Photo: Belmont’s Anastasia MacEwen Meg Higgins (19) defend the goal in the second half.
Belmont High School’s Girls’ Lacrosse three-year starting goalie Anastasia MacEwen was a rock in net against a slick, fast Lexington High offense. The senior kept the Minutemen at bay early in Wednesday’s home match, April 13, as Belmont’s offense was struggling losing ground balls and being checked off the ball.
On shot after shot, MacEwen stopped balls with the net of her crosse, the crosse’s shaft, her legs, body, glove and even two off her mask as the Marauders rebounded from a deficit to tie the game early in the second half behind the senior netminder’s stellar play.
But in the future, MacEwen might want to limit the number of times she uses her head making the save as the second one off her noggin saw the veteran goalie coming out of the game. (MacEwen was able to walk off the field and was on the sidelines for the rest of the match.)
With its backstop on the bench, the team went into a bit of a defensive shell in front of substitute goalie junior Ciara Murphy, which allowed the Minutemen a bit more opportunities which the speedy Lexington forwards took advantage to sneak off Harris Field with a 13-10 win over Belmont.
“The girls played very well today,” said Head Coach Aimee Doherty.
“We played a hard game from start to finish and we really stepped up compared to our last two games in getting control of the draw. We are working on protecting the ball because we are forcing it at times and causing turnovers that have led to goals,” she said.
(Wednesday’s loss was sandwiched between an 18-1 drubbing of Stoneham and a road win Friday against Wilmington to bring Belmont’s record to 2-2.).
MacEwen was the standout in the first 25 minutes half, limiting Lexington to “only” three goals as Belmont’s offense was not yet in sync, losing plenty of ground balls and being kept from the front of Lexington’s net.
Attacking wing Julia Martin (1 goal) put Belmont on the scoreboard from a Serena Nally (4 assists) helper after nine minutes. Then in quick succession, strikes by attack Kate McCarthy (3 goals, 1 assist) and Sophie Pollack (3 goals, 2 assists) was culminated by a goal from a cutting McCarthy from a sweet pass from Pollack gave Belmont a 4-3 lead with nine minutes to play in the half.
But Lexington plotted a pair in before the half to lead 6-4. The second half saw Belmont starting on the front foot with junior attack wing AnneMarie Habelow (2 goals, 1 assist) spinning through her defender to score at the 21-minute mark, followed 13 seconds later by McCarthy to tie the game up at six. It was during the flurry of play that saw the Minutemen score the go-ahead goal with 18 minutes remaining during which McEwan was hit by the ball.
Habelow’s second goal off a penalty start knotted the game at seven just 20 seconds later. And while defensive wing Leah Brams and defender Maija Kubasek disrupted the Minuteman offense, Lexington did keep the pressure on Belmont, which could only close the game to one goal three times – Erin Looney strike (8-9) and two from Pollack (9-10 and 10-11).
Doherty said staying above the .500 mark and be a playoff team “is absolutely doable” with 12 returning players and six seniors.
“From the first day, they really clicked on and off the field,” she said.