Souhegan rolls past North

AMHERST – Top-seeded Souhegan faced little adversity during their dominant regular season. However, when No. 8 Nashua North battled its way back into Wednesday’s Division I girls lacrosse quarterfinal, the Sabers proved that they were capable of any challenge.

Souhegan brushed off a first-half run by the Titans, outscoring its opponent by seven goals in the second half to secure an 18-8, opening-round victory.

There was no denying that Souhegan had the edge entering the game. The Sabers finished the regular season 17-1, including a 12-goal victory over North in April. The team’s only loss came at the hands of a dominant Needham (Mass.) squad, and Souhegan finished the regular season with an impressive nine-goal margin of victory. The Titans, meanwhile, finished the regular season 0-9 against their fellow playoff teams.

So it was little surprise when Kate Bermingham netted her second goal of the game to give the Sabers an early 5-1 lead.

Gabby Masseur and her Titans teammates refused to give up, though. The sophomore scored three of her five goals in a span of eight minutes to bring her team within one.

“She’s an amazing athlete,” Titans co-coach Karen Gagnon said. “She listens to what we have to say and she’s matured throughout the season. She now has confidence that she was lacking at the beginning. This is a culmination of her whole season.”

Unfortunately for the Titans, that was the closest they’d get. After trailing by three heading into halftime, Nashua North was outscored 9-2 in the second half. Despite the late struggles, the coaching staff was still proud of the girls’ performance.

“This was their best game so far. They wanted it bad,” said North co-coach Kristine Tingley. ”We scared Souhegan for a little while. Everyone wants a win, but we showed them we could at least scare them. We made a mark and made them know who’s coming after them next year.“

Meanwhile, Souhegan coach Maren Petropulos recognized that her team was having difficulties in the first half. She identified what changes needed to be made, and her team responded with a dominant second.

“I think we had a slow start,” she said. “If you control the ground balls and the draws, there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to end up on the right side at the end of the game. We specifically talked about that at halftime. So we started having more success in those aspects of the game. I think we made some adjustments, and those showed in the second half.”

Brigid Casey led Souhegan with six goals and three assists. Bermingham finished with four scores, and teammate Abby Cranney netted three. Goalie Meaghan Allard finished with seven saves for Souhegan. Masseur led the Titans with five goals and a pair of assists.