Published May 19, 2021
By STEPHEN MARTELLUCCI
LYNNFIELD — Two years ago, the Lynnfield High girls’ lacrosse team lost in the first round of the Division 2 North state tournament to Tyngsboro to finish 11-8. Five seniors from that squad graduated.
Last year, seven more 12th-graders graduated as they did not get to play due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This spring, only three Pioneers who were on the team in 2019 are back. Those three are tri-captains, Jen Flynn, Maddy Murphy and Molly Murphy.
There are 10 seniors on the roster this season.
“I’m very glad that so many decided to come out for the team, but it will make the season a bit of an adventure once the beginning of June rolls around and they are getting ready for graduation,” said Pioneers 14th-year head coach Ethan Blanchette.
The MIAA will hold a state tournament for the first time since the winter season of 2019-2020 which was stopped late into the states due to the pandemic.
Every team will be allowed to participate despite their overall record.
Teams must declare if they want in by June 2 as the postseason will start by mid-June and end in early July.
“Originally, I was thinking we would enter the tournament no matter our record, but after getting feedback from seniors in particular, I think that is a discussion we will have to have as a team as the opt-in deadline approaches,” said Blanchette.
The Pioneers will play a 12-game regular season and all games will be Cape Ann League contests. Lynnfield will play the CAL Kinney Division teams twice and the CAL Baker schools once.
“I think this will be a very challenging season,” admitted Blanchette. “All games are league games and the CAL is traditionally one of the strongest lacrosse conferences in the north. In the past we’ve been very successful with most of our non-league opponents, but we won’t have that luxury this year. Every game will be a grind and there are several very powerful teams in the CAL.”
The league is one team smaller than 2019 as Masconomet departed for the Northeastern Conference last September.
In the season opener on May 10, the Pioneers lost at North Reading by a final of 13-8.
After leading 3-2 after the first quarter, sloppy play gave the Hornets an 8-3 halftime advantage.
“That quarter was the difference in the game,” admitted Blanchette.
Maddy Murphy scored four goals and Flynn scored three while Molly Murphy had a goal and an assist. Goalie Ava O’Brien made eight saves in her first varsity start.
On May 13, the Pioneers fell to 0-2 as they lost their home opener to Triton, 15-11. Lynnfield got off to a slow start as they fell behind 6-1 early in the second quarter. However, they scored the final four goals of the first half to cut the Viking lead to one at halftime.
“We started slow and had to claw our way out of an early hole,” said Blanchette. “ I thought we had a chance when we made a run to close the gap to one at halftime, but we committed a few too many turnovers.”
The visitors then scored the first four goals of the third quarter to lead by five.
Lynnfield stormed back to cut the lead to 12-10 early in the fourth but the Vikings put the game on ice scoring the next three goals.
Jen Flynn led the Pioneer offense with six goals. Maddie Mastrangelo and Molly Murphy both scored twice, while Maddy Murphy had the other tally.
Senior defender Erin Sharkey was the player of the game with six caused turnovers and three ground balls.
“She played great defensively,” stated Blanchette. “She’s one of those players that’s easy to root for because she brings such a great attitude and effort every day. She’s still very new to the sport, having played for about three months total prior to the start of this season and she’s improving every week.”
Goalie Ava O’Brien made eight saves in the game.
Lynnfield traveled to Hamilton-Wenham on Tuesday after press time. This Friday (May 21), the Pioneers host Newburyport at 4:45 p.m. Next Monday (May 24), Lynnfield visits Pentucket with that game starting at 3:45 p.m.