Bedford girls stay calm, roll past Windham for title win

Drew Shapiro knew all her and her Bedford High School girls lacrosse teammates had to do was stay calm and composed.

They’d been able to do that Saturday in a worse situation. A two-goal, first-half deficit to Windham in the championship game seemed like nothing.

When the No. 3 Bulldogs’ got going, it quickly was nothing. Bedford closed out the first half on an 8-1 run – with Shapiro scoring five of those goals – and continued scoring in the second half to beat the No. 1 Jaguars 19-12 in the Division II championship game at Southern New Hampshire University.

Shapiro finished the game with 10 goals, seven of which came in the first half, and an assist while Kennedy Boyle added four goals and an assist and Kelsey Linehan had a goal and four assists. Ashley Maddox added seven saves, including some key ones in the second half, as Bedford (17-3) won the its first girls lacrosse championship after losing in the semifinals in the three previous years.

“There are literally no words for this,” Shapiro said. “We’ve been trying for so long and it just feels amazing to finally get it.”

It was close to not happening again for Bedford, as the Bulldogs trailed No. 2 Hanover by a goal in the semifinals on Saturday. But Shapiro scored the game-tying goal, while Bedford was a man-down, with 2:04 left and added the game-winner with 33.8 seconds to go.

“We finally got over the hump,” Maddox said. “We just had to keep our composure and our team does a good job of that. We don’t get hyped up and we try to keep a cool head the whole game and wait until after to celebrate.”

It felt like the celebration could have started at halftime for Bedford.

Windham (15-3) took a 6-4 lead on a goal by Ali Connors (four goals, assist) with 13:23 remaining in the first half, and everything seemed to be going right for the Jaguars.

And then, all of sudden, the Bulldogs took over.

“I think at first it didn’t fully click in our heads that this is the championship game,” Shapiro said. “Once they started scoring, we were like ‘we can’t lose this.’ It finally clicked and we just went for it. We were able to clean up all the little mistakes that we had.”

The Bedford senior scored back-to-back goals in 37 seconds to tie the game and Boyle put the Bulldogs up for good, 7-6, with 10:38 left in the half. The pair then made it a 6-0 run for Bedford and a 10-6 lead with 6:24 to go in the first.

“They just didn’t get worked up about it,” Bedford coach Christine Hodgdon said. “They didn’t get frazzled. I’m so impressed and proud of them. Just showing up and doing their jobs and trusting that their teammates would also do their jobs, it’s amazing for the seven seniors that have been waiting for this for a long time.”

At halftime, it was Hodgdon that reminded the Bulldogs the game was far from over. When the teams had played during the regular season, Windham overcame a bigger deficit to cut Bedford’s lead to one before the Bulldogs held on a for a two-goal win.

“Windham is so good and they are good at going on runs, and they proved that,” Hodgdon said. “They went on a little run. We were lucky to make adjustments early and get the ball back and put a few in to secure that lead.”

Every time Windham scored in the second half, Bedford answered, and finally, the Bulldogs piled on at the end to put the game out of reach.

“I can’t believe we did it,” Maddox said. “It was four years in the making. We built up to it all season, but since freshman year, we’ve been working toward a championship. I’m overwhelmed with emotion.”