By Matt Jenkins
---- — MANCHESTER — Hamilton-Wenham girls lacrosse coach Amanda Chase sensed her team might have a little anxiety with possession and the game on the line.
So she elected to take a timeout — and it paid off in a huge way.
The Generals came out of the timeout and scored the game-tying goal, then the game-winner 47 seconds later in a huge 8-7 win over Manchester Essex yesterday at Hyland Field.
The host Hornets had the ball and a one-goal lead with about three minutes to go. They possessed the ball long enough to tick the clock down under 90 seconds remaining, but the Generals forced a turnover and took the ball over midfield. That’s when Chase called for the timeout.
“I’m glad I called that timeout (with 1:15 to play) to settle them down a little. I know they were flustered and I called it to compose them a little bit,” Chase said. “They knew exactly what they had to do ... and they did it. I told them not to force it and they didn’t.
“I told them we still had a minute and 15 or 30 seconds, whatever it was. I reminded them there was still plenty of time. We didn’t have to go right to goal.”
The Generals worked the ball around a little, then Jenn Casey circled in front of the net and beat Manchester Essex goalie Katie Furber to tie the game with 52 seconds left. Casey was fouled after the shot, which allowed Hamilton-Wenham to regain possession at midfield.
Kendell Santin then put in the game-winner with only 4.9 seconds remaining on a free possession.
“One of our issues all season has been getting overly excited, whether it be good or bad,” Chase said after her team improved to 4-3 overall. “They did really good with that.”
Manchester Essex (6-4, 5-2 Cape Ann League) led 5-3 at halftime and held a 7-6 lead for a long stretch in the second half. The Hornets had a lengthy possession in the final few minutes, but couldn’t hang on to the ball long enough to put away the Generals.
“I don’t know (what happened). We just lost possession,” Manchester Essex coach Sarah Holch said. “We’ve done it before. We had it, but we just lost out. It happens. They played an awesome game; they had great breakaways going on.”
The Manchester Essex girls lacrosse team finds itself in a strange place 10 games into the season.
The Hornets, who are still right behind Ipswich in the CAL Small standings, fell into a two-game losing streak with this last-minute loss. It was the second straight one-goal loss for Manchester Essex, and the 6-4 Hornets have now dropped three of their last four and four of their last six games.
“I think we just have a lot of work to do in our confidence right now because we lost yesterday and we’re not used to losing,” Holch said. “We have to work on that. Today was a great game on both sides. I mean, you couldn’t have asked for a nicer lacrosse game. I was really proud of us.”
Casey, Catherine Ecker and Sophia Frain each scored two goals for the Generals, who gained momentum by scoring the first three goals of the second half.
“We had to come out fired up and score the first few goals and gain possession of this game. I told them, ‘We have to climb back now. If they start getting the first few possessions, they’re going to get fired up,’” Chase said. “We talked about better transitions in the midfield. We struggled a little in the first half with just some sloppy passes that ended up being turnovers that they scored on. We did a better job in the second half with that.”
Phoebe Shaw scored one goal and added one assist while goalie Lauren White played well for the Generals.
Taylor Meek led the Hornets with two goals and two assists and Brittany Smith added one goal and one assist.