By Joe Mitchell
The Lynnfield High School girls’ lacrosse team is dead even after four games, with a 2-2 record after splitting two more last week. The Pioneers lost a close encounter to Manchester Essex, 8-6, before beating Triton, 15-9.
In a game that was their toughest test of the young season, the Pioneers fell just short to the Hornets. But then they put on an amazing show, proving they can play with the best on the North Shore, when they took care of the Vikings in rather convincing fashion.
The game against Manchester Essex was nip-and-tuck throughout, with neither team having more than a goal lead until there was less than two minutes left on the clock. Lynnfield led at halftime, 4-3. But then the Hornets tied it at four early on in the second. However, the Lynnfield girls regained the lead before the Hornets went on a roll. The Pioneers responded with another one of its own to eventually tie it with just over five minutes to play in the game. But Manchester Essex netted the next two to seal the deal.
The Lynnfield defense was exceptional, making life tough on the visitors throughout the entire game. But they had trouble with draws. The visiting Hornets were able to win 14 of them to just two for the Pioneers.
“Having that much of a disparity in draws and playing an extremely talented team as close as we did speaks volumes to our overall performance,” said coach Ethan Blanchette. “Defenders Hannah Filipe, Sophia Ellis, Brianna Barrett and Mac Schena played fantastic, while freshman goalkeeper Grace Magno made six saves. It was the best game of her young varsity career.”
Junior Sophia Ellis led the team as an all-around performer with four groundballs and three forced turnovers, while classmates Ashley Barrett and Olivia Sarni scored four and two goals, respectively, to help pace the offensive attack.
The Lynnfield girls quickly put this frustrating loss behind them to pound Triton, and this game belonged to Lynnfield senior Liv Smyrnios, who scored five of the first seven goals to help her teammates take a commanding 7-0 lead with just 18 minutes gone in the game. The last of the goals was No. 100th in her extraordinary scholastic varsity career – only the fourth player to do so in the program’s eight-year history.
Lynnfield was ahead at halftime, 7-2. For the most part, both teams traded second-half goals. Smyrnios scored six more times and also led the team with eight draws, while Gracie Sperling was next in line with five.
Hannah Filipe and Olivia Sarni each scooped up four groundballs to lead the team in that department, while Sarni also netted four goals. Ellis forced a team-high three turnovers to go along with three groundballs. First-year varsity player Shannon Pierce ended up with the same number of groundballs.