Tiger girls top Cougars, 11-5, to reach D-I lacrosse semifinals
MIDDLEBURY — For 24 minutes of Friday’s Division I quarterfinal on Middlebury College’s Kohn Field, the Middlebury Union High School girls’ lacrosse team did not look like an undefeated No. 1 seed: The Tigers trailed No. 8 Mount Mansfield, 4-0, and were turning the ball over.
In a span of 27 seconds it was 4-3.
The goals came courtesy of a solo move by middie Andi Boe at 0:42; a draw control and a move by middie Isabel Rosenberg that resulted in a foul and a successful free position shot from a sharp angle; and a Boe draw control after which she raced down the field and whipping the ball high into the net with 15 seconds left in the half.
Those goals were the first of 11 straight for the Tigers in what proved to be an 11-5 win over MMU (10-7).
Boe, who scored four goals and scooped four ground balls, said the Tigers might have been “apprehensive” early on against an MMU team that had played them tough this spring, but knew what they had to do.
“We came out and realized our season was going to end, and we did not want it to end today, and basically we just cleaned things up,” Boe said. “I just think we focused in on the little things that were falling apart.”
And, yes, those three goals late in the half helped.
“That was huge for both us and them,” Boe said. “We just completely had the momentum going into the second half, and they were way on their heels.”
Coach Kelley Higgins called the win “definitely a team effort” as the quicker Tigers won 13 of 16 draws and scooped 33 of 46 ground balls. Rosenberg scored three goals and recorded seven draw controls and seven ground balls; middie Satchel McLaughlin contributed a goal, an assist, four draw controls and five ground balls, and defender Lacey Greenamyre added four ground balls.
Another factor was the Tigers’ work to regain the ball once they lost it. Attackers Mikayla Robinson and Emily Laframboise (three goals) in particular joined the middies in harassing the Cougars, and defenders Riley Fenster, Keagan Dunbar, Abby Gleason and Greenamyre broke up plays.
“The defense started with the re-defend by the offense,” Higgins said. “I give so much credit to our core defenders, goalie included, but I’m also going to say our defense started in our offensive end, turning the ball over. That’s so much part of the momentum shift, when we can keep the ball down at that end of the field.”
Tiger goalie Raven Payne made three of her four saves in the first half to keep the game close, but could not stop Madison Gay six minutes in, Allison Charland at 16:40, a Natalie Mohn free position at 12:49, and Ella King, from Charland, at 4:22.
Then Boe and Rosenberg let both teams know the game was on. Higgins praised their effort.
“They motivate their teammates by how they play,” she said. “They both play end to end. Those two are running more than anybody else on the field and yet they don’t tire and make crucial plays and score and cause turnovers.”
Rosenberg tied the score at 22:58 of the second, picking up a failed MMU clear and running in from the restraining line. After sustained pressure Boe gave MUHS the lead at 15:55 by converting a free position.
Then the Tiger D sparked the attack. Rosenberg knocked the ball loose at midfield, and Laframboise ran it in from 50 yards out at 13:59 to make it 6-4.
The Cougars won the draw, and Payne got her hands on a hard King shot to knock it wide left. The ball went to Boe, who sprinted the length of the field to make it 7-4 at 12:37. Then Fenster caused a turnover, and a minute later McLaughlin fed Laframboise to make it 8-4.
Laframboise, McLaughlin and Rosenberg tacked on goals to finish the Tigers’ 11-0 run. Charland broke MMU’s 25-minute drought in the final minute, and Cougar goalie Joanna Wright stopped five shots.
The 16-0 Tigers are set to host No. 4 Rice (12-5) on Tuesday at 4:30; the Tigers won at Rice, 10-6, back in April. No. 2 seed and defending champion Mount Anthony (16-0) gets No. 7 Champlain Valley (10-6) at the same time.
Boe said the Tigers will be confident moving forward, especially after Friday’s rally.
“Having come back from a 4-0 deficit, anything that happens in the coming games, we know that we’ve done it before,” Boe said. “We’ve made it work, so that’s huge.”
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