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Notre Dame topples Westwood in girls’ lacrosse

Westford Academy’s Erica Mattila battles North Andover’s Emma Johns for a loose ball.

jon Mahoney for the boston globe

Westford Academy’s Erica Mattila battles North Andover’s Emma Johns for a loose ball.

Notre Dame of Hingham proved Thursday night that they had the goods to take down two-time defending state champion Westwood. The Cougars defeated the host Wolverines, 10-7, to capture their first Division 1 South sectional title.

“We’ve waited so long for an opportunity like this to propel our program forward. It presented itself and we seized it,” said senior Mariel Teague, a four-year starter.

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Notre Dame came ready to play and caught Westwood on its heels. Kelsey Bowen scored the game’s first goal just three minutes in, but the Wolverines bounced back with a goal a minute later from Kasey Keane. The first half continued the same way, with Westwood matching every Notre Dame tally and the teams entered halftime tied at 4-4.

The Cougars exploded for four straight goals in the first six minutes of the second half to go up 8-4, their largest lead of the game.

Westwood roared back with three goals, but the Cougars wouldn’t break.

“In practice, we went over scenarios that could happen and that [three-goal run] was their thunderstorm,” said senior Alex Dalton. “We were prepared for it.”

Preparation was key to Notre Dame’s success.

“Our coaches put their heart and soul into getting us prepared,” said Teague. “Physically, mentally, emotionally, they go above and beyond to make sure we’re prepared.”

The Cougars defense shut down the Woverines for the remainder of the game.

A bobbled save and tussle in front of Westwood’s net gave Notre Dame a two-goal cushion with just more than10 minutes left.

Their final goal at 4:39 all but dashed Westwood’s hopes of a state championship. The Cougars played it cool, keeping possession while they burned out the clock.

“I’m really proud of our seniors,” said coach Notre Dame coach Meredith Frank, who won three state championships while she was a student at Westwood.

Division 1 North final

Westford 13, North Andover 7 — Senior Bailey Mongillo and junior Erica Mattila combined for six goals in the second half for the host Grey Ghosts.

Mongillo finished with five goals and Mattila had three, and added four assists.

Senior captain Audrey Samuelman led North Andover with three goals.

Following the game, North Andover coach Karen Murdoch-Lahey, who started the girls’ lacrosse program at North Andover 10 years ago, announced her retirement.

Globe correspondent Patrick Bradley contributed from Westford.
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