WELLESLEY — At the Division 2 girls’ lacrosse state final Monday at Wellesley College, Winchester had a chance to avenge its 2010 state final loss to Norwell. But history repeated itself and the Clippers were once again victorious, this time by the score of 20-8, to capture their fifth championship since 2005.
Winchester jumped out to a 3-0 lead, which forced Norwell coach Kara Connerty to burn a timeout.
“We talked about nerves coming into play,” said Connerty, who is in her fourth season. “We went down, 3-0, and our goal there is to really push it, try to create confusion, and score.”
Once the ball was back in play, the Clippers (18-5-1) took over. Senior Maddie Ward and freshman Stephanie Croke scored goals 16 seconds apart and freshman Jane O’Connell notched the equalizer at 13:07.
“We started winning draw controls and playing as a team,” said Connerty. “We stressed [playing as a team] all season long, attackers playing defense, and defenders coming up into the attack when they could.”
The Clippers carried the momentum through halftime, holding the Sachems (20-4-1) scoreless for more than 30 minutes while racking up 12 more goals. The score was 15-3 with 15:40 remaining when Winchester’s Megan Hennessey slipped one past goalkeeper Grace Gunning (10 saves).
“Grace was terrific,” said Connerty. “Winchester has great shooters. She had a tremendous game and came up with some key saves.”
Hennessey, a senior, finished with five goals. Her cousin, Ward, Norwell’s co-captain, led all scorers with six goals and four assists.
“We played against [Winchester for the state title in our] freshman year and we won, so that was kind of a running joke in the family,” said Ward, who sprinted across the field at the final whistle to drench Connerty in ice water.
Co-captain Mary O’Connell finished with four goals and three assists, and senior Devon Croke had a hat trick for the Clippers. Both were also on the 2010 title team.
“They know what it was like to win,” said Connerty of her senior class. “But as seniors, you realize just how hard it really is to win a state championship.”