TOWNSEND — It is not a lot of fun to be the new kid on the block when it comes to varsity sports.
The fledgling Groton-Dunstable girls lacrosse team ran into a buzz-saw on Tuesday afternoon, falling to a potent North Middlesex squad 18-1. North Middlesex, which improved to 2-0 for the season with the win, used their speed, depth, talent and experience to advantage and was dominant in all departments.
Groton-Dunstable, in their first season at the varsity level, dropped to 0-2.
It was a total team effort by the Lady Pats, who had 15 players score in the contest. Kaitlyn Kelley led the way with four goals and two assists, while Taylor Murphy did a solid job of distributing the ball, finishing with a goal and four assists. Also enjoying productive offensive games were Katie Hayward and Carley MacIntyre, with three goals apiece, and Angie Johnson, M.J. Danforth and Mellissa D’Eon with a goal and an assist apiece. Goaltenders Jess Durette (three saves in the first half) and Jenny Confrancisco (seven saves in the second half) both played well for the Lady Pats.
The Lady Pats showcased a versatile offense, one that looked comfortable on the fast break, but also played very well when they ran plays. Many of their goals came after quality passes, many of which ended up as cutters took passes from behind the net.
”One of the strengths of our team is that the girls play very unselfishly,” said North Middlesex coach Rich Murphy. “We had 15 girls score points today and that is a large part of it. We played good defense and trapped to the ball. We lost a little focus near the end of the first half, but it was nice to be able to get a lot of kids a lot of playing time. Both goaltenders played well for us.”
North Middlesex wasted little time in getting on the board as their speed earned them quality scoring chances early. Johnson made it 1-0 when she netted a short shot after breaking in from right wing, before Kaitlyn Kelley scored from close range after breaking in alone on Groton-Dunstable goaltender Ashley Guerard to make it 2-0.
Groton-Dunstable called a timeout in an effort to settle things down, but the Lady Pats continued to control play. After Durette stopped a testing shot from close range, North Middlesex extended the lead to 7-0 with five unanswered tallies, using their speed to get loose behind the Groton-Dunstable defense. Kaitlyn Kelley had two of the goals, while Murphy, Hayward and MacIntyre added single tallies.
The Lady Crusaders got on the board with less than ten minutes remaining in the half when Ashley Ottens broke in alone and bounced a shot into the net, but North Middlesex regrouped and finished the first half with the final three goals. Kelley and Hayward both scored on shots from point blank range, before D’Eon sent the Lady Pats to intermission with a 10-1 lead when she used a burst of speed to clear from the Groton-Dunstable defense and fired a shot into the upper right corner.
Guerard did a nice job in goal for Groton-Dunstable, turning away seven shots in the first half, most of them quality scoring chances by the Lady Pats.
The Lady Pats remained focused after intermission, not letting their intensity waver as they netted five quick goals to extend the lead to 15-1. Danforth, MacIntyre, Hayward, Jamie Kelley and Heather Lyons were the goal scorers.
Confrancisco was outstanding in net, stopping all seven shots she faced, while Shauna Kelley wrapped up the scoring for the Lady Pats.