Belmont High School Girls' Lacrosse started tournament play Tuesday, May 29, by racing by visiting Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School, 16-6, at Belmont's Harris Field.
In the humidity of yesterday afternoon, the Marauders sprinted out to a 5-0 lead within the first 10 minutes and 11-3 at the half and never looked back as Belmont utilized both speed and its tall center midfielder to control the ball for most of the game.
Senior Caroline McCarthy – who will be playing lacrosse next year at Division III powerhouse Hamilton College – dominated the draws (which takes place at the start of the game and after every score) at one point winning eight of nine, allowing the Marauders to be in control.
"I thought it was an awesome game," said Jessica Smith, who managed her final home game as Belmont's head lacrosse coach. (Smith will continue coaching field hockey in the fall.)
"They were relaxed, showed a lot of patience on offense and took far fewer bad opportunities today," said Smith.
The Marauders got out of the gate fast as senior Britta Marden (3 goals) hit the post in the first minute before McCarthy – who finished the game with five goals and three assists – scored off a free position shot early in the second minute.
McCarthy then tallied from mid-distance at the 18th minute followed by 'Izzy' Goldstein (4 goals, 2 assists) goal off a cut in front a minute later.
On the other end of the field, Belmont's D swarmed the General players at every opportunity in front of freshman goalie Linda Herlihy (seven saves). Smith praised her defense surrendering only two free positions in the half.
"They were moving their feet and getting turnovers because of that," said Smith. "And Linda (Herlihy) had more than 50 percent she saved. You can't ask more than that from a goalie.
Belmont also excelled in capturing ground balls, controlling the majority of opportunities to gain possession, ending the game with 20 which did not include balls intercepted in the air.
"(Midfield) Becca (Moore), who is very injured and you wouldn't know it, got a ton of ground balls. I just don't know how she does it," said Smith.
Down 9-1 with a minute left in the first half, Hamilton-Wenham scored twice within 14 seconds from junior midfield Emily Gaucher (4 goals) and senior Abby Hughes (2 goals, 1 assist).
But Belmont scored a pair from Goldstein whose final came with a second remaining on the clock.
"Izzy played a tremendous game not just scoring goals but getting ground balls (five) all over the field.
"And it was great to see other girls scoring like Julia (Russo), Becca and Carolyn Casey," said Smith.
Next up for Belmont is a match vs Marblehead at 4 p.m. Thursday, May 31, in the North Shore town.
"Marblehead has a great athletic program in every sport we play them in. They have good athletes who do a lot of extra lacrosse playing so it will be a hard game. But if we play like we did today, I think we will have a really good shot against them. It should be an equal game," said Smith.