By Matt Jenkins
---- — MARBLEHEAD — The Marblehead girls lacrosse team got solid goaltending, won the majority of ground balls, and finished the game with a four-goal run to pull away from Woburn for an 11-6 win at drizzly Piper Field yesterday afternoon.
It appeared to be business as usual for a Magician program that has been on the rise under coach Annie Pugh over the last few years, but looks can be deceiving.
Marblehead has established itself as a force in the Northeastern Conference with its regular season play, and two semifinal (2011, 2012) and one finals (2013) appearance in Division 2 North in the last three postseasons has only enhanced its reputation. However, the Magicians lost seven excellent seniors last spring, five of whom are currently playing college lacrosse.
It’s fair to say Pugh’s expectations have been tempered a bit this spring with a young team on her hands, but the first game was a pretty good starting point.
“Our confidence built throughout the game,” Pugh said. “That was very apparent because we started to feel more comfortable holding onto the ball and running an offense. I think that comes with our age and I think that we have a very bright future.”
Many of the holes left behind by last year’s senior class are being filled by underclassmen, particularly freshmen.
Freshmen Amanda Gregory and Abby Settlemeyer got considerable playing time at attack, while classmates Kelsey Detels and Emma Bushman played well at midfield and defense, respectively.
Still, it was senior Sydney Cayen who powered the offense. She scored five goals, including a two-goal flurry midway through the second half that broke a tie game. Her fifth goal came with 10:39 to play and proved to be the game-winner, pushing the Magicians’ lead to 7-5.
Gregory finished with two goals and one assist and Lucie Poulin contributed two goals and three helpers for Marblehead.
Sophomore Brittany Lyden was also outstanding for the Magicians, stopping 12 of the 18 shots she faced.
“She really stepped up. She’s a strong athlete, quick and fast in goal for us,” Pugh said. “We’re looking to her as a leader on defense and she’s really going to move the ball quickly up the field and help in the transition game.”
It was basically a one game goal throughout, until the Magicians ran off the final four goals of the game, beginning with an unassisted tally from Poulin off a restart. That gave Marblehead an 8-6 lead with 8:08 to go and Detels, Corinne Mayle and Gregory followed with goals to help the Magicians pull away.
“Marblehead did a really good job running through the ball. Coming through the ground balls on a day like today, a rainy day, an opener, an early game, it really does sometimes come down to the ground ball pickups and capitalizing on the mistake of the other team,” Woburn coach Maggie Meagher. “Marblehead was a step ahead on that one.”
Senior Adrienne Ciccone also drew high praise from Pugh for the job she did.
“We knew from the very beginning that we’d have to fight for every minute and fight for every ball,” Pugh said. “Today we did that and we didn’t give up and the girls on the sideline were out there cheering people on. We’re starting to come together as a team. That’s really nice considering we have five freshmen and a lot of underclassmen.”