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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
It was an incredibly strong week for the Wellesley High School varsity girls lacrosse team, as the Raiders (6-3) took down two Bay State Conference opponents at home in Brookline on April 25 by a final of 14-4, and Norwood on April 29 by a final of 15-3.
Caitlin Chicoski and Maddy Balter continued to thrive as they have all season long for Wellesley, as despite having their minutes cut in the second half of both games for subs, the duo combined for a total of 11 goals and six assists throughout the two victories.Freshman goaltender Anna Hereu got the start against Brookline in place of senior Sophie Vandervelde (rest) on Tuesday, and delivered some solid saves in net and allowed the Raiders to maintain a significant early advantage thanks to four first quarter saves. On Friday, Hereu was inserted into the game at the half with Wellesley ahead by nine at the break, and according to sophomore midfielder Brooke Baker, Hereu continued to show why there is a ton of promise between the pipes for the Raiders during the next four years.
“Anna was awesome for us in both games this week,” said Baker. “She provided us with the support we needed and continues to improve every time she gets her name called. There’s a lot for us to look forward to in the future with her only being a freshman.”
Even while both wins over the Mustangs and Warriors were certainly lopsided to an extent, Baker says that she and her teammates really learned a lot about themselves with the way they were able to mix and match lines, and give their depth players opportunities to showcase their abilities.
“We watched a lot of film this week in preparation and it definitely helped us out when it came time to go out and play,” said Baker. “We were able to recognize when we were weak in a certain area and needed to adjust … it definitely helped out with our communication with one another on the field. It was really awesome seeing everybody on the team play and play together, and it should only help us more and more as the season moves on.”
Because of the hot and muggy conditions on Friday, the Raiders knew that they needed to conserve their legs in order to last the whole game. To help conserve their energy, Wellesley opted to move around their midfielders to positions on attack and defense throughout various points of the contest, and it resulted in key offensive players such as Chicoski, Balter, Baker, and Grace Ahonen being able to stay fresh throughout the match’s entirety.
“It was really hot out there on Friday,” said Baker. “We knew that if we ran our offense like we normally did, then it would be tough to adjust to the heat on the turf. Our coaches did a great job of identifying who needed to go where, and I was one of the players moved from midfield to attack … it allowed us to stay fresh, give more people opportunities to play, and keep us in rhythm.”
The Raiders will look to stick to their winning ways when they travel to Newton North on May 4 before a home date with Framingham on May 9.