CHELMSFORD — The No. 4 Marblehead girls lacrosse team kept its state tournament run alive with another last-second victory, defeating No. 1 Reading 12-11 in the Division 1 North semifinal at Simonian Alumni Stadium Tuesday.
Last week Grace Arthur’s last-second goal was the difference for the Magicians in an 11-10 win over Central Catholic. This time, Bella Peters and goalkeeper Elizabeth Driscoll (nine saves) were the heroes on the defensive end.
“It was really nerve racking to say the least,” Marblehead assistant coach Shannon Beaton said. “I give kudos to Bella Peters. I could tear up talking about it, she started one game this season. She is so athletic, such a fighter and she face-guarded (Reading’s) best player. We all just said she and Elizabeth won us the game. (Peters) certainly stepped up to the occasion, she’s incredibly athletic and she held their top scorer to two goals.
“She’s an incredible athlete,” Beaton added of Peters “She’s feisty and she’s aggressive. You would not want her as an opponent playing defense on you. She’s poised, smart and we just knew it would make it difficult on Reading.”
Lydia Bongiorno was all over the field, scoring five goals including the game-winner in the second half. Maddie Erskine and Grace Doody each scored two goals. Grace Arthur, Sara Campbell and Carter Murray each added one. Marblehead’s offense got off to a fast start and built an early 6-1 lead, which the Magicians lost only once for a brief period in the second half.
“We have really been talking about the first five minutes,” Beaton said. “These playoffs, these girls have been coming ready to play. Kudos to the seniors. They just want it. They graduated Friday and it can be difficult but they show up to play every game. But the first five minutes were huge. We went down 1-0 and then went up 6-1.”
Reading’s Kiara Tangney won the opening faceoff and added a quick goal to start the game but it was all Marblehead for the next 10 minutes.
The Magicians added six straight goals in an eight-minute span, with four coming on free position shots. Bongiorno started with a goal and Doody grabbed a rebound and scored on the next Magicians possession to give Marblehead a 2-1 lead.
Next, Bongiorno and Campbell each scored on free positions and Arthur and Murray added a pair of tallies to stretch the Marblehead lead to 6-1.
Reading went on a run of its own midway through the first half, scoring three straight goals to cut the Magicians’ lead to 6-4.
Marblehead responded with a goal from Erskine but Reading added a late tally with two seconds to go in the first half, closing the gap to 7-5 at halftime.
After a quick Reading goal, Erskine scored and then won a faceoff to set up a goal from Doody to put Marblehead out front 9-6. Another Reading goal was answered by Bongiorno but Reading answered with two more goals cut the Magicians lead to 10-9.
After a three-minute possession, Bongiorno found the back of the net again on a free position but Reading once again answered with two straight goals to tie the game at 11-11 with 3:07 to go.
In one of the most important faceoffs of the game, Bongiorno scooped up a ground ball to give Marblehead a possession and later scored the eventual game-winner to put Marblehead ahead 12-11.
A late turnover almost cost the Magicians but a Reading shot missed the mark. With 17 seconds remaining Reading called a pair of timeouts to plan out its final possession. Reading set up the final shot but Driscoll got a piece of it to seal the win for Marblehead.
“For the girls we just wanted to make sure they’re sliding and communicating,” Beaton said of the game’s final seconds. “We knew we had a few players that weren’t marked up so we just wanted to make sure we knew who was sliding where and doing what. Huge kudos to Elizabeth Driscoll, in this playoff she has just been hot. She’s made some incredible saves and really has saved us in some of these games.”
The Magicians will take on No. 2 Chelmsford in the sectional final Friday (TBA).