Souhegan girls fall to Mass. power Norwell

AMHERST – Was it simply a letdown from an intense week against equally intense competition?

Or was it simply that the visiting team was far superior?

Perhaps it was a little of the former and a lot of the latter that allowed the visiting Norwell (Mass.) High School girls lacrosse team to dominate Souhegan on Sunday by an 18-10 margin in a game that really wasn’t as close as the final score indicated.

“They’re very good, they’re the best team that we’ve seen all year, by far,” Sabers coach Maren Petropulos said of the Clippers. “They’re not the team we played last year (and beat). They’re quick, they move that ball so fast, the draw was kind of a kink in our side. We had a tough, tough time.”

The 14-2 Sabers were coming off a big week, handing Pinkerton its only loss and beating rival Bedford in overtime on Friday night. But there’s no way they could have expected this.

How dominant were the visiting 14-3 Clippers, obvious challengers for an Eastern Mass. Division II title? They charged out to a 7-0 lead, kept the Sabers off the board for the first 16 minutes, led 11-1 at halftime and led by as much as 15-2 before things settled down. In other words, they did to Souhegan what the Sabers do to a lot of other teams in New Hampshire’s Division I.

“Souhegan’s a terrific team and so well-coached, obviously,” Norwell coach Kara Connerty said. “As you know, momentum is key in lacrosse. Getting those first few in is momentum for us.

“We talk in practice about minimizing our errors, capitalizing on opponents errors, and then just finishing it.”

Oh they finished it, alright. The Sabers committed eight turnovers in the decisive first half and the Clippers capitalized on six of them. Norwell had nine players score, led by Maddie McDonough with four goals and an assist,Allison Connerty with four, Murphy McDonough with three goals plus an assist, and Jillian Bergholtz with a pair.

The Sabers didn’t put one in the net until Savannah Behn beat Norwell netminder Emily Kelly with 8:57 left. At that point it was 11-1, and most of the Sabers second half goals came late. Behn and Brigid Casey each had three while Hannah Rowe added a pair with single tallies going to Claire Woodford and Taylor Clark. Saber goalie Alex LaBrosse had four saves and Kelly needed only to make one.

Both of the Sabers losses have been to out-of-state competition (Notre Dame Academy the other), but Petropulos won’t mind the hit that likely clinches the fact the defending champion Sabers will be in the two-three bracket in next month’s state tourney, perhaps meaning a tough semi with Bedford.

“I think this gets us better,” she said. “It definitely exposes some of our weaknesses, some that we knew about and others that were more exposed.

“I think we were tired today, we have a couple of sick kids, but I didn’t (expect a letdown).

“It was awesome to play them. It’s good lacrosse.”