Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Cohasset Girls Lax Tops Newburyport for Spot in D2 Final

By Ethan Winter (@EWints)

WELLESLEY – The Cohasset Skippers scored two goals in the first 49 seconds and did not look back as they cruised to an 11-4 victory over Newburyport, ending the Clippers' perfect season and advancing to the MIAA girls’ lacrosse Division 2 finals.

The Skippers (20-2) were led by junior midfielder Elle Hansen, who scored five goals for Cohasset in the win.

“She’s a competitor you know," Cohasset head coach Kully Reardon said. "In all my years coaching I have never seen anything like it, because even when she is being face guarded hard, and has multiple defenders on her, she gets it done. She is just a gamer, the best gamer I have seen."

Hansen scored a hat trick in the first half, scoring the first goal off of a feed from her younger sister, sophomore Jane Hansen.

“They do, they really do,” said Reardon of the chemistry between the two Hansen sisters. “They look for each other and they rely on each other, and the team knows that so they help them do it, which is so special about this team… They know their role, they know that they are great in their own right so they try to set them up to be in the best possible position to score.”

Jane Hansen scored four goals in her own right and added two assists for a total of six points in the contest.

“Offensively, we were just pushing the fast break and moving as fast as we could and then moving the ball and looking for those open cuts. I think that’s what worked best for us and the fast break is a huge part of this team and we just kept pushing and pushing it as much as we could, every chance we get,” explained Elle Hansen.

That Cohasset speed was what ultimately caught Newburyport (20-1) off guard to start the game.

“I think right off the bat, I didn’t think that they were ready for Cohasset’s speed," Clippers head coach Catherine Batchelder said. "We’ve been talking about it all week, but until you are actually out there and you are in a footrace with someone, it’s hard to simulate it in practice."

The Clippers also had a couple of goals called back in the first half due to penalties that appeared to take the wind from their sails.

“We had two called back, which was a bummer because I really do think, just confidence-wise, it would have been a little bit different going into halftime down by one," Batcherlder added. "But you know, that’s the game. What are you going to do?”

Instead, Newburyport went into halftime trailing Cohasset 6-2, largely in part to the Skippers' stifling defense, which made things quite difficult offensively for the Clippers.

“That’s one of the best defenses I’ve seen at the high school level, just how aggressive they were and how fast they were, they had like two break downs that we were able to capitalize on. They were really, really strong defensively and we had our chances, but like I said, good teams force mistakes, so we had our chances, we just couldn’t capitalize,” explained Batchelder.

The Clippers certainly had some scoring opportunities, just not many as the Skippers, who did their best at defending the middle, preventing Newburyport from getting any good shots off and open looks.

“It’s our zone and it’s been that way all year and they are hardcore," praised Reardon. "They are really tough to get. They have a backer zone and so anytime anybody tries to challenge there is another person right behind and we haven’t deviated from that all year and now it’s really gelling… I was just so proud of the defense, they did a great job."

“We knew that they had some strong attackers and that we needed to stop the ball up top," explained Elle Hansen. "But we didn’t know that there would be a lot of passing up top and we had to watch the middle so we needed to be talking and communicating and making sure we were all at the right spot in our zone and to just protecting that eight and making sure they didn’t get any easy passes into the middle."

With the win, the Skippers will face Walpole in the Division 2 Final at Boston University on Saturday, June 17th. Time is yet to be determined.

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