|Westwood’s Laura McHoul (right), who has now been on three state championship teams, had seven goals Friday. (Jim collins/worcester telegram and gazette)|
Westwood reigns again
Wolverines win 2d straight title
WORCESTER - When the Westwood girls’ lacrosse team opened the season with a 13-12 loss to Lincoln-Sudbury, it was immediately placed on a difficult road to defend its Division 1 state championship. The Wolverines battled to an 18-2 regular-season record, claiming the No. 3 seed in the South tournament.
“Definitely something [changed for us]. I think it was just our motivation, we were definitely hungry for it this year,’’ said Westwood senior Kate Rich. “We knew it was going to be tough.’’
Westwood defeated three No. 1 seeds, including Algonquin in the final, earning a 20-6 victory Friday at Foley Stadium.
“I don’t think any of us thought this was going to happen, going into the tournament,’’ Westwood coach Leslie Frank said. “What are we going to take away from each game? We have to get better. Opponents are going to come at us, they are always going to come at us.’’
Seniors Laura McHoul and Rich, who have won state championships in three of their four seasons, led the Wolverines. McHoul put together a 12-point performance (seven goals, five assists) and Rich contributed seven (five goals, two assists).
“I think just from the seniors’ perspective, it’s our last game, no regrets, leave everything on the field,’’ McHoul said.
“[Laura] is an unbelievable player,’’ Rich said. “It’s definitely easy for us to find each other after playing with each other for so long . . . She has great vision, she has great stick skills, so I trust her always with the ball.’’
Algonquin opened the scoring at 23:50, but Rich put in two goals to give Westwood a 2-1 lead. The Tomahawks tied the game at 2, but strong defense from the Wolverines and stellar goaltending from Mollie Brown held Algonquin at bay.
“It was even for a while and then the defense started to make some stops. As soon as Mollie starts making her saves and the defense makes one or two turnovers, then the offense feels relaxed,’’ Frank said.
Westwood sophomore Ela Hazar netted three consecutive goals to start a 10-goal run, which extended into the opening five minutes of the second half, giving the Wolverines a 15-3 advantage.
“I was really trying to push the tempo,’’ Frank said. “I think that’s what I saw today. I think the other team just didn’t know what was coming.’’
Algonquin scored with just less than 20 minutes left before Westwood went on another roll, getting the next five goals to make it 20-4. McHoul went to work, scoring three goals, with two on assists from Rich. Junior Marina Burke also got into the action, scoring two goals in the second half.
Algonquin scored the last two goals.