WELLESLEY — Senior Alex Dalton and freshman Charlotte Allard combined for 10 goals to lead Notre Dame (Hingham) past Westford Academy, 12-9, Wednesday for the EMass Division 1 girls’ lacrosse title.
“Belief in themselves, that’s what spurred this run,” said Notre Dame coach Meredith Frank. “I told them that it’s achievable and you have to believe in yourself to get this far.”
The game, played at Wellesley College, pitted the Division 1 North and South sectional champions against one another to determine who will play Longmeadow in the state final Friday in Worcester.
Westford’s Grey Ghosts had speed on their side, but the Cougars had the edge across the field: They racked up 23 shots on goal, earned 22 free-position shots, snagged 18 ground balls, won 14 draw controls, and caused 12 turnovers.
“It was an all-around team effort. We were moving as a unit,” said Frank. “Westford gave us one of the best games we’ve seen all year.”
Dalton had trouble finding the back of the back of the net early on, but Allard drew fouls in the offensive third and notched a few free-position goals to get the Cougars’ attack started.
“The post is my best friend,” said Dalton. “I hit it constantly.
“You just have to take a step back and just see the net, look for the white space between the posts and hit your shot.”
Dalton led all scorers with six goals. Allard was right behind with four goals and an assist. Kelsey Bowen and Lexi Lenninghan each added a goal for Notre Dame.
Westford was at its best in the final five minutes of each half. The Grey Ghosts scored the final three goals of the first half to enter halftime tied, 5-5.
Down, 11-6, with under six minutes to go in the game, they came to life again with one last push. But, ultimately, the clock wasn’t on their side, and they could manage just three more goals.
“We stopped being as aggressive as we could have been,” said Frank. “They came back and threw that ball into the net and made us work till the end.
“You have to stay mentally focused. Westford is a tough, tough opponent, but we were able to withstand their fury.”
Taylor Freud led the Grey Ghosts with four goals, and was backed by two goals each from Bailey Mongillo and Jenna Klinka. Kathryn Olivier added one goal.
Goalkeeper Hanna Cooper recorded nine saves for the Cougars.
Frank won three state championships with Westwood as a student, and Dalton said the team was inspired by her experience.
“[Coach] just tells us what it’s like to win: ‘There’s nothing like it,’ ” Dalton said.
“We’re just excited. We’ve never been this far before. We’ve worked so hard day in and day out. It’s something new for us and we want to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity.”