Her high school lacrosse career was on the line, but Maegan Schmauder remained calm and composed.
With Franklin tied 11-all in overtime of Sunday’s Division 1 East final against host Concord-Carlisle, she found herself in a familiar moment, one that she has seized time and time again.
The senior captain — after being held without a goal in regulation — rushed in from the top of the 8-meter arc, faked the Patriot goalie and buried the game-winner, setting up Tuesday’s Division 1 state semifinal against Longmeadow.
It was the second consecutive team she sent packing; in the sectional semifinals, the 5-foot-4 Schmauder also scored the winner, with 6 seconds left in OT, against Lincoln-Sudbury Regional.
“She is our go-to player in those situations because she’s so calm,” said second-year head coach Kristin Igoe. “In practice I make up scenarios like ‘five seconds left, tie game from eight meters out,’ and she always wants to take it.”
Two days prior, Schmauder had received her diploma, marking the end of her high school academic career.
“It’s scary when you think that any game could be our last,” said the high-scoring attack (52 goals, 9 assists this season).
Schmauder is headed to the Rochester Institute of Technology this fall.
“I just tell myself to go hard until the end and don’t have any regrets.”
No matter the outcome this postseason, Igoe said, she will have no regrets either, crediting her seven seniors for carrying the Panthers to the first sectional title in program history.
“They have been leaders all year, helping the team get better every day, echoing what the coaches are saying and taking us to a new level,” said Igoe, who was a high school All-American for Framingham and graduated from Boston College in 2012 as the program’s all-time leading goal scorer.
After playing for the US women’s World Cup championship team last summer, Igoe instilled a winning mentality this season, combining skills and tactics that she learned from the top players and coaches in the world.
Focusing on pressuring the ball the length of the field, her squad’s defense has been elite, yielding just 5.45 goals per game, which ranks third in the state, trailing only Westwood (4.32) and Longmeadow (4.39), the Panthers’ state semifinal opponent.
Igoe “always practices with us and she’s one of the top offensive players in the country, so to have to defend her and put a double team on her is just great practice for the game,” said senior captain Julia Bireley, who will play at Springfield College.
That practice paid off in the Division 1 East sectional final, when the Panthers found themselves down one with under a minute left in regulation, after squandering a four-goal second-half lead.
Junior captain Emily Jeffries , who committed a costly turnover late in the game, said the team never fretted and its chemistry stayed strong.
“We play as a team and we make up for each other’s mistakes,” said the University of Massachusetts Amherst recruit, who led the Panthers in scoring. “We’re all friends off the field, and I think that being so tight makes us form the connections on the field because of the trust we have in each other.”
With the clock winding down in regulation, Jeffries made the biggest connection of the game, passing to sophomore Sheelagh Walsh, who tied the game with 2 seconds remaining.
“We knew we were going to fight till the end to try to tie it up,’’ said St. Anselm-bound senior captain Marta Versprille. When Concord-Carlisle went ahead, she said, “we remained positive, we all kept our chins up, and we knew we could get it back.”
Added the Hockomock League MVP: “Coach always tells us, it’s not over till it’s over.”
Season to be proud of for Concord-Carlisle
Despite its heartbreaking overtime loss to Franklin in the Division 1 East final, Concord-Carlisle’s turnaround from a mediocre season last spring cannot be overlooked.
The Patriots faced key injuries last year, with Emma Brandhurst missing the entire season with a torn knee ligament, and Allie Barrett sidelined for half of the campaign with a high ankle sprain, en route to finishing 8-10-1.
This spring, the team remained healthy and earned a 17-3-1 record, which included a string of 16 consecutive games without a loss running from April 7 until the final game.
With Concord-Carlisle trailing, 10-6, with 14 minutes remaining in Sunday’s game, senior captains Brandhurst and Barrett showed their worth, putting the team on their shoulders and scoring the game’s next five goals, giving the Patriots an 11-10 lead with under a minute to go.
“Last year’s team wouldn’t be able to come back from a four-goal deficit in the second half like we did in this game,” said coach Paul Morrison.
“The result was disappointing, but when you take a step back, we were 2-2 two months ago and didn’t lose a game until today, and it took overtime to beat us. I couldn’t be prouder of this team.”
Shrewsbury’s goalie keeps season going
Two teams, two All-American goalies, one champion.
Saturday’s Division 2 Central/West title game featured two of the nation’s top netminders, but it was Shrewsbury’s Chris Gorman who got the better of Westfield’s Jake Cupak in a 9-8 double overtime thriller.
The Eastern Connecticut-bound goalie shut out the Bombers in the fourth quarter and both overtimes as he continued his dominant campaign. Gorman, who had two assists in the sectional final, has only allowed one opponent to reach double digits all season.
In the semifinals, Gorman and the Colonials also stunned cross-town rival St. John’s High, 7-6, as he made 10 saves against a Pioneers squad that had netted 41 goals over the tourney’s first two rounds.
“He’s our emotional spark . . . the Ray Lewis of our team,” said coach Nate Skermont, evoking the former Baltimore Ravens linebacker’s intensity.
“Every save, he’s emotional, in the huddles he’s the voice that you hear. There’s not much to him — he’s just 5-foot-7 — but he’s not afraid of anything, and he makes the saves that you don’t expect to be made.”
Grazewski steps up, outscores Medfield
Wayland coach E.J. Kluge felt comfortable traveling to Medfield for the Division 2 East title game last Friday, having already beaten the host team on the road earlier in the season.
But a 16-5 blowout — in which one of her freshman attackers outscored the entire Medfield team — was far from what she expected. Kirsten Grazewski scored seven goals in the effort, propelling Wayland into a state semifinal Tuesday against Bromfield School.
“The first time we played them she just had one goal, so I told her before the game that she probably wasn’t going to be on their radar at all,” said Kluge. “I told her she would need to step up to make sure that she made her impact on the game, and did she ever.”
Kluge said Grazewski has made a significant mark in her first season for Wayland thanks to her chemistry with senior captain Amy Cunningham; the two have fed off each other all season long. Cunningham, who is committed to play at George Washington next spring, scored her 400th career point Friday.Taylor C. Snow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @taylorcsnow.