Girls Lacrosse Finds Team Identity After Newton North Win

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A Walpole attacker attempts to score a goal.

Meagan Sundstrom

A Walpole attack goes in for a goal against Newton North.
A Walpole attack goes in for a goal against Newton North.

Ideally, a varsity high school sports team consists mostly of upperclassmen with a few juniors and sophomores.  However, this year’s Girls Lacrosse team diverges from the normal line-up, with only four starting seniors.  Despite their youth, the Rebels have stepped up and given themselves a reputable team identity in the Bay State Conference.  A shaky start against Natick on April 3 did not hinder the Rebels, for victories against King Phillip on April 4 and Newton North on April 8 have quickly given them a winning record.

The Lady Rebels’ starting lineup consists of eight under-classmen: junior Molly Lanahan, junior Meagan Sundstrom, and freshman Mel Weber as midfielders; junior Olivia O’Brien, sophomore Hannah Nadeau, and freshmen Alison Foley as attacks; and freshman Sophia Giovaniello, and junior Lauren Hirshom on defense.

On April 3, which was Walpole’s first game of the 2014 season, Natick won ball possession from most of the draws—usually a strength for Walpole—which led to a 12-6 victory for the Red & Blue. During the first half, Natick took a five-goal lead over Walpole after scoring four consecutive times to make the halftime score 8-3. Clearing the ball after making a defensive stop and playing tight defense during transition plays exposed weaknesses for the mostly inexperienced Walpole lineup.

After halftime, Nadeau scored her first varsity goal followed by Lanahan’s third goal, making the score 10-5 with Natick in the lead. Sundstrom scored the Rebels’ final goal of the game, but Natick pulled ahead to make the final score 12-6.

The girls had just a brief time to make up for Thursday’s loss, as King Phillip was the scheduled opponent for the next day.  On Friday, April 4 against K.P., the Rebels showed improvements in multiple aspects of the game, especially obtaining ball possession from the draw circle.

 O’Brien and Sundstrom scored Walpole’s first two goals, and thenlater freshman star Alison Foley scored her first Varsity goal to make the score 4-4.  At halftime, King Philip led Walpole 7-6, but the Rebels’ offense was able to control the second half.

Lanahan and Sundstrom contributed seven and five goals respectively over the course of the game to give the Rebels a sufficient lead for the last ten minutes of play.  Walpole offensive players then stalled for the rest of the game—a strategy made possible by the lack of a shot clock— and defeated KP 14-10 to put their first tally in the win column.

On April 8, the Rebels won a majority of the ball possession on draws and secured a solid victory over Newton North of 13-6 to improve to 2-1 on the season.  Shannon Fitzgerald—a senior from Newton North who has committed to play Division 1 college lacrosse for Johns Hopkins—posed an offensive threat for Walpole, but Mel Weber was able to stifle Fitzgerald’s formidable attack. Senior Bri Doherty led the Walpole offense with four goals on the afternoon. Lanahan also finished with another hat-trick, with all of her goals coming in the first half.

A vital contributor to this year’s team has been veteran varsity player Molly Lanahan. This season, Lanahan has taken on an impressive role as a midfielder for the Varsity team: she demonstrates fast speed and deep knowledge of the game in addition to contributing a large number of goals on the offensive end.  After only three games, Lanahan dominated the team’s stats with 13 goals and four assists.

“Molly is a tremendous player and a tremendous competitor,” Coach Tosone said. “She excels at all facets of the game.  Lanahan’s speed and intelligence combined with her impressive offensive stats make her a critical member of the team. ”

Walpole looks to improve their 3-1  record  againast against Carey division rival Brookline on April 15 and out-of-league foe Mansfield on April 16.