By Jean DePlacido
---- — TOPSFIELD — Kathleen Gillespie was unstoppable with six goals and two assists for Masconomet, and it was her goal in the final second of the first half that sparked the Lady Chieftains. They went on to score seven unanswered goals after intermission en route to an 18-6 non-league victory over Bishop Fenwick.
“A buzzer beater always helps, and that goal gave us momentum that carried over into the second half,” said Masco coach Al McCarthy after his team improved to 4-1. “We were a little sloppy early on, but we took care of the ball much better in the second half.”
The Crusaders fought back to pull within two on a pair of unanswered goals late in the first half. Grace Celona, who led Fenwick’s attack with three goals, was set up by Lexi Rose. A free position goal by Rose made it 5-3 with just over seven minutes remaining in the half. The teams then traded goals with Meghan Collins giving Gillespie a perfect pass in front of the Fenwick goal for her first of the afternoon, and Celona answering at the other end.
Becca Phillips (goal, two assists) found Gillespie alone in front of Fenwick goalie Nicole Votta, and she fired a high shot passed her just before the horn sounded.
“That goal right at the end of the half didn’t help,” said Fenwick coach Karen Guillemette after her team suffered it’s third loss of the season (4-3). “Masconomet is a good team, and you have to come in and play your best to beat them. We didn’t do that. We had too many turnovers and made mistakes we don’t usually make.
“It was an off day for us, and that happens to everybody, but you can’t have one against a good team. We will learn from this. We played great in spurts, but we couldn’t get anything going in the second half. Their No. 21 (Amy Arnold) was killing us on the draws. She has great control with one hand, and was winning them all. We made some adjustments, but by the time they started working it was too late. I thought Katie Hart and Jackie Hart both played well defensively.”
Arnold, a senior captain, is tied with Gillespie in goals for the Lady Chieftains with 19. She will attend the University of Florida next year on a lacrosse scholarship.
“I went down to Florida a couple of times. The weather there is great, and both the coaches and team are so supportive. It’s everything I want. What’s great this year is our team has so many weapons. We don’t rely on one person for scoring; it’s a team effort with six or seven girls that can all score. That’s great to have because it’s not up to one person to do it all.”
Masconomet used size and skill to set up scoring opportunities. Arnold took care of winning the faceoffs, and they passed accurately to find the open person, reeling off seven in a row to start the second half behind two each by Gillespie and Arnold, and one by Collins, Zoe Connami (three goals, assist), and Katherine Guinee before Celona answered for Fenwick.
“Our offense was spread around today. Gillespie turned in a really solid performance, and Connami helped out with those three goals. Our defense was strong all game, and anything that got through,(goalie ) Lili Miller swallowed up.
“I was pleased with the play of freshman Abbey Roblin on defense. One time she shut down Fenwick’s best attacker No. 9 (Anna Moulton) one-on-one, and that’s not easy to do. Becca Stone hustled the whole day, and caused turnovers. “
Rachel Rogal had two goals for Masco while Roblin, Stone, Collins, and Caroline Chipman each had an assist for Masco. Katherine Ripp chipped in with a goal and two assists.
For Fenwick, Moulton and Tessa McLaughlin each had a goal. Annette Ruggiero had two assists, and Merry Harrington had one.
“We have a tough schedule this season, but that’s what we need to get ready for the tournament,” said Guillemette. “We have to put this one behind us, and get ready for another tough one against Ipswich on Friday.”