The Londonderry High girls’ lacrosse squad’s aim to at least get as far as the Division I tournament semifinals fell flat Wednesday, June 3, as veteran coach Bob Slater’s Lady Lancers saw their 2015 season come to an end with an 11-9 quarterfinal-round tourney loss to the host Exeter High Lady Blue Hawks on the seacoast.
The fourth-seeded Exeter crew potted the first four goals of the match early on – and six of the first seven during the initial 15 minutes of play – and never lost the lead, despite the LHS crew’s intense efforts to come all the way back.
Londonderry was the number five seed heading into the quarters and the Lady Blue Hawks were ranked number four. The Exeter crew, which went 14-4 during its regular season, bested the Lady Lancers by a 10-7 score when the teams first played in mid-May in Londonderry. So the locals – who registered a 10-6 regular season mark – had reasons to think they could best the seacoast squad in the even more important tourney contest last week.
However, the Lady Hawks’ fast start in the post-season battle set the tone and the hosts never lost the lead.
“The girls played very well,” said Slater following that big match. “We got off to a slow start, giving up four goals in the first 10 minutes, but we then took control and ended up down by two at the half at 6-4. The second half was even more intense from start to finish, with each team scoring five goals apiece.”
The Lancers had a chance to slice its deficit to just one goal with 1:30 left in the first half but were unable to capitalize.
“The same thing happened in the second half. With just under two minutes left we had the ball and could not capitalize,” lamented Slater.
The LHS offense was paced by senior Sarah Bell with her four goals. Single tallies were collected by Dominique Breault, Chelsea Lewis, Breda Holland, Gabby Morris, and Noelle Lambert. Goalie Michaela Kewley contributed two saves.
While the loss was disappointing for the locals, Slater and his charges had plenty to be pleased about where the entirety of the 2015 season was concerned.
After having their junior varsity coach step up into the Lady Lancers’ varsity job just before the start of last year’s 2014 tournament, Slater returned to the LHS lax fold from a college assistant coaching post and had his charges respond well to his return and the stability it brought.
“This season was tremendous,” he said. “All 26 girls improved, and our seniors had one of their best seasons before heading off to college. Our focus was to make it to the final four, but my focus as well was to get Londonderry girls’ lacrosse back as a contender in Division I like they used to be. That we accomplished, as the energy and excitement are back and will continue to grow moving forward.”