BURLINGTON — Regardless of how they fared in their season finale on the road against Burlington last Wednesday afternoon, the season had to be considered a success for the Tewksbury High Girls Lacrosse team. They entered the game having already won five games on the season after just winning three all of last season, so win or lose the Redmen would be able to hold their heads up high as they headed into the off season.
The Redmen, however, were not going to be content with just going through the motions in their season finale, as instead they put together a great team effort and came away with a 16-11 win over their non-league rivals to finish the season with a 6-13 record, a remarkable turnaround from last year's 3-16 record.
"It was great to win our final game," Tewksbury coach Erin Murphy said. "Despite being an away game we had a lot of our friends and families attend the game and it was nice to get a win for them. The girls worked tremendously well together."
The Redmen were led on offense by four goals from senior midfielder Haley Mignon, as well as three goals each from sophomore midfielder Erin McIntyre and freshman midfielder Kati Polimeno. Senior attack Lauren McIntyre added two goals of her own, as did sophomore midfielder Lexi Polimeno, while sophomore attacks Susanna Darrigo and Alexis Raymond had one goal apiece.
Freshman goalie Michelle Kusmaul made 12 saves in net to earn the victory.
The Redmen also go outstanding efforts on defense from On defense we had good performances from seniors Samira El Hakim and Sara Staskywicz, along with junior Molly O’Neill.
"These girls are good at putting pressure on the ball and forcing turnovers," Murphy said. "Overall this was a great win with contributions from everyone on the team. "
Offensively the Redmen were forced to improvise a little from their normal offensive scheme, but they did so very effectively while putting up 16 goals.
Burlington had an aggressive zone backer defense that prohibited a lot of our normal drive to goal opportunities," Murphy said. "We now had to rely on our stick skill. Erin, Lexi and Haley were big in that regard. Erin has some of the best stick skill on the team and was able to find our girls open in front of the net. Haley used her incredible speed to transition the ball down and either score or wait for her team to create opportunities."
With the season now in the rear view mirror, Murphy was able to look back on a very enjoyable season for her team.
"I'm very pleased with the season as a whole. We were able to improve one hundred percent on last year's record going from three to six wins," Murphy said. "From what I remember we have never really won more than eight or so games so I'm pleased with six in my first season. The MVC is a tough conference. We play some of the best teams in the area. I want to continue to work with our youth program to help build the skill of the team and compete with these teams."
Murphy is also looking ahead to next season. While the Redmen do lose nine seniors there is a talented core of young players returning to the fold which should allow the Redmen to continue improving for several years to come.
Among the seniors the Redmen will be losing are midfielder HaleyMignon, who was a second team All-MVC selection, along with attack Lauren McIntyre.
"Haley just makes things happen on the field. Going into the season I told her she would be transitioning to midfield and she embraced it head on. She is quick off the draw, amazingly fast and has a strong athletic mind. She will be dearly missed," Murphy said. "Lauren has been a contributing member of the varsity team for four years. She loves lacrosse and always gives me her all. She will be playing at Worcester State next year.
Samira El Hakim will also be playing at Fitchburg State. I’m proud to have these girls representing our program. "
Defensively the Redmen will need some work next year., as they will be losing not only El Hakim, but also Jess Potito, Julia Masotta and Sara Staskywicz, Briana Walker, Hannah Knoops, and Halle Carcofi.
"I’ve watched all these players develop the last four years and our program will miss them," Murphy said.
There is plenty of reason for optimism, however, as the Redmen will return current juniors Molly O’Neill and Morgan Woodman along with current sophomores Lexi Polimeno, who was also a second team All-MVC selection, and Erin McIntyre.
"All four of these girls love the sport and play in the off season and am hoping they will help get the girls playing off season," Murphy said. "While our junior class is small our current sophomore class has many strong promising athletes. I have learned a lot this year as a head coach and am excited about new implementing new workouts and skills in practices. "