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Wellesley has the will, upsets Walpole for girls’ lacrosse title

Grace Ahonen celebrates after scoring Wellesey’s first goal in the first half.John Cetrino for the Globe

Prior to Saturday's Division 1 girls' lacrosse championship game, Wellesley senior Caitlin Chicoski asked her team, "who wants to be a state champion?"

Her teammates let their play answer the question, as the Raiders handed Walpole its first loss of the season in a 7-5 win for the first title in program history.

"I asked them before the game, who wants to be a state champion?" Chicoski said. "We had to want it more than Walpole and I really think we did today."

The anatomy of the win for Wellesley (23-3) began in net, where Anna Hereu made nine saves, and continued on the draw, where Nicole Beckett won nine of her 13 attempts. The Raiders never trailed in a game where the first goal wasn't scored until 16:50 had elapsed in the first half when Grace Ahonen put her team ahead for good.


Chicoski added two more before the half was out for a 3-1 lead at the break. Bridget Noonan's goal 1:14 into the second half for a three-goal Wellesley lead.

The Rebels cut it to one with 7:01 left after Sydney Scales scored twice in a 31-second span to make it 6-5, but could get no closer. Wellesley junior Maddy Balter scooped up a ground ball in her defensive zone with 1:27 left to give the Raiders possession and all but sealed the title with a goal into an empty net with 54.7 seconds remaining.

The win for the Raiders avenged a 13-11 loss to the Rebels back on May 8.

"We looked at it to show how much better we could play," Wellesley senior Phoebe Lawrence said of the rematch. "We watched the film and there were so many mistakes that we made [in the loss]."

The five goals scored for Walpole were a season-low and the loss was its first since last year's Division 2 state championship game, when it lost to Cohasset.


"The way we're able to trust each other and work with each other really contributes to success," Wellesley coach Michelle Cook said. "Teams that are able to have fun on and off the field, that's how you play well on the field."

More photos from the Division 1 girls' lacrosse championship

Caitlin Chicoski, who scored twice for Wellesley, looks for an opening.John Cetrino for the Globe
Madeleine Balter, who sealed Wellesley’s win with a late goal, looks to take a shot.John Cetrino for the Globe
Anna Hereu had nine saves in helping Wellesey upset Walpole.John Cetrino for the Globe
Wellesley players had reason to be all smiles — they are the Division 1 state champions.John Cetrino for the Globe