[ccfic caption-text format="plaintext"]
By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
The defending Division I state champion Needham High School varsity girls lacrosse team traveled to Norwood on Thursday afternoon for their final-ever matchup against the Mustangs in Bay State Conference play; Norwood is heading to the Tri-Valley League next season.
Behind a hat trick and pair of assists in the first half by junior midfielder and faceoff specialist Callie Hem, the Rockets (7-3) cruised to a 19-4 victory to improve to 4-1 in Bay State Conference action.
Sophomore attack/midfielder Lily Doherty got Needham on the board just 53 seconds in by firing home a bounce shot on a fast break before freshman Grace Kelley finished a feed from Hem at the crease just seconds later to make it 2-0. Junior attacker Maeve Barker put home a goal on a cut to the crease with 19:37 to play to extend the lead to 3-0, and then just 18 seconds later, Hem fired home a dart off of a feed from junior midfielder Gracie Bruno to make it 4-0 with 19:19 to play.
Barker’s second of the game on a strong cut and finish down low extended Needham’s lead to 5-0 before Norwood got on the board with a goal on a free position to make it 5-1. Just 40 seconds later with 17:47 remaining, Bruno finished high on a fast break to extend Needham’s lead back to five goals at 6-1.
Junior midfielder Dana Fernandez made it a 7-1 game with a dodge and off-stick side bounce shot. Norwood responded with a goal off of the ensuing face off to make it 7-2, but Hem quickly got the goal back for Needham with a cut to the crease and finish up high to put Needham ahead at 8-2 with 14:41 remaining in the half. Abby Dateo made it 9-2 after finishing at the crease off of a feed from Hem with 14:24 to play.
Hem completed the hat trick to put Needham in double figures at 10-2 with 13:18 remaining before Kelley added her second of the day off of a feed from Hem to make it 11-2. Norwood cut the deficit to 11-3, but back-to-back goals by Dateo and Doherty gave the Rockets a 10-goal lead at the break at 13-3.
The Rockets added six more goals in the second half and went on to win by a 19-4 final and move to 6-3 on the season. On Monday, Needham earned a 9-7 victory over Concord-Carlisle behind another hat trick from Callie Hem to move to 7-3.
At the time of print, Needham will look to stick to its winning ways when the Lady-Rockets travel to face rival Wellesley on May 3.
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter at @fLAno0, or read his blog at www.flannylive.wordpress.com.