WESTBROOK – The Lady Blazes have struggled this season, in large part due to inexperience, and their home bout with No. 2 Biddeford on Thursday, May 11, proved no exception. Westbrook picked up a pair of goals from Michaela Russell and one from McKenzie Dougherty in the contest, but the Tigers ran away with the action from the get-go and emerged victorious in the end, 17-3.
“Biddeford’s very good this year,” said Westbrook head coach Kevin Roy. “Definitely kudos to them.”
Roy talked about the Lady Blazes’ present state of development, providing some crucial context for understanding not just the day’s loss, but also the direction of the program. “Our girls [are] young,” he said, “and a little bit inexperienced in all three phases – transition, offense, defense. We’re in a new defense, so the girls had to learn that…Offense worked hard.”
Westbrook features four seniors, three juniors and a substantial cohort of underclassmen. But of their seniors and juniors, only one has been playing lacrosse for more than a couple years. “Other than that, a lot of these girls maybe played a year in middle school,” Roy said. “I would say a majority of them just picked a stick for the first time their freshman year of high school.”
“It’s exciting because they’re very athletic,” Roy said of his players. “Honestly, I can’t say enough good things about the girls who are working hard. We see a lot of growth from the first day of practice, when it’s hard just to cradle, or hold the ball in your stick, to now, where we can pass and catch effectively up and down the field.”
Biddeford began their assault early, Peyton McKeown scoring the first of her four goals just nine seconds in. The Blazes, however, then succeeded in fending off their guests’ aggressions for nearly 10 minutes; not until 15:44 did the Tigers pounce once more. That goal belonged to Paige Laverriere, who finished the day with two.
“This was their strongest performance on defense,” Roy said. “I know the scoreboard indicates one thing; but…especially the first half, the first quarter of the game, they really came out and worked hard. Communication was much better. It may not have looked like it, because Biddeford capitalized on the chances they did have, but we took away quite a few chances as well, by just remaining focused and composed.”
“We’ve been playing a little timidly,” Roy said of his attack. “Afraid to cut, afraid to make mistakes. Getting through that roadblock, the offense really showed good aggressiveness.”
Biddeford tallied eight more through the remainder of the uphill half. McKeown struck twice more, Hailey Allen added two in a row, and Serena Speight and Rebekah Guay notched one apiece. Russell contributed the first of her pair roughly six minutes in.
The Tigers continued to dominate in the latter half, adding nine more. Grace Boisvert turned in the team’s most fiery performance during that stretch, heaping five onto the scoreboard. Doughtery posted Westbrook’s second of the day at 18:26, while Russell earned their third with 4:46 to go. 17-3 the final.
No. 11 Westbrook slipped to 0-6 on the result. The Lady Blazes played their closest game of the season (so far) against Noble, currently ranked ninth at 2-3. Westbrook hosts Oxford Hills (12th in A North, 0-4) on Saturday the 13th, travels to Deering (No. 8 in A South, 2-4) the following Tuesday and hosts Gorham (No. 6 in A South, 3-4) two days after that.
Biddeford jumped to 6-0. Only Massabesic, also 6-0, outranks the Tigers at present.
“It’s hard to pinpoint one girl in this game,” Roy said, asked who among his players he most wanted to pat on the back. “Just because this is what we’ve been hoping to see out of them – smart, team-focused, strong communication. So I have to praise everybody. But…we saw great things from [Michaela].”
Roy’s assistant, Rachelle Messuri, lauded the team’s goaltender, Sydney Cole, who assuredly deserved the praise. Despite giving up the 17 she gave up, Cole also turned away a number of balls that by rights should’ve gotten past her. “She had a lot of good saves,” Messuri said.
Adam Birt can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME
Westbrook Brittany Crockett charges upfield with the ball.
Ariana St. Cyr tracks an attacking Tiger.
Westbrook’s Josie Leblanc harangues Biddeford’s Brooke Reissfelder, attacking.
Kiersten Hilton fires off a pass for the Blazes.
Mackenzie Dougherty battles for a ground ball in Westbrook’s matchup with Biddeford on Thursday.