Girls Lacrosse Qualifies for Tournament after 9 Game Win Streak

Meagan Sundstrom

Junior Molly Lanahan initiates the Walpole offense against Newton North.
Junior Molly Lanahan initiates the Walpole offense against Newton North.

Some may have perceived this year’s girls lacrosse season as one to rebuild the program, for a significant amount of graduated players and youthful lineup can subside as weaknesses for many teams.  However, the Rebels have proven themselves to be a forceful identity in the Bay State Conference after obtaining a nine game winning streak and qualifying for tournament after only ten games this season.  Following an early loss to Natick in their first game, the girls lacrosse team stepped up to multiple challenges in their schedule and claimed victories over tough teams such as Wellesley, Foxboro, and Dover-Sherborn.

On April 11, Walpole faced Wellesley — a Bay State League powerhouse.  Knowing that Walpole’s varsity girls lacrosse team had never beaten Wellesley in the past, the Rebels had to prepare for a tough opponent.  Despite preceding fears of such a strong team, Walpole clinched a 9-3 win over the Raiders.  Juniors Molly Lanahan and Meagan Sundstrom each netted three goals on the afternoon, and the Rebels again utilized the clock to stall in the offensive zone at the end of the game.

Easy victories over Brookline and Dedham enabled the girls to field everyone on the roster and continue their win streak.  On April 21, the Rebels faced Foxboro, a team new to their schedule this year due to their transition into Division 2.  The Warriors presented strengths in all facets of the game and reside as one of Walpole’s tougher opponent’s so far this season.  Lanahan again led Walpole’s scoring with seven goals in the 14-12 win.

After defeating King Philip for the second time this year on April 24, Walpole held a record of 8-1, just one win away from qualifying for the state tournament.  On Saturday, April 26, Walpole went to Dover-Sherborn in hopes of continuing their reputable win streak and solidifying a spot in the playoffs.  After a dissatisfying first half of the game, Walpole trailed the Raiders 6-3.  Keeping in mind the high stakes of winning the game, the Rebels came into the second half with a dominant offense and went on a five goal run.  Walpole’s comeback included winning the majority of the draw circle possessions, playing tough defense, and taking advantage of scoring opportunities. Lanahan had four goals on the game, while Sundstrom scored three — all during the second half comeback.  The Rebels defeated the Raiders, the score being 10-9 — their closest game yet — to make their record 9-1 and clinch their spot in the Division 2 state tournament.

Head Coach Mike Tosone said, “We played terrific in all phases of the game in the second half against D-S.  It started with dominating the draws, but rides, clears, 7 v. 7 offense, 7 v. 7 defense, and goaltending were all outstanding.”

With a nine game winning streak and playoff qualification under their belts, the girls faced a strong contender for this year’s Division 1 State Championship — Needham — on April 29.  The Rockets, having an undefeated record, gave the Rebels their most difficult challenge thus far in the season.  The Walpole defense forced Needham to throw multiple unsuccessful passes and the Rebels picked up quick goals at the end of the first half.  Lanahan and Sundstrom each netted two goals and senior captain Bri Doherty tallied one goal by halftime.  Walpole held a very experienced Needham team to a tie game 5-5 after the first half.

Both teams fighting to keep their reputable win streaks alive, the Rebels and the Rockets came into the second half with intensity.  Multiple yellow cards called against Walpole and opportune scoring plays on odd-man rushes for Needham gave the Rockets the lead for the rest of the game.  Lanahan scored an additional two goals in the second half, but Walpole fell to Needham with a final score of 12-7.  Although the score may not dictate the closeness of the game, Coach Tosone realized Walpole’s true potential for the rest of the season: playing almost even with such a strong Division 1 opponent gives the Rebels a positive outlook for the second half of the season and the post-season.

Tosone said, “I think prior to the Needham game we all recognized we were a pretty good team.  I think the Needham game showed that we are a team with a lot of upside, a team that when we play well, is really good and really tough to beat.”

Walpole looks to improve their record of 9-2 at Milton on May 2 and at Medway on May 5.