Girls’ lax tops Oliver Ames to clinch tournament berthBy Jay Turner
After a tough road loss last Monday to nonleague Apponequet, the Canton High girls’ lacrosse team capped off the week in style, downing division foe Oliver Ames 21-16 to clinch a spot in the Division 2 south sectional tournament.
In addition to securing a playoff berth, Thursday’s win over OA also guaranteed the Bulldogs no worse than a .500 record and all but assured them of finishing in the top two in the Hockomock’s Davenport Division.
The victory also represented a big improvement over the team’s previous win against the Tigers — a 13-12 nail biter in the season opener back on April 4.
“They always seem to play us really tough,” head coach Chris Murtagh said of OA, which has won only a handful of games this season.
Last week, however, the Canton girls pounced on the Tigers early, taking a 10-7 lead into halftime and then exploding for 11 more scores in the second half.
It was the first 20-point game of the season for the Bulldogs, who had five players finish with multiple goals, led by senior captain Michelle McNeil with seven and junior standout Meghan Lennon with four. Jen Martin was next with three goals, followed by Kaitlin Phillips and Jackie Merrigan with two apiece. Christine Ward, Shannon Proctor, Sam Sullivan, and Kellie Stigas all added goals in the win.
The Bulldogs also looked sharp offensively in Monday’s 16-15 loss to Apponequet Regional, which serves the towns of Lakeville and Freetown.
The Lakers, who were undefeated heading into the game, had dominated Canton earlier in the season on the Bulldogs’ home turf. And it looked to be headed that way again last week as Apponequet built a 12-7 first half lead.
Refusing to go down quietly, however, Canton stormed back in the second half, outscoring their hosts 8-4 and nearly pulling off the comeback.
“We had the ball at the end of the game and were coming down the field,” noted Murtagh, “but we just ran out of time.”
Despite the heartbreaking finish, Murtagh said his team played better in all facets of the game — including on defense, which tightened up considerably compared to the first meeting between the two teams.
Lennon led all Bulldogs in scoring with six goals, followed by McNeil with four and Phillips with two. Sullivan and Martin also scored goals for the visitors.
Now 8-5, the girls were due to travel to division-leading Foxboro on Monday and Sharon on Wednesday. They will then host Norwood tomorrow night at 5 p.m. before closing out the regular season with the Hockomock crossover game on Monday, May 21.
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