Easy sailing: Norwell rolls to second title
WELLESLEY — Norwell weathered a rain shower and seven goals from Winchester All-American Lauren Sullivan to beat the Sachems, 15-10, at Babson College and bring home its second straight Division 2 state championship.
“It is just a testimony to how hard this team works,’’ said Clippers first-year coach Kara Connerty. “That was our goal and we approached it one game at a time and we needed to do that.’’
The Clippers (21-1-1) sailed out of the gate with four straight goals. Leading, 1-0, Norwell ripped off three goals in a span of two minutes. Kate MacDonald started the onslaught by streaking from midfield straight up the middle and banking a shot in off a defender’s stick. Mary O’Connell and Olivia Huie followed with goals on free shots for a 4-0 lead.
“Our No. 1 priority going into the game was to attack,’’ said Connerty. “We wanted to establish momentum and that is what a lot of our team is about. We needed to attack both offensively and defensively.’’
After the Sachems (19-3) closed the gap to 5-3, Norwell had another offensive outburst. The Clippers scored the next five goals to take a 10-3 lead. MacDonald scored two of the five, including one where she ducked under a defender’s check and picked the top corner of the net. Lexi DeMarco, Molly Cox, and O’Connell were the other goal scorers.
The Clippers’ potent offense wasn’t their only strength. Freshman netminder Callahan Kent was a rock in net, frustrating the Winchester offense and making 12 saves.
“I can’t say enough about Callahan,’’ said Connerty. “She is so mature for a freshman and really embraced her role as goalie. She led the defense and the girls had full faith in her. With each game she got more and more confident and she was an integral part of our team.’’
Cox and MacDonald teamed up to seal the win on a goal that would have made Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo proud. MacDonald received a pass while streaking down the wing. Immediately, she lofted a pass on net where Cox simultaneously caught and shot the ball into the net, much like the Pierce-to-Rondo dagger that helped finish off the Lakers in Game 5. That goal made it 12-4.
MacDonald, a senior who will play at Northwestern next year, scored her 100th goal of the season with her sixth and final goal of the night. Cox added four goals for the Clippers.
Sullivan tried valiantly to keep the Sachems in the game, but she wasn’t able to do it alone. The senior captain was the only player who presented a real offensive threat for Winchester, which allowed double-digit goals to an opponent for the first time in the tournament.