PEABODY — Thursday’s game between the Marblehead and Peabody girls lacrosse teams was a case of experience versus youth, and in this instance it was the Magicians experience that lifted them to a 19-5 win over the Tanners at Coley Lee Field.
And while the number of goals scored for Marblehead is impressive, Magicians coach Annie Madden was just as happy with the amount of goals Marblehead allowed.
“First of all, (goalie) Maeve Caldwell has been playing fantastic lately and has really stepped up as a leader on our defense,” Madden said. “We were able to readjust on some things early and our defense made some great plays out there.”
Grace Arthur led the way in points for Marblehead, notching four goals and three assists. Lydia Bongiorno tallied five goals and two assists, while Hadley Carlton scored four goals. Caroline Driscoll scored two goals, Niamh Healy added one goal and two assists, while Maddie Erskine and Sara Campbell each had one goal and one assist and Grace Doody scored one goal.
For Peabody, Maddy Lomasney led the way with two goals. Olivia Kiricoples, Amber Kiricoples and Sarah Buckley each scored one goal, while Hailee Lomasney dished one assist.
“It’s obviously a tough matchup for a lot of teams, I mean, look at how many of their players are going to play at the next level,” Peabody coach Dennis Desroches said of Marblehead. “They had a major height advantage, a skill advantage and an experience advantage over us. All of that is tough to overcome and it means you have to play almost perfect. But we made way too many mistakes with turnovers and penalties. We played it close for awhile, but eventually that stuff caught up to us.”
The Tanners kept the game pretty close for much of the first half, even scoring the first goal of the game when Olivia Kiricoples found the back of the net on a free position shot less than three minutes in.
But Marblehead answered quickly, scoring three goals in a row on tallies from Bongiorno, Campbell and Carlton to take a 3-1 lead. Maddy Lomasney got one back for Peabody, but then the Magicians scored three more in a row on two goals from Arthur and one from Driscoll to regain control. Buckley scored for Peabody to make it 6-3 with just over 13 minutes left in the half, but Marblehead once again responded, this time with a string of four goals (two each from Carlton and Bongiorno), over the final 10 minutes of the half. After Maddy Lomasney scored for Peabody with just 23 seconds remaining, Marblehead took a 10-4 lead into the break.
The second half is where the Magicians really put the game out of reach. Marblehead opened the half with six goals over the first 13 minutes to take a commanding 16-4 lead. Part of that run was aided by the amount of free position shots Marblehead got. The Magicians took advantage of their opportunities in those situations, scoring seven goals on 10 free position attempts.
Amber Kiricoples scored for Peabody on a great sequence where she knocked a ball loose, picked up the ground ball and raced in for a goal to make it 16-5, but as was the case the whole game, Marblehead answered back with three straight goals (two from Arthur and one from Doody) to close out the scoring.
While the final score may be tough to look at, Desroches knows that his young team will learn from the loss.
“It’s a great experience for us because now our young team gets to see how good you have to be to compete in the tournament,” said Desroches. “So we’re not going to let this one get us down. We knew what they were coming in and that they’re the most experienced team in our league. We just have to learn from the mistakes and come back stronger.”
The Tanners (12-3) will play Gloucester Saturday.
As for Marblehead (11-3), the tough road continues Tuesday night with a road game against Newburyport (7). As Madden points out, this time of year is now about measuring themselves against the other top teams in Division 1.
“Everything is deliberate, from the way we practice each day to the way we build our schedule, it’s all to make us stronger and prepare us to play tough teams,” Madden said. “Hopefully by the end of the season we’ll be ready to make a good run.”