The Lowell girls’ lacrosse team did not just beat Andover for the first time in program history last week. The Red Raiders made a statement, to Andover, and rest of the potential field in the Division 1 tourney bracket, with their 14-7 win at Cawley Stadium.
Fresh off a 19-4 trouncing of Tewksbury on Friday and a 17-7 win at Methuen this past Tuesday, Lowell (11-3) has ripped off six straight victories.
Head coach Kerri Bomil ’s team is starting to turn some heads as the postseason approaches. Lowell has made the tournament seven of the last 10 seasons, but it’s typically had a low seed and has never made it past the first round as a program.
The players and coaches are hoping that changes this year, and they believe they have the pieces in place to cement their legacy as the best girls’ lacrosse team in school history.
“Their mindset is changing,” said Bomil, a 2006 Lowell High graduate. “They’re not looking at the jerseys of the other teams and getting intimidated. They’re looking at themselves and saying, ‘Why can’t we beat them? Why not us?’”
In the past, the Red Raiders have fallen to teams such as Chelmsford and North Andover by 20-goal margins. This season, however, Lowell closed that yawning gap, losing to Chelmsford by eight and North Andover by six.
The Red Raiders also beat Billerica in a 17-16 thriller earlier this month. They had never defeated the Indians before 2017, and now they’ve won three straight against them.
“I think we’re doing a lot better than we have before,” said senior captain Hannah Erickson . “We’re working more as a team because we have more skilled players, all around.”
Wins over Tewksbury, Burlington, and Pentucket were also confidence-boosters, but nothing came close to the thrill of defeating Andover for the first time in team history. Senior captain Hannah McAnespie said doubling up the Warriors validated the Red Raiders’ belief they are capable of doing some damage in the tournament.
“We always thought that Andover was this big, bad team that no one could ever touch,” McAnespie said. “Actually beating them felt pretty great. It was a goal from the beginning of the season. We were all like, ‘I think we can beat Andover. I think this is possible.’ When we actually did it, it was like, ‘Oh my God, we’re that good?’ We’ve never been this good before.”
It is a belief shared by Lowell’s players and coaches alike.
In the past 10 years, Lowell has missed the tournament just three times, lost its first game five times, and lost lopsided games in the first round after squeaking out a preliminary round win twice.
The Raiders have won 13 games once in that span — in 2017 — and finished with nine regular-season wins or fewer six times. They always believed this year would be the turning point, and they’re overjoyed that their vision is coming to fruition.
They’re sick of just getting there. Now, they want to make their presence felt.
“We’re working more as a team, and our intensity is up a lot,” said senior captain Olyvia Cassella. “We’re just connecting more.”
Lowell’s success this season is especially gratifying for Bomil, who never experienced such a thrill in high school before going on to play at Merrimack College. When she took over as head coach in 2015, she and her assistants aimed to rebuild the program.
Now, Bomil’s team is reaping the dividends of its hard work. Bomil hopes it will translate into a higher seed for the Red Raiders, which would help them finally get past the first-round obstacle and make a deep tournament run.
“Out of my four years, this is probably the strongest we’ve been,” said senior captain Kaleigh Dunham, who has over 200 career goals. “It’s a different mindset this year.”
■ One month ago, Concord-Carlisle was without two-time All-American Fallon Vaughn (illness) or goalie Natalie Slade (ski tournament) and mired in a three-game losing streak. Since then, the Patriots (11-3, 6-1) have won nine in a row, including a pair of signature victories last week, to regain control of the Dual County League. Last Thursday, C-C avenged an early-season loss to No. 13 Lincoln-Sudbury, blanking the rival Warriors in the second half en route to a 13-3 win. Then, on Saturday, the Patriots edged Cape Ann contender Manchester Essex, 14-11, thanks to the returns of Vaughn and Slade, a Colorado College commit. C-C’s streak will be at risk again on Thursday when it hosts No. 11 Wayland, which will be eyeing redemption after a 17-16 heartbreaker back in April.
■ Central Catholic’s Ciera Licare , the granddaughter of Hall of Fame North Andover basketball coach Bob Licare, made the cut for the Massachussetts/Rhode Island regional team that will compete in the Women’s National Tournament at the end of May. Ipswich’s Haley O’Connor and Annie Gillis were also selected.
■ On Saturday, Pingree picked up its first win against Governor’s Academy in a decade, 16-8. Kendall Traveis notched a game-high six goals, Mackenzie Vasque contributed four goals and two assists, and Erin Jayne added four goals and six assists for the red-hot Highlanders (13-1).
Games to Watch
Thursday, Wayland at Concord-Carlisle, 4 p.m. — With four games to go, the Warriors need a win against the Dual County League leaders if they want to capture at least a share of the conference championship.
Friday, Norwell at Needham, 5:30 p.m. — The fourth-ranked Rockets have only lost to the three teams above them in the rankings this season. They’ll aim to maintain that perfect record against the No. 6 Clippers.
Saturday, Manchester Essex at Ipswich, 10 a.m. — The Cape Ann League title comes down to a date between the Baker Division’s two undefeated juggernauts.
Sunday, Wellesley at Lincoln-Sudbury, 3:15 p.m. — Two teams who suffered one-goal defeats will attempt to right the ship when the No. 13 Warriors host the eighth-ranked Raiders.
Tuesday, Natick at Walpole, 6 p.m. — Walpole will try to avoid a hiccup in the final game of the regular season against a feisty Redhawks squad that nearly upset Wellesley earlier this month.