Girl’s Lacrosse South Sectional Finals

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By Evan Katz

Girl’s Lacrosse South Sectional Finals – a lacrosse game that will not only be remembered in the hearts of the teams, but in the hearts of the fans as well. The day began with perfect lacrosse weather (sunny skies, warm temperatures, and a slight breeze from the east) as players from both teams warmed up on the field, while a melodious ditty by singer “Akon” blasted from the announcers’ box. Head Coach Dolan, of the Hillers, paced the sidelines, assessing the other team while directing her own in passing drills. I was able to snag a few moments to interview Coach Dolan with the help of Max Fabricant and Kevin Franke, and gain some perspective on the game.

Dolan described the season thus far as a “pleasant surprise”. Yet “pleasant” is no word to describe how surprised she really was at the team’s success. The team lost 10 seniors the previous season, and only had 6 returning players this year. Not to mention that freshman make up a substantial amount of the team. However, these freshmen, along with the other players, were no ordinary athletes. Dolan hand-selected this year’s team to be both quick and with a strong work ethic. She believes their willingness to work as a team, and continually improve themselves, is the reason they’d come as far as they have.

When asked about the match-up against Norwell, Dolan hesitated, and then admitted that even though the girls had previously beaten Norwell in a close game, she was nervous about the other teams’ speed and aggression. She had faith in the Hillers, however, especially their goalie. Mallory Bannon had set the school record for saves in the last match-up against Norwell, with 26. That’s the equivalent of making 78 saves over 3 games. It’s also equal to making 364 saves in 14 games, so Coach Dolan had confidence in Bannon’s consistent skill today.

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Coach Dolan ends the season with a consoling speech after their game against Norwell at home Thursday, June 4th. The final score was Norwell 15, Hopkinton 9. Photo by Ryan McLean

What drives Dolan to coach girl’s lacrosse? Not only does she love the sport, but Dolan’s daughter, Jamie Dolan, is a star senior on the team. Dolan said, “I just want another day with [Jamie] on the field.” Being that Jamie is a senior, a loss of the upcoming game would be the last of her high school career. However, lacrosse isn’t over for Jamie Dolan – she plans to play in college at Louisville.

The game started on schedule, and after two minutes of battling the Norwell team was able to net a quick goal from inside, quickly followed by another. The Hillers were far from flustered, however, as #10 Michelle Coburn returned fire, making the score 2-1, Norwell. As the Hillers worked the ball around the crease on offense, #5 Brooke Rudden made a fantastic pass to Coburn, who quick-sticked the ball past the goalie. #3 Jamie Dolan almost evened the score with an aggressive inside shot, but was given a yellow card and the goal called back, much to the Hillers’ dismay.

Both goalies continued to make save after save, keeping the score low in the first half of the game. However, Norwell maintained a lead of two or three up until halftime, finally ending the half with a score of 7-4, Norwell.

While both coaches huddled with their teams, I used the opportunity to discuss the game with some nearby fans. Wesley Erickson, of the 10th grade, expressed how he believed girls’ lacrosse was an up-and-coming sport, and had a bright future ahead of it. Mitch Saeger, also a sophomore, struggled to find words to describe his awe in Jamie Dolan’s aggressive style of play. When I asked some nearby cheerleaders why they had come to watch, they claimed they were, “only here for cheerleading tryouts nearby”. However, they were clearly just being modest, and this epic lacrosse game was the object of their attention.

As the second half began, both teams seemed to be at an equal level of play. #6 Tam Mills dominated the midfield, bringing the ball from defense to offense single-handedly on multiple occasions. Despite the Hillers efforts, though, Norwell slowly pulled ahead, widening the lead by five goals.
The climax of the game came with two minutes left in the final half. As a Norwell player ran the ball up field, Jamie Dolan tried to stop her progress, resulting in a controversial yellow card, ejecting her for three minutes, and therefore the rest of the game. Hopkinton and Norwell fans alike were saddened to see Dolan forced to end the season in such a way, and after she was sidelined the game lost intensity, finally ending with a score of Norwell 15, Hopkinton 9.

Though the season may be over for this year, the Hillers plan to return next season as not only improved players, but as an improved team. Perhaps Dan Donahue, a graduating senior, best described the season ending-note as he watched the game. “Lacrosse is what it is. Sometimes it’s even better than what it is.”

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