June 17--The goal of every MIAA lacrosse team is to have its season end at Boston University. The Walpole High girls have accomplished that feat in each of the last two years, they just haven't left Nickerson Field with the trophy they want yet.
The Rebels were back for another grasp at the brass ring on Saturday after having a comeback fall short in the Division 2 state championship a year ago. Cohasset made sure there would be no rally this time, backing up a strong close to the first half by keeping the leash on Walpole in second, claiming its first state crown with a 14-6 victory.
Walpole finishes with a 22-3 mark, eclipsing the program-record 20 wins it posted last spring.
"They were without question the better team," said Walpole coach Mike Tosone of Cohasset. "We played our fannies off like we always do. We played hard, we didn't play great, and for any chance to beat this team we would have had to play great.'
The Rebels got two goals each from the triumvirate of senior captains Mel Weber and Alison Foley and junior Emily Curtis while receiving another outstanding effort in net from senior captain Morgan Fontana.
But the Skippers exploited some turnover issues from the Rebels and a draw advantage of nearly 2-to-1 to put together two key runs, capping the first half with the final four goals and striking for five consecutive in the middle of the second.
'Obviously they are a dynamite team but if I were to say two things that were off-the-charts exceptional it was their transition offense and their settle defense," said Tosone.
Cohasset (21-2) was led by its star sister duo of Elle and Jane Hansen, both Northwestern commits. Junior Elle notched a hat trick in the first half and sophomore Jane had three of her game-high five goals after the break. The Skippers also go important contributions offensively from Julia Placek with three goals and Marina Longo with two.
"Of course Elle and Jane played a huge part in it, but for everybody to come and step up, it was total team effort," said Cohasset coach Kully Reardon. "They faceguarded Elle and Jane, especially when we didn't have a fast break and so they were a pretty much a little out of commission when we had to settle the ball, so Marina had to step up, Julia had to step up, Maddie Donovan, Molly greer, Olivia Coveney, and they all did."
Walpole kept the explosive Cohasset attack off the board for almost 10 minutes to start the game and held a 1-0 edge for most of that time as Weber scored on a low free position shot just 2:19 in. The Skippers countered with the next three, but Foley answered after scooping up a ground ball forced by Rebels pressure in the Cohasset zone, cutting the lead to 3-2 with 6:27 left.
The deficit was 7-2 by the time the first half whistle sounded, however, a margin that could have been even larger had it not been for seven saves in the opening 25 minutes for Fontana, who had 13 for the game, and two Cohasset shots ringing off the crossbar.
Foley got the second half off to a promising start, converting a one-timer in front off a Sydney Scales feed 1:33 into the half, but Walpole was held scoreless for the next 13 minutes. Cohasset stretched the lead all the way out to 12-3 by the time Weber flicked home a pretty turnaround shot with 10:14 to play.
"What I was little afraid of was a lull and we had it. I knew it would because we got a little complacent and Walpole, this is what happened last year against Norwell," said Reardon. "They have done this before. They are a gritty, tough, hard-working team and their coaches get them so fired up that I saw a comeback coming so I had to blow two timeouts real quick, which I don't like to do, but we had to because they are too tough to not be concerned."
Curtis tried to give Walpole, which scored the last four goals in a 12-11 loss to Norwell last year, a little late life with two strikes 41 seconds apart to make it 13-6 with 5:54 left, but that was it for the Rebels and Cohasset put it away with an empty-net score in the final minute.
"We kept throwing haymakers until the end and that's what I would expect," said Tosone. "I was hoping we would get it close enough that it would put a little doubt in their mind but I don't think we ever got in close enough that they started to press.'
The loss marked the end of the road as Rebels for a remarkable senior class that went 73-17 over the last four years with 11 postseason wins, putting the program on the map as one of the state's best.
In addition to captains Weber -- who piled up an astounding 14 league, sectional and state titles as a three-sport star during her Walpole career -- Foley and Fontana, classmates Cam Fields, Ashley Drummey, Sophia Giovaniello, Emma Flynn, Emily O'Connell and Meg Foley played their final games as Rebels.
"This group, the senior class is special, they have been special since they were little," said Tosone. "First of all they are great young ladies, extremely athletic, extremely competitive, and they left a legacy for sports in general and lacrosse in particular that good luck for any other class to duplicate it, and if they can we will all be the beneficiaries."
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