STONEHAM — On Thursday, a strong second half by Tewksbury almost forced Methuen to let one slip away. Then on Saturday morning, Stoneham's strong second half forced the Redmen to actually let one slip away.
The Tewksbury Memorial High School Girls' Lacrosse team were defeated by both Methuen, 13-10, and Stoneham, 12-11, in overtime, this past week, which puts the team's overall record at 4-13.
After starting out with a 3-2 record, Tewksbury has struggled, losing 11 of its last 12 games, but these two were much closer than some of the previous games.
In the loss to Stoneham, Tewksbury had built a 9-3 lead but were outscored 9-2 during the last handful of minutes coming against a depleted Redmen roster.
"We started off strong in this game," said head coach Erin Murphy. "We were quick on transitions and were able to net a solid lead early on ending the first half 7-3. Stoneham was able to make some adjustments and battle back.
“The first time we played them it was the same kind of grind. The game ended in a tie and Stoneham was able to score first. Numbers were against us today. I was down four subs, with two due to injury. Stoneham only has one team (in its program) and its a big one.
“The substitutes that we did have played well for us. Junior Morgan Woodman played big minutes and added to our offense with both a goal and assist. Seniors Sara Staskywicz and Briana Walker played solid defense a well."
Tewksbury's offense did dominate early on as Lexi Polimeno had four of the team's first seven goals and her sister Kati had two and the Redmen were up 7-2.
The teams exchanged two goals each as Woodman and Maeve Cahill found the back of the net making it 9-3. Erin McIntrye scored her second of the game to make it 10-5 and then Stoneham poured it on with seven of the game's next eight goals, including one in overtime, to come away with the win.
Haley Mignon had the other goal and goalie Michelle Kusmaul made 13 saves.
In the loss to Methuen, Tewksbury was down 11-1 at halftime.
"We had dug ourselves a big hole but I was still optimistic we could turn things around," said Murphy. "I told the girls during halftime if they could score eleven goals in a half so could we. We made some adjustments in positioning and things started clicking."
Indeed the adjustments worked as Tewksbury went on a 7-0 run to open the second half, but despite the comeback, the Redmen were still behind the eight ball.
"In that time we had accumulated two yellow cards and two in the first half," said Murphy. "The calls weren't in our favor that day in a very big way. We had to play the final fifteen minutes a player down. I was able to call a time out and explain to the girls the reality of our situation and that I needed them to play aggressive; aggressive but clean and smart. We had no room for mistakes defensively.
“I have never seen the girls fight so hard. They were able to stop the Methuen transition many times and made quick and accurate transitions down the field making it hard for our opponent to stop us."
While the offense came storming back, Kusmaul kept the team in it with a number of great stops.
"Michelle also had a great second half allowing us to hold Methuen to only three goals in that half," said Murphy. "Unfortunately we ended on the losing end, but I was still proud of our ability to outscore Methuen in the second half despite our man down disadvantage. Had we played a better first half, I believe that game would have been ours."
Lexi Polimeno led the way with four goals, while Kati had three. Erin and Lauren McIntrye, as well as Cahill had one each, while Kusmaul made 12 saves.
Tewksbury faced Dracut on Tuesday and Wakefield on Wednesday with results not known as of presstime and then have Burlington next Wednesday, which will conclude the team's season.
"We look to our last three games against Dracut, Wakefield and Burlington all games I believe will be good competitions for us as we beat Wakefield once before and only fell to Dracut by one goal,” said Murphy.