graders. We had a lot of young kids get a lot of experience last year.

Toppling Marshfield, Wamps move on

The Braintree boys earned their first trip to the Division 1 South semifinals after knocking off defending state champ Marshfield, 2-0, in a Division 1 South quarterfinal.

“You don’t win 18 games by not being good,’’ said Braintree coach David Fasano of Marshfield. “I was actually one of the people who thought they should have been in the Super 8. They had a great season and are a very strong team. They had been [to the tournament] before and won the championship last year. Our kids knew they would be in for a tough afternoon.’’

Senior forward Cody Kingston and the coach’s son, David Fasano Jr., netted the goals while Dan Murphy earned the shutout with 20 saves in goal.

The Wamps (13-6-3) will take on Bay State Conference rival Milton (17-3-2) in a semifinal Thursday night (7:45) in Bourne.

After the Wamps outshot the Rams, 7-5, in the first period, Kingston scored at the nine-minute mark of the second period, followed 90 seconds later by a Fasano wrist shot from the right circle.

“We have a strong defense and a good system in place,’’ said the coach. “We didn’t go into our shell. We continued to apply the pressure and we contained them in second and third period.’’

Andrew MacDougall can be reached at andrew.macdougall@globe.com.

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