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Joyce Endee

Lacrosse girls beat Laconia for first varsity win



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The Gilford High School girls’ lacrosse team celebrates after the buzzer sounded in the team’s first win as a varsity program against Laconia on May 19. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
May 23, 2011
GILFORD – With year two of the varsity girls' lacrosse program winding down at Gilford High School last week, the Golden Eagles kept closing in on the one goal that had thus far eluded them: a win.

Until now.

The Eagles stormed out to a 5-1 lead and held on in a defensive-dominated second half to earn the first win in school history as a varsity program on May 19, defeating Laconia High School, 13-10, at Gilford Meadows.

"It's just really exciting," said senior Caitlyn Cennamo after the win. "It's my senior year and I just really wanted to go out with a win before it was over. We all had a great game today and it's something we've been waiting to happen for a long time."

After failing to record a win in the team's first season as a varsity program last year, Eagles coach Jillian Egan saw her side slowly climbing towards success as this spring unfolded.

"The team wanted this and bottom line, they were ready for a win," Egan said. "They deserved it and it's a great thing for our program to finally get off that winless streak and be able to talk about a win."

While Laconia struck first just 22 seconds into the first half, Gilford responded in a big way. Hannah Vachon and Gabi Defregger scored back-to-back goals to give the Eagles a 2-1 lead and Cennamo went on a three-goal spurt by herself, aggressively getting to the net on all three occasions and burying shots from close range to put the home team up 5-1 with 13:43 left in the first half.

"I was really into it today," Cennamo explained. "I was able to score some goals and then everyone else on the team did what they needed to do to finish off the win."

The rest of the half featured a barrage of goals, as the teams went back and forth with tallies coming fast and furious. Vachon, Cennamo, Amanda Marando and Kenzie Keefe all found the back of the net before intermission, and Gilford took an 11-7 lead into the half.

It was a much different first period for the Eagles than the last time they met Laconia on April 19, when the Sachems led 7-1 at halftime en route to a convincing 11-5 victory.

"I think we took ourselves out of the game mentally last time we played them," Egan said. "But everyone's been positive and they've stayed together so we've built on that all year. The team's spirit is what brought us to this point and you've got to give the girls credit for staying with it all season."

Cennamo has also seen the improvement her team has displayed since the first Laconia game in April.

"That was one of our earlier games so we were still coming together as a team at that point," she said. "But I think this game showed what we're capable of and what kind of team we can be when we play well."

After combining for 18 goals in the first half, scoring was at a premium in the second, as Laconia outscored Gilford, 3-2, in the final 25 minutes. Vachon finished off the hat trick just 12 seconds into half number two to give Gilford a 12-7 lead and Cennamo scored her seventh goal of the afternoon on a restart with 11:07 remaining to cap the Eagle scoring at 13-9.

Laconia cut into the lead with 6:57 left but neither team managed a tally the rest of the way, as the Gilford defense led by Carson Quigley did an outstanding job of intercepting passes and scooping up ground balls. Quigley was a presence all day in the middle of the defense, and goalie Lindsey Hanson turned back 11 shots in net to earn the win.

"Carson is definitely the rock back there," Egan explained. "I had her down for at least four pass interceptions and she really just makes us go defensively."

The win put Gilford at 1-10 on the season, and the 13 goals were a season-high, bettering the previous mark of 12 against Kingswood on May 12.

Martin Lord Osman
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