Bridgeman leads Knight girls over Spaulding


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by Joshua Spaulding
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Sports Editor - Granite State News, Carroll County Independent, Meredith News, Gilford Steamer, Littleton Courier, Winnisquam Echo, Plymouth Record-Enterprise, Newfound Landing and Baysider

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MARIA HENDRICKSON makes a save during her team's win over Spaulding on April 13. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
April 20, 2015
WOLFEBORO — The Kingswood girls' lacrosse team had a great arrival to Division II on Monday, April 13.

Hosting their first game in the division in a number of years, the Knights rode the scoring prowess of Haley Bridgeman to a 16-2 win over Spaulding on the turf of Alumni Field.

"They worked together, they did a good job," coach Ali Cushing stated. "Though there were definitely some things to work on.

"But for our first time in Division II in eight or nine years, it was definitely a nice way to start," the veteran Kingswood coach continued.

Kingswood, more specifically, Bridgeman, controlled the game from the outset, as the Knight sophomore scored the team's first four goals, including two in the first five minutes. Keeper Maria Hendrickson was flawless in the first half, not allowing a single ball to go by and the Knights were well in control at the break 13-0.

After an early bid from Abby Dubel, Bridgeman got the scoring going with 23:38 to play in the first, taking the ball down the left side of the field and cutting toward the net before firing it home.

After Hendrickson made a save at the other end for Kingswood, Bridgeman essentially repeated her motion, scoring another goal after bringing the ball down the left side, putting Kingswood up 2-0 with 21:09 to play in the half.

After a bid from Cassidy Ridings was stopped by the Raider defense, Bridgeman came from behind the goal, worked her way in front and fired the ball in for a 3-0 lead with 5:14 gone in the game.

Ridings had another bid stopped and Abbi Morrissey and Emily Skelley just missed connecting on a bid, but Bridgeman took a nice pass from behind the net from Skelley and buried it for her fourth goal with 17:28 to go in the first half, stretching Kingswood's lead to 4-0.

Less than 15 seconds later, the Knights pushed the lead to 5-0 as Morrissey took the ball in right off the faceoff and buried it in the net.

Less than 30 second s after that, Ridings got her first of the season to push the lead to 6-0. Morrissey turned in a solid defensive play at the other end of the field and the Knights battled right back down the turf, with Megan Lapar putting the ball home from beside the net for a 7-0 lead with 13:50 to go in the first half.

Ridings pushed the lead to 8-0 with her second goal just more than a minute later and Skelley and Lapar just missed connecting on another scoring bid as well. Hendrickson had a nice save in the Kingswood net and Bridgeman and Ridings were denied in the offensive zone, but Kingswood wasn't done.

With 8:26 to go in the half, Skelley found Dubel and she bounced the ball past the Spaulding goalie and in for a 9-0 lead.

The teams exchanged free shots, with Hendrickson coming up with a big save at one end and the Spaulding keeper denying freshman Sophia Marshall at the other end.

Kingswood was able to continue the scoring with 5:38 to go in the half, as Lapar found Bridgeman, who went top shelf for the 10-0 lead.

Dubel came back with a couple more bids and on her second one, the rebound came out to Morrissey, who buried the show with 3:33 to go in the half for an 11-0 lead.

Bridgeman netted her sixth goal of the game with 2:05 to go on a free shot, going top shelf for the 12-0 lead and Ridings added the final goal of the half on a feed from Morrissey to make it a 13-0 lead at the halftime break.

Julia Coughlin took over in net for Kingswood in the second half and saw a few early shots. Marshall, Morrissey and Ridings all had good looks for the Knights, but they were denied by strong saves from the Spaulding keeper.

With 18:48 to go in the game, Spaulding got its first goal to cut the lead to 13-1, but Kingswood came right back and just more than two minutes later, after Coughlin made a save in the Kingswood net, Dubel made a nice feed from behind the net to Morrissey, who fired the ball home for the 14-1 lead.

Ridings and Bridgeman continued the offensive pressure, while Liz McLaughlin provided solid defense in front of Coughlin, who also turned away a couple of scoring bids from the Raiders. With 9:54 to go Spaulding put back a rebound after a Coughlin save to make it 14-2.

Bridgeman made a couple of runs into the zone but was denied both times. However, the third time was the charm, as she carried from behind the net and got in front before firing it home for a 15-2 lead with 6:38 to go in the game.

Dubel rounded out the scoring on a free shot with a tick over two minutes remaining in the game for the 16-2 final.

Bridgeman finished with seven goals, while Ridings and Dubel each chipped in with three and Morrissey added two.

Cushing noted the big halftime lead allowed her to do some extra things to get some early season looks in.

"It was nice to get in the people who don't have as much varsity experience yet," Cushing said. "And it gave us time to focus on the little things.

"It's confidence building and comfort level for the people who don't have that varsity experience," she continued.

"The next two games are going to be rugged, we know that," she said, pointing to Winnacunnet and Portsmouth.

The Knights dropped a 10-7 decision to Winnacunnet on Thursday, April 16.

They will be in action on Wednesday, April 29, when they head to Rochester for a rematch with Spaulding at 4 p.m.

Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 569-3126 or sportsgsn@salmonpress.com.

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