Norwell goalie Chase Henriquez, a junior then, had Walpole attack Emily Curtis in her sights during the Division 2 girls’ lacrosse state final last June 18. She took a quick glance at the scoreboard.
There were five seconds left with Norwell leading, 12-11.
The ball came out of Curtis’s stick, and Henriquez kept her eyes on it, she recalled recently, all the way to her glove. As the game’s final moments ticked away, she held on to the ball, and with it a second straight state championship for Norwell.
“We had made it this far in the tournament,’’ Henriquez said, “and I knew I didn’t want to let my team down. I knew I had to stop that shot with everything I had. There wasn’t going to be an overtime.”
And there wasn’t. The win continued Norwell’s longstanding tradition of lacrosse success, the back-to-back titles the exclamation point in a run that has included four of the last six state titles. The tradition starts with head coach Kara Connerty, who’s been running the show since 2010, but it relies heavily on the team’s senior captains.
This year, there are four: defenseman Grace Connerty, a niece of the coach, midfielders Addie Kent and Hailey Berglund, and goalie Henriquez. All four have been on the varsity team and, with the exception of Henriquez, started for it since they were freshmen.
With only a few months until graduation, the four are focused on winning a third straight state championship.
“We lost some great seniors last year that handled our offensive production,” Kent said. “Luckily, we have players from every grade stepping up, so the future continues to look bright with Norwell girls lacrosse.”
That success no doubt has a lot to do with the town’s youth lacrosse program. All four captains played in the program; all four agree it had much to do with the players they are today.
Coach Connerty uses it as she looks for future varsity players.
“It’s great to watch these young lacrosse players learn the basics of the game at an early age,” the coach said. “Then, watching them grow into loving the sport for years to come is the greatest feeling any coach could have, especially when they decide to pursue college lacrosse.”
All four captains have the opportunity to do just that, but one remains undecided.
Grace Connerty says she loves the game too much to let it go, so she is going to Skidmore College to pursue that love. She’will major in education in hopes of becoming a teacher.
Kent will be heading to Boston College to play for her mother, Jennifer, the team’s assistant coach. She, too, will major in education, but with the hope of becoming a lacrosse coach.
Berglund was debating between Bowdoin and Colby. After a campus visit, she chose Bowdoin as the place to continue her lacrosse career. She’s undecided on a major.
Henriquez is the only one of the four who’s up in the air about where she’ll land, and whether the landing spot will include lacrosse. She’s been accepted at some big schools for her academics, but has also been offered lacrosse scholarships from some smaller schools. She hopes to decide soon and intends to pursue English and foreign language majors in hopes of doing international criminal justice or law.
“It’s great to know that college is ahead,’’ Berglund said, “but right now, we’re focused on finishing out our senior year with a win at the state championship.”
The team’s chances of achieving that goal should benefit from the addition of Murphy and Maddie McDonough, two sisters from North Carolina.
Henriquez said the two players have transitioned to the team perfectly and will be important players for Norwell this season.
Coach Connerty is also counting on key contributions from senior attack Kelley Burtch, senior defenseman Reilly Gilmore, junior attack Maddie Kendall, sophomore attack Annie Hilsinger, and sophomore defenseman Bridget Coffee.
The schedule is a tough one, with strong opponents, lincluding Westwood, Notre Dame Academy, Needham, and Cohasset.
“This type of schedule will prepare for the sectional and state tournament, which is where it’s most important place to play your best game,” Grace Connerty said.
Grateful for their chance to play winning lacrosse, Connerty and the other senior captains would love to put up one more title.
“This team has been my family for the last four years,” Kent said. “I just want to make sure I end my four years by giving everything I have to this program.”