NORTH ANDOVER — Getting a third look at the North Andover girls lacrosse team didn’t change Masconomet coach Alan McCarthy’s mind.
“They’re tough. You make one little mistake — not even a mistake, you take a shot that doesn’t go in and they get the ball and go down and score,” said McCarthy, whose Chieftains did all they could to stay with the powerful Scarlet Knights before falling, 17-10, in the North Division 1 semifinals last night.
“I think they’re the best team right now. I think they’re the team to beat. I think they could go all the way.”
In beating the Chieftains for the third time this spring, North Andover (20-1-1) will now play the winner of today’s Andover/Winchester matchup in the North final.
“It was definitely a possession game. We didn’t want them running it on us; they have some pretty quick girls and they’re very, very good off the draw,” North Andover coach Meredith Prior said of Masconomet.
“On attack, we were looking for a ton of assisted goals, and we were looking for everyone to contribute. It’s not one person on our team that contributes; it’s all seven of them that are in there that can score.”
The Scarlet Knights did their fair share of scoring off dodges, but their ability to break down Masconomet’s defense with the pass did pay off.
North Andover had an advantage in time of possession and did share the ball. Seven of the Knights’ 17 goals were assisted. Meanwhile, Masconomet (15-6-1) only recorded one assisted goal.
North Andover’s ability to spread the wealth made it very difficult for Masco to keep the offense in check.
Prior experience told McCarthy attempting to shut down one or two players would likely backfire.
“Last game, we tried,” McCarthy said. “We talked about just shutting down 13 (Leah Chittick) and 14 (Abbie Karalis), (but then) the other two burn you, Michelle Poirier and Erin Kelley. They’re multi-faceted and it’s tough.”