PEABODY — The Peabody girls lacrosse team got off to a slow start Wednesday, but once the Tanners got rolling there was no stopping them in a 14-6 win over cross-town rival Bishop Fenwick at Donaldson Stadium. The win qualifies Peabody for the state tournament.
“It’s great, we’re very excited that we’re in the tournament and it’s a mark we can check off on our list of goals for the season,” said Peabody coach Dennis Desroches.
Colleen Crotty led the way for the Tanners with six goals, while Olivia Kiricoples had three goals and two assists. Hailee Lomasney had three goals and one assist, while Amber Kiricoples and Catherine Manning each had one goal and one assist. Maddy Lomasney added two assists.
But the big story of the day was defense, and Peabody goalie Olivia Lavalle had a big game with 13 saves — including stopping all but one free position shot.
“Olivia was excellent, she really made them earn it on every free position shot,” said Desroches. “The defense did a good job of closing off the lanes in front of her, and then she came up with some really big saves.”
Fenwick did have one highlight in the loss, as Cailyn Wesley scored her 100th career goal. Wesley finished with three goals to lead the offense, while Hanna Goodreau had two goals. Madison Woods scored one goal, while Brynn Bertucci and Maeve Saindon each had one assist.
“Peabody really played good, tough defense the entire game, and you have to give them credit for that,” said Fenwick coach Joel McKenna. “Our goal was to try to play more possession ball and we were able to do it in pockets, but we lost too many balls in the midfield and on the draws. I liked the way we started and I liked the way we finished, but we gave them too many chances in the middle.”
Peabody opened the game with an early goal from Olivia Kiricoples just three minutes into the game and two more from Crotty seven minutes later to go up 3-0, but it was a relatively slow start for the high-scoring Tanners. Fenwick responded with a goal from Goodreau to make it 3-1, but Peabody regained its three-goal lead on a tally from Manning about five minutes later. Wesley scored for Fenwick to make it 4-2 Peabody, and that was when the Tanners turned up the heat.
Peabody broke the game open with a stretch of six unanswered goals in the final five minutes of the first half. Crotty and Olivia Kiricoples each scored two goals in the span, while Amber Kiricoples and Hailee Lomasney each scored one. Once the dust settled, the Tanners held a 10-2 lead at the break.
The second half saw the two teams exchange goals back and forth for the first 14 minutes of play. It started with a goal from Crotty for Peabody, then Wesley responded less than a minute later. Crotty scored again with just over 20 minutes to go to make it 12-3, but three minutes later Woods scored for Fenwick. Olivia Kiricoples then scored for Peabody, then Fenwick got back-to-back goals from Goodreau and Wesley to make it a 13-6 game. But once Olivia Kiricoples found the back of the net with 11 minutes to go, Peabody was able to play a more of a clock-killing style to coast to victory.
The loss puts Fenwick (6-8) in a bit of a bind, as the Crusaders need to win three of their final four games to secure a tournament bid.
“It’s just going to take focus and execution,” said McKenna. “We all have the same team goal right now, and that’s to get to the tournament. We don’t have an easy schedule, but we’re not going to make any excuses and we’re going to try to go out and earn it.”
Fenwick travels to Hamilton-Wenham Friday (5).
Now that Peabody has its tournament berth out of the way, the Tanners are shifting their focus to earning a high seed in a crowded tournament field.
“We’re hoping to earn home-field advantage, which will be very difficult with the power rankings and all that,” Desroches said. “But we’ve got a big one against Danvers next, a big-time rival, and that’s where all our focus has to be right now.”
Peabody travels to Danvers Thursday (7).