Tight Shooting Window

This shot by Kyla Darmon at the end of the first half was saved, but the SHS midfielder scored what proved to be the game-winning goal for the Knights in the second half as the Knights beat Tyngsboro 13-12.

With everything on the line in a do-or-die game at DeConto Stadium on Tuesday, June 14, things certainly got interesting on their way to a 13-12 win by the Sandwich High girls’ lacrosse team.

“I’ve never had a game like that in 20 years; that was crazy,” SHS Head Coach Kelsy Beaton said following her team’s emotional win. “It was just craziness from the get-go.”

With the game tied early in the second half, an emotional meltdown resulting from a controversial call by the officials, turned the tide in favor of SHS and helped pave the way for the Lady Knights into the state Final Four. The second-seeded Blue Knights and 10th-seeded Tyngsboro Tigers were knotted up at 9-9 in the second half, with the momentum seemingly headed in favor of the visitors, who had clawed back from a five-goal deficit to tie the score.

Tyngsboro’s Courtney Hannes appeared to score the go-ahead goal for the Tigers at the 10:03 mark of the period with an athletic move from below the goal line that saw her leap across the front at an angle and snap a shot past SHS keeper Maria Hurley. One of the three referees had blown his whistle as she landed and signaled for no goal, deeming the shot dangerous. Not only was the goal disallowed, but Hannes was also penalized with a yellow card, carrying a two-minute locked penalty.

Hannes did not agree with the decision and argued vociferously as she headed toward the box. During her trek she threw her stick, mouth guard and goggles. That earned her another card, and expulsion from the game, which left the Tigers shorthanded for the rest of the game.

Hurley said that the follow through of the shot did hit her.

Tyngsboro’s fans were irate with the decision and made it be known with an onslaught of chirping and jeering. The referees responded by ejecting the entire fan section from the stadium, which did not go over well with the spectators that had driven close to two hours to attend the contest.

Once order was regained, Sandwich made good use of the extra player advantage and scored three goals over the next five minutes to turn the 9-9 game into a 12-9 lead. Riley Morrison started the surge with a snap shot at 11:48, and then at 12:56 Claire Moniz circled the goal and snapped one in. At 14:45, Ryann Cobban beat the keeper through the legs to put her team ahead by three.

Junior Sophia Visceglio, who scored a team-high four goals in the game, said that her team’s superior ability to keep its collective head was massive toward the outcome.

“I think, in games like this with wicked high intensity, it’s important to keep your cool. With your teammates having your back, and supporting you on the way, that’s how I got through it, at least,” Visceglio said. “We were all just telling each other to calm down, we just had a few minutes to go. We’ve got this.”

Morrison, who had three scores in the game, echoed her teammate’s point and said that SHS knew that an opportunity had presented itself and that the team needed to cash it in.

“When they went down we all just kind of came together in our circle and said what we needed to do. We knew that we had to keep our composure and run certain plays on offense because we knew that we had that advantage. Once we got that advantage we just settled down, said what we needed to do and did that,” Morrison said.

It seemed like Sandwich would run away with it at that point, but to their credit Tyngsboro kept coming. Emma Angelo backed down the defense and got to the net for a goal at 9:29 to cut the deficit to two. Exactly a minute later, Kyla Darmon scored what proved to be the game-winning goal off a great feed out of the corner by Moniz, making it 13-10 at the 18:29 mark.

Things got a tad dicey for Sandwich in the late stages of the game as Tyngsboro threatened to come all the way back. Sydney Hannes scored on a nice low snap with 4:06 left to make it a two-goal affair, and then with 3:31 remaining Angelo got another on a free position shot.

With 2:15 left, Maria Hurley saved the day for the Knights, making the biggest save of the game. Angelo again tried to back her way to the net, spun around and let one fly from the edge of the crease. Hurley stepped to the ball and bodied it away. The defense picked up the loose ball and cleared it up the field to kill some clock. An errant pass with 45 seconds left gave THS one last chance, but Moniz harassed the goalie and refused to allow her to clear it up the field to start a transition for Tyngsboro. A desperate heave with 10 seconds left resulted in a takeaway for Sandwich and the Knights cinched things up.

Hurley said she was not nervous as the seconds counted down and Angelo got close to her for a chance to tie it.

“I’m kind of used to that, my team all shoots on me pretty hard. I just try to stay composed and take away as much of the angle as they had. (Angelo) was very big, and she was towering over me, and I just wanted to get my stick up,” the keeper said. “I think it hit my stick.”

Coach Beaton said that Hurley was a game-changer for her squad.

“I feel like that was the most (shots) she’s seen all year. She had a number of big saves,” Beaton said.

Now SHS is headed to the state final four where it will meet No. 3 Dover-Sherborn, a 16-2 winner against Triton in their Elite Eight game. D-S is now 14-9 for the season and has outscored its opponents 56-6 in its three playoff games. The teams will square off tomorrow, Saturday, June 18, at 3 PM at Norwell High School.

The Knights said that they have one goal in mind, and it is not settling for an appearance in the Final Four, which is the furthest that any SHS girls’ lacrosse team has ever gone.

“All of the hard work that we’ve put in this entire year, I definitely think it’s going to pay off in the end,” Visceglio said.

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