By Max Clifford
Hometown Weekly Reporter
Playing from behind for the first time in the MIAA Division III state tournament, Medfield High School Girls Varsity Lacrosse made a strong final push but could not overcome their semifinal opponents from Norwell High School. The team’s dominant playoff run, which featured a 45-goal differential in the first three rounds, came to a close as the Warriors fell to the Clippers by a final score of 10-9 at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Qunicy on Wednesday, June 14.
After earning the second overall seed in the state tournament, Medfield cruised through their matchups with Greater Lowell Tech and Notre Dame-Worcester in the rounds of 32 and 16, respectively. The high-powered offense posted 20 goals in each game, though the victories were never in doubt thanks to the play of goalkeeper Katelyn Nicotera, who allowed just three total goals in the two games.
In the early goings, Medfield’s quarterfinal match with seventh-seeded Hanover looked to be another dominant performance. The Warriors’ leading scorer, USA Lacrosse All-American Kelly Blake completed a hat trick less than five minutes into the game to put her team up 3-1.
Hanover slowly chipped away at the Medfield lead before exploding for a 4-0 run in the final five minutes of the first half, cutting the deficit from 9-3 to 9-7 at the break.
The Warriors offense took over in the second half, quickly stretching the lead to back to six and keeping it there for the majority of the frame. Kelly Blake and Izzy Kittredge each found the back of the net three times after the halftime break.
When the final horn sounded Medfield players flooded the field to celebrate their berth in the MIAA Division III Final Four, defeating Hanover by a final score of 22-15.
The semifinal round saw the Warriors matched up with sixth-seeded Norwell, who had won their first two tournament games in dominant fashion before pulling off an upset victory over third-seeded Cohasset to reach the final four. Veterans Memorial Stadium was designated as the neutral site location for the showdown.
The Clippers were effective in putting Medfield in an unfamiliar situation, opening up a 3-0 lead less than two minutes into the game.
Medfield’s first offensive possession of the game resulted in their first score, with Kelly Blake turning an eight-meter opportunity into her first goal of the afternoon. Two minutes later, her second score found the net after ricocheting off of the goal frame, cutting the deficit to 3-2.
After the two squads combined to score on each of their first five possessions, Nicotera made the game’s first save. The ensuing offensive chance for the Warriors saw a pair of missed shots before Kelly Blake finished off another hat trick to tie the game at 3-3 with 16:45 to play in the first half.
After almost eight scoreless minutes, Norwell took a 4-3 lead immediately following a timeout.
Medfield’s second USA Lacrosse All-American, Alex Blake was quick with the response, tying the game once again, 4-4.
Norwell’s fifth goal of the game caught Medfield on their heels. An eight-meter attempt by Kelly Blake was original called a good goal before being waved off. With their backs turned to the offense, the Warriors’ defense appeared to be unaware that the possession was continuing. The Norwell offense took advantage of the confusion, finding the back of the net for a 5-4 lead.
Though the Norwell lead swelled to 9-5 with just under 18 minutes to play in the second half, Medfield refused to go quietly. A pair of goals from Kelly Blake and a score from Olivia Smith cut the deficit to 9-8.
Norwell added another score with just under seven minutes left to play, stretching the lead to 10-8. Both offenses were silenced until Medfield’s Maeve Kelly found a crack in the Norwell defense with less than a minute to play, cutting the deficit back to one.
The time remaining would not be enough for the Warriors as their tournament run came to a close with a 10-9 loss in the quarterfinals.