Girls’ lax sneaks past OA to win season openerBy Jay Turner
The Canton High girls’ lacrosse team kicked off the regular season with a hard-fought win over Oliver Ames last week, outlasting the Tigers on their home field 13-12.
As veteran head coach Chris Murtagh noted afterward, Wednesday’s season opener was a typical Canton-OA affair, meaning that it was close the whole way with both teams collecting double-digit goals.
“It looked like it was going to be a battle for us, and it usually is against this team,” said Murtagh. “For whatever reason, us and OA are about the same in terms of playing ability, and it usually comes down to who maintains possession at the end of the game.”
Of the two evenly matched squads, the Bulldogs were the ones who looked sluggish in the early going. However, they managed to dig themselves out of an early hole and went into the half tied with the Tigers at 8-8.
The visitors then came out of halftime and played “much better,” according to Murtagh. They looked especially strong on defense, led by senior captain Emma Compagna, who had an outstanding game before going down with an ankle injury with only three minutes to play.
Compagna, who is expected back in the lineup after April vacation, teamed with Angela Sementelli and Amanda Crowley to neutralize the OA attack in front of sophomore goalie Casey Considine, who picked up a victory in her first-ever start in net.
Offensively, the Bulldogs were led by junior Kaitlin Phillips, who netted a team-high four goals, and junior Meghan Lennon and senior captain Michelle McNeil, who both finished with three goals in the win. Sophomore Jackie Merrigan also got on the scoreboard with her first career varsity goal.
Looking ahead to the rest of the season, Murtagh said the girls have set high expectations for themselves after winning the inaugural Davenport Division title last season. At a minimum, they are hoping to repeat as division winners, to be competitive against the league’s top teams, and to make it out of the first round of the postseason after going one-and-done in each of the past three seasons.
“Most importantly, as the coach, I want to make sure that we’re playing well as a team,” said Murtagh. “This is a very tough league — there are a number of excellent teams. We’re going to have to continue to get better if we want to keep up with the competition.”
This week, the Bulldogs were due to play a full slate, with three games in four days, all at home. Opponents include nonleague Medway on Monday, Foxboro on Wednesday, and Sharon on Thursday at 4 p.m.
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