HARVARD — First-year Bromfield girls’ lacrosse head coach Dave Planchet snowblowed his front yard at the start of the season to get his team outdoors and ready for its first game of the season. Well, the persistence paid dividends for the top-seeded Trojans Tuesday afternoon at Harvard Park, as Bromfield edged neighboring Groton-Dunstable 14-13 to earn its first trip to the Division 2 Central/Western Mass. Finals in program history.
Bromfield sophomore Sophia Turchetta scored a game-high 11 goals in the win, but none were bigger than her game-winning shot with two seconds left.
“I wanted to win more than I have ever wanted to in my entire life,” Turchetta said. “Groton-Dunstable is a really good team and they played us tough today. I am really satisfied. It was crazy because we knew they had beat Littleton, and we lost to Littleton once. So, it was kind of like we were the underdogs, even though we are the number one seed. We knew all along we could do it, and we expected to win. That’s what got us here.”
Bromfield will face Midland B league opponent Grafton, who defeated Littleton in overtime Tuesday, 14-13. The site of the Central/Western Mass. Finals is yet to be determined.
“I told both her and Jackie (Planchet) that today’s the day they needed to step up,” Bromfield head coach Dave Planchet said. “Soph is a fantastic kid, but tip your hat to Groton-Dunstable, they’re very well coached. When they are running their motion, they are very hard to stop. I am proud that we won those other battles.”
The Trojans controlled the faceoff circle in the second half holding a favorable 9-1advantage.
“I brought my four midfielders out before the game and told them if we control the draw circle we are winning the game,” Dave Planchet said. “I am numb that we are going to the finals. I knew we would have a good year, and I thought that we would get here, but anything after that is all gravy.”
Groton-Dunstable drew first blood 10 seconds in on a goal scored by senior Livy Rubeski.
Rubeski collected a pass from Nicki Wilkinson and beat Hoggins low-right to take a 1-0 lead. Wilkinson controlled the ensuing draw and the Crusaders offense did the rest. Groton-Dunstable senior Olivia Penney (3 goals, 2 assists) found sophomore teammate Sarah Walsh on the left side of the cage for the goal to put the Crusaders up 2-0. Turchetta helped keep the Trojans within striking distance throughout the half, cutting the lead to one on three occasions in the first half. Groton-Dunstable closed the opening frame on a 4-1 run to take the game into the half up 9-6. Turchetta scored five of Bromfield’s six first-half goals.
Groton-Dunstable struck 16 seconds into the second half on a Rubeski goal. Turchetta single-handily carried her team within a goal with a 4-0 flurry midway through the second half to equalize at 11-11.
Penney regained the lead for Groton-Dunstable after a 10 minute scoring drought at 12-11 on an unassisted breakaway goal. Turchetta knotted the game at 12-12 after she split the Crusaders’ defense and buried a low free-position shot between the cleats of Groton-Dunstable sophomore goalie Maria Antonellis. Jackie Planchet netted her third goal of the game, and it could not have come at a better time for the Trojans. Jackie Planchet whipped the ball inside the left post to put Bromfield up 13-12 with 9:13 left.
Three-minutes later, Walsh potted the game-tying goal to deadlock the game at 13-13.
Bromfield controlled the faceoff circle and milked the remaining six minutes off the clock before Turchetta snuck in from the right side and tucked home the game-winner with two seconds left.
“Turchetta is a very good player, but we are strong enough defensively to contain her,” First-year Groton-Dunstable head coach Sarah Valacer said. “We see enough people like that all the time. We were well prepared to know what was going on. I thought we handled her well until the very end. Defensively, we handled her and Jackie (Planchet) well. We just needed to have that want to win. We are young. I don’t think that want to win is there just yet.”
Bromfield goalie Julia Hoggins stopped 16 shots to preserve the win.