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Wolverine girls open lax season at 1-1

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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor

The pride of both the Bay State Conference and Tri-Valley League, as far as high school girls lacrosse is concerned, met in an early-season non-conference heavyweight bout Wednesday evening, as the Needham Rockets traveled to Flahive Field to take on the two-time defending Division II state champion Westwood Wolverines in a rematch of last season’s South Sectional Finals, won 12-7 by Westwood. After taking down Bellingham 19-1 in their season-opener on Monday night, the Wolverines (1-1, 1-0) were looking to continue the winning trend in the latter half of their back-to-back.

Westwood’s Kelly Doonan (1) focuses in to scoop up a ground ball.   Photos by Michael Mao

Westwood’s Kelly Doonan (1) focuses in to scoop up a ground ball. Photos by Michael Mao

The Rockets (1-1, 0-0) got off to a rapid start on Tuesday, jumping out to a quick 4-0 lead thanks in large part to the play of Kendall Milligan (three goals, two assists). Westwood cut the deficit to 4-2 following a timeout after the fourth Needham goal when senior captain and Bryant-commit Shea Farrell sniped one home. However, the Rockets countered by extending their lead back to 7-2 at the break after Milligan notched her second of the contest in the final minute of the first half.

Following the halftime intermission, the Needham girls knew that they had to keep the pressure on the Wolverines; the Westwood offense is too deadly to sit back and treat conservatively, due to the likes of Farrell and UMass commit, Haley Connaughton. The Rockets carried over their strong play from the first half, netting two goals in the first two minutes following halftime, extending their lead to seven at 9-2. After Connaughton got the Wolverines back to within six at 9-3, Needham’s Sarah Conley fired one home to give the Rockets a commanding 10-3 advantage with just 15 minutes left to play in the contest.

Just two minutes following the Conley goal, Milligan completed the hat trick to put Needham ahead by nine at 12-3. Conley then completed a hat trick of her own to give Needham a 13-3 edge, and sophomore Maeve Barker rounded out the scoring with a goal in the game’s final minutes to put the Rockets ahead by 11 at 14-3.

The victory acted as a sweet little serving of revenge for the Needham girls after the way Westwood put a halt to their season last June in the South Finals en route to a state title, but there is still a lot of lax to be played in this 2017 season, and it would be the least bit surprising if these two powerhouse programs meet up again in this year’s state tournament.

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