WORCESTER -- The Groton-Dunstable girls' lacrosse team has experienced a magical season, but all good things have to come to an end sometime. The Lady Crusaders traveled to Foley Stadium in Worcester, where they fell to CMass. powerhouse Algonquin 16-8 in the District Semifinals.
Senior captain Lauren Kraemer paced the Lady Crusaders with four goals. Head coach Gary Kraemer said that what his team accomplished during the season is something to be proud of.
"The season was a great season," the coach said. "I couldn't have asked for more out of the girls. When we started the season, no one would have guessed we would be here. We ended up 16-5, what a tremendous season. They played with heart here. They came back and made it 16-8, that's a reasonable score against a team like Algonquin."
Algonquin controlled the opening draw and drove the ball into the Groton-Dunstable defensive zone. Junior midfielder Melanie Wagner threaded the needle to Jacklyn Healy, who rippled the mesh left-side to put the Tomahawks up 1-0 1:19 into the match.
Healy's goal kick-started a 4-0 unanswered stretch by Algonquin. Liv Rubeski penetrated the alley to the left of goal, dodge-stepped and fed senior captain Emma Ordemann for a slam-dunk goal to bring the Lady Crusaders within striking distance at 4-1 with 17:34 remaining in the half.
Kendyl Finelli silenced the Groton-Dunstable contingent, when she scooped up a rebound inside the 9-yardline and buried it to extend the Tomahawks' lead to 5-1.
Livy Penney barreled in behind the Algonquin cage and lofted a nifty pass to freshman midfielder Olivia Aumais, who cashed in from the left-side with 13:07 remaining to trim the Tomahawks' lead to 5-2.
Algonquin whipped home seven unanswered midway through the first half, until Kraemer smooched the crossbar with a bouncer from 12-yards out with 1:00 left.
Groton-Dunstable went into halftime with a tall mountain to climb, trailing 12-3. There is one thing you can always be sure of when watching the Lady Crusaders, they will give 100 percent effort, no matter what the score is. Healy netted her second goal of the evening 2:45 into the second half.
Freshman goaltender Maria Antonellis deflected Healy's initial shot off her left leg-pad, but Healy was able to scoop up the groundball and score to extend the Tomahawks' lead to 13-3.
Algonquin continued to pepper Antonellis and the Lady Crusaders' backline with two more unanswered goals from Annie Sullivan and Hannah Lindgren in a time-frame of a little over a minute.
The Tomahawks started to chisel away at the clock, while the Lady Crusaders continued to scrap for goals. Sophomore Nicki Wilkinson made a deposit from the left-hash with a free-position missile. Wilkinson stepped forward, switched hands and scored to make it 15-4 with 16:04 remaining in the game.
Eight minutes later, Kraemer found Penney motoring across the midfield with a precise pass. Penney reared back and whipped the ball inside the right post. Kraemer slung home three unanswered tallies in the final five minutes of the match to round out the scoring at 16-8.
Kraemer noted that lost draws in the faceoff circle led to the demise of his club.
"It has been the same thing all year," said Gary Kraemer. "When you look at our opportunities versus their opportunities, we scored when we won the draw.
Our struggle all year has been the draw. Last year we won 11 games, this year we won 16. We are competing better than we ever did."
Groton-Dunstable graduates five seniors in Caroline Stark, Vanessa Song, Katie Judge, and captains Ordemann and Kraemer.Coach Kraemer said that the seniors represent a new generation of athletes at Groton-Dunstable.
"They have really been the new generation of Groton lacrosse that is coming through," the coach said on the seniors impact on the program's future. "They are from the very beginning of the (youth) program. When they started there were 15 girls, now there are 150-plus. Caroline Stark is one of them. You have kids coming up through the program that we never had before. They are the start of that legacy. You are going to continue to see growth and strength in the program. There is a bright future."
Algonquin out-shot Groton-Dunstable 26-22. Antonellis finished the game with 10 saves.