Alan McCarthy has only asked for one thing from his players in his second stint as head coach of the Masconomet girls lacrosse program.
"My thing is that I always want them to give it their all, every day at practice or in a game," McCarthy said. "I want 100 percent and I want to treat them like Division 1 (college) lacrosse players. When they come in, it's all about lacrosse; that's the business of the day."
Ask and you shall receive.
The Chieftains have responded very well to McCarthy's approach and — despite suffering their first loss of the season yesterday at the hands of Concord-Carlisle (17-9) — they're seeing the results.
Through the early part of the season, Masconomet has looked like the top team on the North Shore. The Chieftains are currently 7-1 and playing solid all-around lacrosse.
Junior midfielder Amy Arnold is Masco's leading scorer with 36 goals and 14 assists. "What I like about her is that she's a team player first," McCarthy said. "Amy could be selfish with her skills, but she spreads the ball around and gets everyone involved."
Kathleen Gillespie is Masco's second-leading scorer with 19 goals. Arnold, Gillespie and Rebecca Phillips form a very solid midfield line that propels the Chieftains' attack in transition and helps them dominate draw controls.
McCarthy has also been pleased with the play of senior Allison Foden, who has worked her way into the starting lineup on defense.
"She's just having one of those senior years," McCarthy said. "She's really stepping up and being a leader on the field."
Captains Hannah Brazel, Jackie Tilton and Laurel Epps have also provided leadership, while freshman goalie Lili Miller and senior Brynn Wendel have played well for the defense.
Losing its first game yesterday to Concord-Carlisle may end up being a good thing for the Chieftains.
"(It) was our biggest test of the season. Even in a loss, it was good to see the next level of what you have to do to play with them," McCarthy said. "We can definitely play with that team. Who knows; we might see them again in the state tournament."
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The Beverly girls lacrosse team spent its first five games traveling this spring and the Panthers not only survived the tough scheduling (4-1 through five games isn't bad), but they also grew tighter because of the experience.
"I think it was actually better that we weren't playing at home early on," Beverly coach Alyson Healey said. "The girls had time to bond on the bus. We've had some games where we were able to dominate both halves, but had some tough games as well."
The Panthers finally hit their newly installed home turf at Beverly High on Friday and rolled to another win over Billerica. They now stand at 5-1 with a couple of good tests on the horizon. Beverly hosts 4-1 Peabody today (4 p.m.) and plays at currently-undefeated Masco (7-0) Friday (4 p.m.).
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St. John's Prep has been picking up some momentum lately with four straight wins, and if the Eagles can keep it going today against host St. John's of Shrewsbury (6-1) and at Malden Catholic (3-5) Thursday, then they'll be in great shape heading into a difficult stretch of lacrosse.
The Eagles are set to play Hingham (7-1), B.C. High (1-6), Catholic Memorial (7-1), and Needham (4-2) at the end of the month and into early May.
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The Peabody boys captured the second annual Robert Danish Lacrosse Cup this weekend with a 10-2 victory over Bishop Fenwick. The Tanners have now won both Danish Cups.
Senior captain and midfielder D.J. Henrick was named game MVP with two goals and one assist, while junior captain Keifer Heckman scored three goals and dished out four assists. Nick Oullette (3-2), Anthony Robinson (1-0) and Ryan Wolf (1-0) also scored for the Tanners.
Evan Connolly made six saves for Peabody, while Will Clancy was named Fenwick MVP.
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Marblehead and Swampscott may have a well-documented rivalry in all sports, but the respective girls lacrosse teams from each schools got together this season for a good cause.
Marblehead and Swampscott have taken part in the Coaches vs. Cancer program this season, and in March both teams taught four preseason youth clinics together, two in Marblehead and two in Swampscott. Each team raised money for their program and donated 25 percent of the proceeds to the American Cancer Society.
A week from Friday, Marblehead will play at Swampscott and the teams will be presenting a check for over $800 to the American Cancer Society. Both teams will also be wearing purple as a way to honor the fight against cancer.
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Lax Lowdown, a column on North Shore high school lacrosse , runs each Tuesday during the spring sports season in The Salem News. Contact staff writer Matt Jenkins at 978-338-2648 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.