Girls lacrosse: Amherst stays undefeated, runs away from Granby for second win in as many days (PHOTOS)

Amherst’s Thea Binzen (12) shoots past Granby defender Lydia Kicza (10) to score against goalie Faith Ramos (32) in the second quarter Tuesday afternoon in Granby.

Amherst’s Thea Binzen (12) shoots past Granby defender Lydia Kicza (10) to score against goalie Faith Ramos (32) in the second quarter Tuesday afternoon in Granby. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Amherst’s Francesca Sloan (19) fires a shot past Granby goalie Faith Ramos (32) for a goal in the third quarter Tuesday afternoon in Granby.

Amherst’s Francesca Sloan (19) fires a shot past Granby goalie Faith Ramos (32) for a goal in the third quarter Tuesday afternoon in Granby. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Amherst’s Abigail Como (13) fires a shot to score against Granby in the third quarter Tuesday afternoon in Granby.

Amherst’s Abigail Como (13) fires a shot to score against Granby in the third quarter Tuesday afternoon in Granby. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Amherst’s Francesca Sloan (19) takes a shot saved by Granby goalie Faith Ramos (32) in the third quarter Tuesday afternoon in Granby.

Amherst’s Francesca Sloan (19) takes a shot saved by Granby goalie Faith Ramos (32) in the third quarter Tuesday afternoon in Granby. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Amherst’s Kiko Bhowmik (8) carries the ball upfield against Granby in the third quarter Tuesday afternoon in Granby.

Amherst’s Kiko Bhowmik (8) carries the ball upfield against Granby in the third quarter Tuesday afternoon in Granby. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Amherst’s Kiko Bhowmik (8) carries the ball defended by Granby’s Lydia Kicza (10) in the third quarter Tuesday afternoon in Granby.

Amherst’s Kiko Bhowmik (8) carries the ball defended by Granby’s Lydia Kicza (10) in the third quarter Tuesday afternoon in Granby.

Amherst’s Zoey Candito (9), middle, fights for a loose ball against Granby defenders McKenna Zumbruski (18), left, and Ava-Elizabeth Loughman (1) in the third quarter Tuesday in Granby.

Amherst’s Zoey Candito (9), middle, fights for a loose ball against Granby defenders McKenna Zumbruski (18), left, and Ava-Elizabeth Loughman (1) in the third quarter Tuesday in Granby. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Amherst goalie Cedar Conrad (1) makes a save against Granby in the fourth quarter Tuesday in Granby.

Amherst goalie Cedar Conrad (1) makes a save against Granby in the fourth quarter Tuesday in Granby. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Amherst’s Emilia Luetjen (11) takes a shot defended by Granby’s Lydia Kicza (10) in the second quarter Tuesday afternoon in Granby.

Amherst’s Emilia Luetjen (11) takes a shot defended by Granby’s Lydia Kicza (10) in the second quarter Tuesday afternoon in Granby. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Amherst’s Kiko Bhowmik (8) carries the ball upfield defended by Granby’s McKenna Zumbruski (18) in the third quarter Tuesday afternoon in Granby.

Amherst’s Kiko Bhowmik (8) carries the ball upfield defended by Granby’s McKenna Zumbruski (18) in the third quarter Tuesday afternoon in Granby. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

By GARRETT COTE

Staff Writer

Published: 04-30-2024 9:19 PM

GRANBY —  A pair of Mylin Laliberte goals dug the Granby girls lacrosse team out of an early 2-0 hole in the first quarter and tied things up with Amherst about midway through the frame.

Just one day removed from a tough 18-5 defeat at the hands of the Hurricanes, the Rams looked ready to play on their home field.

Then Amherst dug its heels in and took off.

The ‘Canes ended the first frame on a 3-0 run, and sophomore Kiko Bhowmik netted three straight goals to open the second. Just like that, they were back in front – this time for good.

Behind the stellar goaltending of Cedar Conrad, Amherst held Granby off the board completely over the next three quarters and defeated the Rams 16-2 on Tuesday afternoon.

After taking care of business on Monday, Amherst didn’t let off the gas against the same opponent just 24 hours later.

“No game is too easy, and I think sometimes the score might make it look that way but it’s certainly not,” Hurricanes head coach Andrew MacDougall said. “There are lots of small adjustments that the players are doing within the game and in preparation for the game that make it look like the victory must be larger, but it’s work and preparation.”

It was a battle of one of Hampshire County’s oldest girls lacrosse teams battling it out with one of the region’s youngest. Amherst fields seven seniors on its roster compared to Granby’s zero – not to mention the Rams’ seven eighth graders.

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Laliberte’s two goals gave Granby some hope, but that age and experience eventually showed itself as the game progressed.

“We played them very well in those first few minutes,” Rams head coach Gary O’Grady said. “I think if we played our game the whole time and did the things that we do well, we would’ve done a little better. They broke us down, and we’re a very young team. That’s just the way it is.”

Now 9-0 this season, Amherst’s offense continues to shine. The Hurricanes have scored 13 or more goals in all but one game thus far, and their depth in the attacking zone has made them a near-impossible puzzle to solve.

Bhowmik netted four goals on the day, with Francesca Sloan scoring four times and Thea Binzen adding three. Zoey Candito and Abi Como each scored twice and Claire Kennedy found the back of the net as well. Factor in Talia Sadiq, who missed Tuesday’s game but has 19 goals on the year, and the ‘Canes only get that much better. 

“I’ve been super impressed with everybody, top to bottom,” MacDougall said. “We’ve benefited from having some girls who have been part of the program for many years, and we’re seeing that manifest itself this year. We’re very dynamic, and that makes it very difficult for opponents to defend.”

Despite the onslaught from Amherst, O’Grady felt his defense did plenty of things to be proud of. Starting two eighth graders on the back line, Granby more than held its own – especially in the first half.

Playing against the Hurricanes’ speed and chemistry is only going to help them learn moving forward.

“I thought our defense played very well considering we’re starting two eighth graders on defense,” O’Grady said. “This is an offensive game, and Amherst is an offensive team. I thought we pressured the ball very well, but they just did a good job of handling it. That comes with their experience.”

Conrad kept Granby off the board in the second half with a handful of terrific saves on free position shots. The Rams felt they had their looks, and set up leading scorer and freshman Kalli White (32 goals this spring) in favorable situations on several occasions. But Conrad stood tall in the cage, collecting a total of eight saves throughout the game.

“They have a really good goalie, and we tried everything to beat her but she stopped us,” O’Grady said. “Our offense did a lot of good things, but we just couldn’t beat their goalie.”

MacDougall has seen the growth of Conrad since her freshman year.

“Cedar is a rock, and she’s a four-year starter for us,” MacDougall added. “She puts a lot of time in during the offseason to prepare. She puts in the hard work, and she loves the position.”

Between May 2 and May 13, Amherst has eight games scheduled – weather permitting – starting with Pope Francis on Thursday. Still holding on to that undefeated record, the ‘Canes have tried to center their attention elsewhere.

And they’ve used the mantra of one of the all-time great coaches to help them.

“In the spirit of Bill Belichick, ‘It’s on to Cincinnati,’” MacDougall said. “We have a lot of games in a row right now, so we’re focused on the next game right now and trying not to worry about the bigger picture. I know it’s on their mind, but it’s not what we’re aiming for. We’re aiming for the next game.”

Granby (3-5) hosts Chicopee Comp on Thursday at 4:30 p.m.