READING — There are times in sports when being talented will only take a team so far in competition, and the Peabody girls lacrosse team found that out Monday afternoon in the opening round of the Division 1 North tournament. While the talent was there, it was experience that was lacking for the Tanners at Reading Memorial High, as No. 11 Peabody fell to the No. 6 Rockets, 15-8.
“This is what happens to young teams, and that’s what I told them, said Peabody coach Dennis Desroches. “We’re up one minute, down the next. Now we just have to work to find that consistency, and that takes some time. But I’m very proud of the girls, they didn’t quit and they fought to the end.”
Maddy Lomasney led the Tanners with three goals, while Colleen Crotty had two goals and one assist. Hailie Lomasney added one goal and three assists, Sarah Buckley had one goal and one assist and Olivia Kiricoples scored one goal. Goalie Olivia Lavalle had 15 saves in the loss.
“Olivia was outstanding in net,” Desroches said. “This one could have gotten out of hand pretty quickly if she hadn’t been so good.”
Things actually got off to a pretty solid start for Peabody, as the Tanners drew first blood less than four minutes into the game when Sarah Buckley drove hard to the net and scored to take a 1-0 lead. But that only seemed to settle Reading down.
The Rockets went on to score four unanswered goals over the next six minutes, taking control of the action early. Alex Palermo (five goals, two assists) and Alana Loughman (three goals) each scored two to give Reading the lead, 4-1.
Crotty responded with her first goal of the game a few minutes later to stem the tide, but Palermo scored again just one minute later to push the deficit back to three goals. Crotty then scored in an attempt to get momentum on Peabody’s side going into halftime, but Reading’s Bryann Lambroff scored on a free position goal with just 1:19 left to make it 6-3 Rockets at the break.
It was something that would become a theme as the game rolled on, as Peabody gave up seven goals on free positions and turned the ball over more than 10 times in the game.
“You just can’t let the other team play offense the whole game and be back on your heels,” Desroches said. “But unfortunately, the turnovers hurt us bad. We just couldn’t complete the passes or come up with the ground balls when we needed them.”
While the Tanners tried to come out in the second half with some fire, it was the Rockets who were red-hot. Reading scored the first four goals of the second half to blow the game open at 10-3. Hannah Gohr was responsible for two of those goals, while Palermo and Alana Loughman each scored one. Peabody tried to fight back by scoring two goals in a row (one each from Hailie Lomasney and Kiricoples), but Reading quickly responded with two goals of its own (one each from Alana Loughman and Gohr) to keep the Tanners at bay.
While Maddy Lomasney was able to score three goals over the final 10 minutes of action for the Tanners, Reading got tallies from Gohr, Palermo and Kayla Loughman to keep the Rockets’ lead safe until the final buzzer sounded.
While it’s obviously not the way Desroches and the Tanners (14-6) wanted to end the season, there’s still a silver lining for Peabody — almost the entire roster will return next season.
“Today, we got beat in those areas of the game that don’t show up in the box score — winning loose balls, turnovers, looking for the rebounds, anticipating loose balls — things that you learn as you go along playing this game,” Desroches said. “So now that’s what we have to focus on. These girls, as young as they are, have now played tough games against good teams. Now it’s time to learn how to beat those teams doing the little things.”