Sports

Magicians stick to their plan, defeat Melrose in D1 North

Marblehead's Maddie Erskine looks for an opening during Tuesday's win. (Item Photo by Owen O'Rourke)

MARBLEHEAD — Going into the Division 1 North playoffs, the No. 4 Marblehead girls lacrosse team put an emphasis on the first five minutes of play and jumping out to a fast start. The Magicians executed that plan perfectly Tuesday with a dominant 19-6 first-round win over No. 13 Melrose at Piper Field.

“Something we talked about at practice was the emphasis on the first five minutes of the first and second halves,” Marblehead assistant coach Shannon Beaton said. “Starting each half off strong and then finishing the last five minutes of each half as well.

“Overall the girls really showed up from start to finish,” Beaton said. “They had the enthusiasm and they had fun and were smiling. I think that’s something we really wanted them to take away from (Tuesday). Overall you can’t ask for much more in the first round game.”

The offense fired on all cylinders with Grace Arthur and Carter Murray each scoring four goals. Lydia Bongiorno, Grace Doody and Maddie Erskine each scored three goals while Callie O’Neill added two.

“We had six goal scorers and two girls with over three goals, which is pretty incredible,” Beaton said. “The number of different players assisting and everyone contributing, that’s really important for the success of our team. Hopefully that continues.”

Melrose got on the board first, capitalizing on a Marblehead penalty to go ahead 1-0.

But the Magicians responded with three straight goals. Sara Campbell swung a nice pass over to Erskine who found the back of the net to tie the game at 1-1. A few minutes later O’Neill put pressure on a Melrose defender, forcing a turnover before dishing a pass to Doody out front who scored to give the Magicians a 2-1 lead. Bongiorno scored next, capitalizing on a corner opportunity to stretch the lead to 3-1.

Another Magicians penalty allowed Melrose to cut the lead to 3-2 but it was all Marblehead from there. Arthur added a goal with Marblehead a man down and just a minute later the Magicians got their own man advantage and Murray scored to stretch the lead to 5-2.

Midway through the first half Bongiorno and Erskine scored back-to-back goals in a two minute span to put Marblehead ahead 7-2.

The Magicians padded their lead in the final minutes of the half. Bongiorno and Arthur each scored on a corner opportunity to give Marblehead a 9-2 lead before the break.

The second half was more of the same with the Magicians adding five straight goals in the first five minutes. O’Neill got things started with back-to-back tallies. Doody followed that up with a pair of goals and Murray capped off the run with another score to give Marblehead a comfortable 14-2 lead.

Melrose got back on the board next but Arthur and Erskine each added another goal to stretch the lead to 16-3. After another Melrose goal, the Magicians responded once again with two more scores from Arthur and Murray to go up 18-4.

Murray rounded out the scoring for Marblehead before Melrose added a pair of goals in the final minutes.

The Magicians have a day of practice to prepare for a quarterfinal matchup with No. 5 Central Catholic at Piper Field Thursday (TBA).

“We’ve heard that Central Catholic is very aggressive,” Beaton said. “They have a lot of depth and they have a pretty deep bench.

“We just want to have fun, come out and play hard from the first whistle,” Beaton said. “Like we say the first five minutes are so important. That’s something we’ve been working on this season and what better time for it to come together than the playoffs. We’re really proud of the girls and we hope this can continue.”

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