By Dan Harrison
---- — IPSWICH — Some games you win, some games you lose ... and some games you tie in the wildest fashions.
The Marblehead High girls lacrosse team came back from a three-goal, first half deficit to take the lead against Ipswich with three minutes left yesterday afternoon before the host Tigers were whistled for a yellow card forced to play the rest of the game man down.
But Ipswich goalkeeper Jordan Morrissey intercepted a pass with 20 seconds left, got the ball to the midfield and eventually into the stick of Brigid O’Flynn, who heaved a desperation shot from 20 yards out that trickled into the Magicians’ goal with just one second left. The buzzer-beater was upheld after O’Flynn’s stick was checked by the official as Ipswich and Marblehead settled for a 9-9 tie.
“It was incredible. It was awesome. I’m so proud of my girls for not stopping,” said Ipswich (9-3-1) head coach Nicole Linehan. “We had a yellow card and were a man down, and it would have been easy for the girls to drop their sticks. The composure to keep their heads up and know the clock ... I just saw the ball trickle in between the goalie’s legs. It was pure excitement.”
The tie snapped a 13-game winning streak for the Magicians.
Tyler Phillips (4 goals) took the ball from end-to-end before finishing with a left-handed shot to give Marblehead (15-1-1) its first lead, 9-8, late in the contest. Phillips scored three goals in the second half and was effective taking draws.
The Magicians struggled scoring in the first half. Emily Freedland (2 goals) scored a quick-stick goal to put Marblehead on the board, but it took 15 minutes for the Magicians to find the back of the net again as the visitors trailed 6-3 at the half.
In the second half, Phillips used her speed and attacked the net while Fisher and Meggie Collins used quick-sticks on crease feeds to beat Morrissey (11 saves).
“Offensively, every possession (in the second half) we were finishing,” said Marblehead coach Annie Pugh. “We were down 3-0 in the first half because we were holding back.”
The Tigers, meanwhile, had a game plan and executed it to perfection early in the first half. They were patient and kept everything in front of them, forcing Marblehead to beat the home team with standout, individual plays.
“We came out strong defensively. We were ready to play,” said Linehan. “Pressure, cover and balance: pressure the ball, cover the pass and balance everywhere else.”
O’Flynn (3 goals) and Natalie Soliozy (2 goals, 4 assists) were phenomenal all game and worked the two-player game in the second half effectively. Both are seniors who have seen their chemistry grow over the past four years.
“They can read each others next steps without communicating,” said Linehan. “They have trust and confidence in each other and can connect anywhere on the field.”
One of the Magicians’ best players was Cassie Rodgers, whose work on groundballs off the faceoff allowed Marblehead to mount its second half comeback.
“Cassie is one of our captains and is a groundball queen,” said Pugh, who also talked about the strong Ipswich squad her Magicians faced yesterday. “They’re a talented team. It would be nice to see them again in the tournament.”