BG ousts Tomahawks
By TOM KING
NASHUA – The only lightning that struck during the Bishop Guertin-Merrimack High School girls lacrosse Division I quarterfinal at Stellos Stadium early Wednesday evening was the Cardinal offense.
It was electric. With storm clouds approaching, third-seeded Guertin (14-3) scored eight straight goals to start the second half en route to an 18-5 win that puts them in Saturday’s semifinals against area rival Souhegan.
The Cards, who were down 2-1 early, led 9-4 at halftime but things really got untracked after that.
“It was just the nerves of begin in the playoffs,” Guertin coach Kerry D’Ambroise said. “So I think we had to wiggle that out, get back into our groove and feeling good.”
The Cards had just too much firepower for the No. 6 Tomahawks (9-8) to keep at bay.
Top Cardinal scorers Kate Bradford and Olivia Koutsos fed each other in the first two minutes of the second half to make it 11-4, then Koutsos scored again and later two more by Bradford. The other scorers in the streak were Katie Lupo and Emily Santom. Merrimack finally snapped the run with a goal by Molly Baulier with 6:30 to play.
“We were definitely tired,” Tomahawks coach Sarah Rothhaus. “We were just exhausted and our emotions got the best of us in the second half.”
Overall, the Cards’ scoring broke down this way: Koutsos (five goals and two assists), Bradford (three goals, two assists), Santom, Kayli Keenan and Katie Lupo three goals apiece, with the final BG score late by Abigail Ahearn.
But it wasn’t always one-sided. Merrimack took the opening draw and Jolie Jacoby raced downfield and scored 12 seconds in. Koutsos tied it a minute later, but Amber Brewster gave Merrimack a 2-1 lead nearly seven minutes in.
However, Guertin put together a string of five straight tallies, despite the efforts of Tomahawk netminder Bella Beaton (eight saves), and led 6-2. That pretty much set the tone.
“(Merrimack) came out firing,” D’Ambroise said. “I think that’s something (her players) were taken aback by. We had a time out, we got ready to go, and we were ready to get back into our game plan, which was good.”
Brewster ended up with two goals for the ‘Hawks, who also got a goal by Autumn Howe. Merrimack only had four seniors on its roster, as well as eight freshmen. So Rothhaus wasn’t too displeased.
“They came ready,” Rothhaus said. “We’re just a young team. We needed this experience.”
And now it’s on to the semis for the Cards, who will try to reverse an earlier 11-8 loss this year to the Sabers on Saturday at Exeter’s Bill Ball Stadium at 5 p.m.
“We shot at their goalie a lot, and that’s something we’ve gotten better with,” D’Ambroise said. “I think we’re ready to go.”