Just short

MANCHESTER – The Souhegan High School girls lacrosse team played the second half of Tuesday’s Division I final like it had all season.

Unfortunately for the No. 1 Sabers, the first half didn’t go nearly as well.

No. 2 Pinkerton Academy scored five unanswered goals in the final seven minutes of the first half and went up by eight early in the second before Souhegan stormed back.

But despite scoring just once in the game’s final 18-plus minutes, the Astros held on for a 13-12 victory to win their second straight D-I title over Souhegan at Southern New Hampshire’s Larkin Field.

The Sabers (18-3) were able to get back into the game thanks to senior Mickenzie Larivee, who had a hand in six of Souhegan’s nine goals in the second half and also won nine draws to keep the ball in her team’s hands.

Larivee finished with five goals and three assists while Jocelyn Donohue had three goals and Madison Learned added a goal and three assists. Souhegan won 18 of the game’s 27 draws, but in the first half, the Sabers weren’t able to capitalize on that advantage.

“You can’t just throw it away on the first shot,” Larivee said. “You have to settle in and we realized that in the second half. We just rushed it a little bit after we got the draw.”

After Donohue scored with 10:45 left in the first half, making it a 4-3 Pinkerton lead, the Astros (18-3) took control of the game, going on a 5-0 run in the final 6:56 of the half. That included three goals in the final 1:11, the last of which was the 200th career goal by Kennedy Daziel (four goals).

“It was a series of unfortunate errors,” Souhegan coach Maren Petropulos said. “It accelerated. The first half we played was not our game. We played the second half like we should have played the first half, and like we had all season.

“We just didn’t have a good first half. I don’t know if they were panicking on attack, but if we had had a few more saves, we’re right in it.”

Although the teams had played a one-goal game in the regular season, Pinkerton coach Rob Daziel felt his team could get out to a big lead because the Astros emptied the playbook against the Sabers in the first half.

“We knew that if we came out and executed our game plan … we ran every play in our book in that first half,” he said. “Every play and we didn’t repeat one offensive play. They executed every one perfectly and we were just going to start the game over.

“They handed me the stat sheet and I ripped it up and said ‘it’s a new game.’ Souhegan made it a new game.”

That started with Larivee, who was assessed a yellow card with 36 seconds left in the first half. When she came back in early in the second, she raced to the goal and helped set up a goal by Kate Bermingham that made it 9-4.

But Pinkerton responded with three straight goals to take a 12-4 lead with 18:25 to play.

“It was almost running time for them,” Larivee said. “I was like ‘this is ridiculous.’ After my yellow card, I watched and wanted to help. I had this adrenaline rush that I was going to go down and get that fight that we need.”

The Sabers found that fight, it just wasn’t enough. Larivee scored with 1:09 left, but Pinkerton’s Alison Davis won the draw and the Astros ran out the final minute-plus.

“I was hoping that we would get control of the ball again,” Daziel said. “Our defense played really tough in the first half and I think they were getting fatigued. They’ve got some great players and they’re not easy to stop. Time was on our side and we just had enough cushion.”