Newburyport senior midfielder Alexandra Peffer’s second goal of the game broke a 6-6 tie with 20 seconds remaining in the first half of Saturday’s Division 2 girls’ lacrosse state final against Bromfield at Boston University.
It was all the Clippers would need for the rest of the game.
Both teams were held scoreless in the second half as Newburyport hung on for a 7-6 victory, clinching the program’s first Division 2 state championship.
“I can’t really describe this,” Clippers coach Catherine Batchelder said. “It’s so incredibly mind boggling. Someone should have bet on us in Vegas, they would have made a lot of money.”
Newburyport (16-4) gained possession with a little more than five minutes remaining and stalled the rest of the way, keeping the ball away from Bromfield’s Sophia Turchetta, who tallied a game-high five goals.
“Stalling is an important part of the game and we practice it a lot,” Batchelder said. “I told them there’s five minutes left; this has got to be the best stall you’ve done all year, and they executed.”
Peffer, Julie Kipp, and Lillian Donovan paced the Clippers with two goals apiece, while Kelly Conway added one score.
“That’s really what our team has become,” Batchelder said of her team’s offensive depth. “That’s what championship teams are made of.”
Turchetta, like she’s been all season, was the Trojans’ offensive catalyst as she kept the Clippers’ defense guessing.
“Their offense all runs through her,” Batchelder said. “We tried shutting her down in the first half, but it didn’t really work.”
Aided by a stout defensive effort in front of the net, Newburyport freshman goalie Isabelle Sarra stopped four shots in the second half (six saves overall), disrupting Bromfield’s offensive rhythm.
Batchelder acknowledged she didn’t change her defensive strategy in the second half, her girls just executed with pinpoint focus.
“We’re a second-half team,” Peffer said. “We’ve been through this so many times. We did what we know we could do and that’s what happened.”
The teams exchanged goals in the opening half, with five lead changes and five ties in the first 25 minutes.
Senior goalie Julie Higgins put on a clinic in the second half for Bromfield (21-2), stopping all five shots she faced, including three from point-blank range.
In a game that had the makings of an offensive shootout based on first-half indications, it was a defensive-minded battle to the end.
Peffer was just glad the last goal of her high school career was the difference in riding off with a championship.
“It’s unreal,” Peffer said. “I’m speechless. I cried.”