The No. 4 seed Foxboro High girls’ lacrosse team made winning plays when it mattered most.
Foxboro outhustled top-seeded Wayland High on game-altering ground balls, made crunch-time defensive stands and scored a pair of man-up goals in the final minutes to pull out a 15-13 victory over Wayland in the MIAA Division 2 East Sectional semifinal on Tuesday at Weston High School.
Junior Jamie Notarangelo scored on a free-position chance with 3:27 left to break a 13-all tie game before senior Sophia DiCenso netted her third of the game exactly a minute later. DiCenso won the faceoff after Notarangelo’s tally and sophomore Lilly Vey kept the possession alive with a key ground ball on the far side.
Foxboro (15-7) returns to the East Sectional final for the second time in three seasons. The Warriors will face Medway in the title game at Walpole High on Friday at 7 p.m.
Foxboro defeated Medway 17-10 earlier this spring on May 23.
The groundball scooped by Vey was among a handful of key plays the Warriors made down the stretch. DiCenso corralled two of the final three faceoffs and on the one she didn’t get in the air, she forced a turnover in which Ella Waryas scooped the ground ball. Senior Mary Spillane made a goal-saving defensive play in the final minute as she came across from the back side and deflected a Wayland shot attempt. Sophomore goaltender Sara Addeche made a save on the ensuing Wayland possession before Foxboro ran the clock out on the offensive end.
Foxboro coach Brittany Sherry was not surprised to see her Warriors’ come up with key plays in the clutch.
“I definitely think we did,” Sherry said. “On the bus before the game started, I kind of was like, ‘This is the finals (for us) because once we lose, we lose and we’re out so it doesn’t matter if it’s on this stage (the semifinals) or the next. It just depends how bad you want it and everything has to be left on the field because there’s no tomorrow if we don’t win today.’ So I think that kind of resonated.”
“(We) were just grinding plays and outhustling them,” Sherry added. “It was good to see.”
Foxboro never trailed in as the Warriors were led by a handful of offensive contributors. Meghan Curran, Notarangelo and DiCenso each tallied four points on three goals. Julia Kelley added five points on two goals and three assists while Molly Murphy and Lilly Vey also scored two apiece.
The Warriors followed the defensive lead of Carlie Stern, Grace Boudreau, Waryas and Spillane. Spillane made another noteworthy defensive play in the first half, getting her stick in the way to break up a Wayland free-position chance. She eventually gathered the ground ball and got it to Notarangelo, who went coast-to-coast and scored her second goal in transition to put Foxboro up 4-1 with 5:51 left in the first half.
With their group of defenders, as well as others in both the midfield and attack helping out, the Warriors put together one of their best defensive halves this season during the opening 25 minutes. Despite being on the losing end of the draws in the first half, Foxboro held a 7-3 advantage at the intermission. They allowed only five shots on Addeche, outshooting Wayland 15-5 in the stanza.
“They always seem to turn it on in games and they really do keep us in games,” Sherry said of the defense. “I think that was the best our ride has looked as well. They knew their job wasn’t done until they hit that restraining line. We made some pretty good plays with hustle work.”
Vey scored a pair of goals to give Foxboro a 10-6 lead 4:41 into the second half. After Wayland responded with two of its own, Curran scored two straight for the Warriors, both on free-position chances, to extend Foxboro’s lead back to 12-8 with 11:12 remaining.
Wayland made a late run due to their success on the draw, winning five of six, to tie it 13-all with 4:16 left before the Warriors closed it out. Foxboro held a 24 to 16 edge in shots while Wayland held a 17-9 advantage in draw controls.