MARBLEHEAD — The Marblehead girls lacrosse team played against tough competition in the early part of the season, which is partly why the Magicians went 3-3 through their first six games. But all that tough competition seems to have rounded Marblehead into form, and that form was on display Tuesday afternoon in a 18-7 win over Northeastern Conference foe Beverly at Piper Field.
“We’ve played some really tough, strong programs early in the season, and our three losses came to Concord-Carlisle, Masconomet and Wayland, three very good programs,” said Marblehead coach Annie Madden. “We’ve taken things and learned from all of those losses, and we’re really starting to put it together over here.”
Hadley Carlton (four goals, two assists) and Grace Arthur (three goals, three assists) each led the way for Marblehead with six points, while Caroline Driscoll was right behind with three goals and two assists. Lydia Bongiorno had three goals and one assist, Annie Ronan and Carter Murray each had two goals, Sara Campbell had one goal and Maddie Erskine and Niamh Healy each had one assist. Goalkeeper Maeve Caldwell made seven saves.
“Offensively, we’ve been working on shot percentages and taking the best shot option, not the first,” said Madden. “And today that really showed. We were able to keep the pressure on across the field, we made smart decisions with the ball and we finished when we got the chance.”
Despite all the scoring for Marblehead, it was the Panthers who netted the first goal of the game. Just under five minutes into the action, Beverly’s Abby Otterbein (three goals) earned a free position shot right in front of the net and buried it to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead.
Things shifted pretty dramatically in Marblehead’s favor after that, as the Magicians went on a 7-0 run over the next eight-plus minutes to take a commanding lead. It all started with Carlton, who scored two goals in a span of 19 seconds to give the Magicians a lead. Marblehead then got two goals from Arthur and one each from Driscoll and Bongiorno to make it 7-1 before Beverly could answer back. After Otterbein scored her second goal of the day to make it 7-2, Marblehead went on another run behind goals from Carlton, Murray, Ronan, Arthur and Driscoll to take a commanding 12-2 lead into the half.
“The biggest thing for us was ball possession,” Madden said. “Draw controls and ground balls win games, and today it was working in our favor. Grace (Arthur) had nine draw controls by herself and it really changed the momentum of the game. When we have possession of the ball, anything can happen.”
Coming out in the second half, Marblehead wanted to continue its aggressive play. It did just that, scoring two more goals within the first six minutes courtesy of Carlton and Bongiorno. Otterbein then answered with her third goal of the day to get one back for Beverly, but less than a minute later Ronan scored for Marblehead to retake any semblance of momentum from the Panthers. After Bongiorno scored her third goal to stretch the lead to 16-3, Beverly’s Sabrina Beaudry slowed down the onslaught with a goal of her own. But, once again, Marblehead responded right away with two more goals (one each from Campbell and Murray) to make it 18-4 with just over seven minutes left.
The Panthers did go on a small run of three straight goals to close the game (one each from Tuesday Crowell, Rachelle Mullins and Olivia Thomas), but they didn’t have enough time on the clock to mount a full comeback.
Next up for Marblehead (4-3) will be another tough test, as the Magicians will host currently undefeated Peabody Friday afternoon (4).
“Everyday is a brand-new day for us, so we just have to make sure we’re focused,” Madden said. “I think the kind of competition we’ve faced already this year has helped prepare us for more tough games down the road, so hopefully we can have more days like this one.”