|Medfield’s Natalie Gill, who fought through back problems during the game, gets by Winchester’s Remi DiRe on her way to a goal. (Robert E. Klein for the Globe)|
Medfield captures first championship
WELLESLEY - About every 10 minutes during Monday’s Division 2 state championship game, Natalie Gill would limp off the Babson College field and lay flat on her stomach.
The team’s trainer, Maria Hutsick, would run over and immediately get to work: a joint in Gill’s back had dislocated again, and it was her job to put it into place.
It’s a painful, uncomfortable experience for the Medfield girls’ lacrosse senior captain, but with the program’s first state championship on the line, sitting out wasn’t an option.
So Gill kept running back out. She scored once, assisted on two other goals, and won 14 of 21 draws as the Warriors took down Winchester, 10-9, and made Medfield High history.
“She is a big part of why we got here,’’ coach Jason Heim said of Gill, who had been dealing with tightness and pain down her right leg and up her back for two weeks. “Without Natalie, it would’ve been tough. I give a lot of credit to [Hutsick] for taking care of these girls.’’
“I can play through it, it’s hard to run though,’’ Gill said. “It’s one of those things - mind over body. You have to keep going.’’
In mid-May, predicting a championship for Medfield, which had lost three of four and had a 10-5 record, was a long shot. The Warriors were outscored, 30-3, in a pair of games against Needham and Westwood before falling to Hopkinton, the reigning Division 2 champs.
But something clicked after that loss, and the Warriors won seven in a row to finish the regular season before rattling off five more victories during their title run.
Medfield (18-5) held a 7-4 lead at halftime before the Sachems (23-2) rallied to tie it, 9-9, with four minutes left courtesy of junior Megan Hennessey’s second goal. But after Gill won possession off the draw, Emily Zlevor scored on a free position and the Warriors ran out the clock to secure the title.
Zlevor scored five times and junior goalie Sarah Honan made 12 stops, including five off free position attempts.
In what has been a truly bizarre year for Medfield lacrosse, after boys’ program pioneer Bob Aronson was asked not to return for a 13th year and the reigning state champions fell in the Division 2 quarterfinals, Medfield athletic director Jon Kirby stood on the field after the girls’ win and couldn’t stop smiling.
“Everyone expects our boys to be playing in the last game,’’ said Kirby, who hired Heim four years ago in what he called a home run. “And it didn’t work out for the boys, but they got to watch the girls win their first state title. What a great experience. I couldn’t be happier for them.’’