By Dan Harrison
---- — HAMILTON —The Pingree girls lacrosse team made its fair share of mistakes in Saturday’s 12-5 loss to Governor’s Academy.
But Highlanders head coach Sam Taylor believes that there’s confidence to be gained as her girls played some of their best lacrosse when their backs were up against the wall.
Pingree (6-4) was issued a yellow card when Caroline Winslow was called for a dangerous check early in the first half and the trend continued as the Highlanders played 15 minutes of the match with a player on the sideline serving a penalty.
The penalties combined with the nerves that accompany playing a bigger school like Governor’s seemed to rattle the Highlanders a little as the team went down 5-0 before Winslow got Pingree on the board with back-to-back markers.
Senior Liz Jayne appeared to trim the deficit to two goals when she beat the Governor’s goalie minutes later, but she was called for a dangerous shot and sent to the sideline with a yellow card.
“Playing a big school like Governor’s creates a bit of nerves, so for us it was just getting the nerves out. But we came back with two quick goals,” said Taylor. “The girls can gain confidence knowing they played a great team and held them to two goals in 15 minutes of man down.”
For Governor’s (8-3), controlling the game meant winning faceoffs, controlling possession and letting Kayla O’Connor (four goals) and Brett Bidstrup (four goals) dictate the offensive attack.
“We wanted possession and draw control,” said Governor’s coach Roberta McLain. “It’s such a big rivalry when we play (against Pingree). We always get fired up.”
Jayne was whistled for her second yellow card of the game early in the second half, which left Pingree without its most dangerous offensive weapon and its main draw taker.
Beverly native Eliza Mead killed most of the man down time by maneuvering her way through a pair of double teams while retaining possession but all the energy the Highlanders exerted killing penalties all afternoon finally took its toll as Governor’s would score the next three goals to push its lead to 12-3.
Mead recorded her second assist of the game when she set up Peyton Beatrice for a goal late in the second half. Katlyn Oliver followed with her only goal of the game.
“We were working through our motions,” Taylor said of when the Pingree offense did click. “When the ball is in our stick, they can’t score. When we did that we were successful.”
Caroline Winslow was the Highlanders best offensive player of the match. She used her superior speed to record two goals in the first half. First, she beat her defender going left and then moments later, took the ball from the left wing and ran across the front of the cage before ripping a low shot for the goal.
“She’s the fastest person I’ve ever seen,” Taylor said of Winslow, who will be skiing for Division 1 Colby next year. “She’s an amazing athlete and you can really coach athletes. They can do anything and she goes hard all the time.”
Winslow helped set up Jayne’s only goal of the match when she beat her defender driving to the cage and then dished behind the net to Mead who then quickly found Jayne in the slot and she finished with poise.
On the defensive side, Boxford native Monica Manning led the defensive effort with great communication in front of Maura Grady (Marblehead) who made eight saves in the losing effort.