Girls lacrosse: Northampton pulls away from South Hadley behind strong second half

For the Gazette
Published: 5/2/2017 10:18:55 PM

SOUTH HADLEY — Eight unanswered second-half goals sealed the Northampton girls lacrosse team’s 22-9 win over South Hadley on Tuesday.

The Tigers struck first to open the scoring and both teams exchanged goals early in the first half to tie the game at 3. But the Blue Devils outscored South Hadley 9-3 over the remainder of the half, and ultimately ran away following the break.

“I think South Hadley surprised us,” Northampton coach Katie Carr said. “They came out really strong. They have some really solid girls, so they came out really strong. Nine goals, I mean, not what we expected. It wasn’t our best game but they definitely came ready to play.”

The Tigers scored twice to open the second half and cut the deficit to four before the Blue Devils’ 8-0 run essentially put the game away.

“We really needed that run in the second half,” Northampton midfielder Abby Baldwin said. “Our transition through the midfield was looking really good and passes were coming together on offense. Different people were scoring, we were completing passes, doing plays, and it looked really good.”

Carr pointed to the play of Megan McCarthy at draw control as a big part of the Blue Devils’ run in the second half. McCarthy won 20 of 28 draws on the day.

“Meg came up huge on the draw for us. Winning the draw wins the game for you in my eyes,” Carr said.

Four players registered hat tricks for a Blue Devils offense that was firing against the Tigers.

“It’s great when we can spread the ball around and we don’t have to rely on one person so it was nice to see some people really step up out there for us, like Hannah Sled (Sledzieski) had six (goals), which is great,” Carr said.

Baldwin also scored six goals to tie Sledzieski for the team high, while Alli Zadworny scored four times and Megan McCarthy added three goals for Northampton.

Baldwin and McCarthy each added four assists for the Blue Devils.

For South Hadley, the nine goals was more than it had scored over two games against Northampton last year.

“I’m proud of my girls,” Tigers coach Brian Couture said. “We play Northampton and the last four years or so they’ve been getting their butts whipped and we hung nicely in the first half, we weren’t out of it. Second half we came out and we just ran out of gas.”

Marley Medina paced the South Hadley offense, scoring three goals and tallying a team-high three assists.

“Marley was outstanding as always,” Couture said. “The beautiful thing about Marley is that she’s far from a selfish player. She had several assists today on top of the goals that she made. She takes advantage when she can, so she sees that field well.”

Sarah Lacey, a senior having a breakout year for the Tigers, also scored three times, tying Medina for the team high in goals.

“She rolls that crease very nice and she knows when to cut, she knows when to go, she made some great catches and turned and shot,” Couture said.

Both Medina and Lacey mentioned the chemistry between the two as being key for the South Hadley offense.

“Me and Marley, we had our passing great today, we were really connecting,” Lacey said.

“She sees those open cuts and sees her defender’s head turning, she knows right when to cut,” Medina said of Lacey. “We make eye contact so I know to pass her the ball and she usually finishes.”

Medina reached a milestone last week, scoring her 100th career goal in an 18-4 win over Chicopee Comp.

“It was big, it felt good,” Medina said. “It was a huge relief. My team obviously helped me a lot through it because it didn’t seem like it was going to happen because it wasn’t going that well that game for me, but it happened and I owe it all to them. It felt good.”

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