ANNA FREDRICKSON races the ball up the field during opening action against Oyster River on April 12. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
April 16, 2012WOLFEBORO — Oyster River had plenty of chances to take control in opening girls' lacrosse action on Thursday, April 12, against Kingswood.
However, every time the Bobcats made a move, the Knights had an answer and were able to walk off with a 13-8 victory.
"They had the first one, but we answered right away," coach Ali Cushing said. "We didn't get down on ourselves."
Kellie Lander got the start in net for the Kingswood girls and made a couple of early saves, as the Bobcats looked to get on the board. However, the Knights also had chances, as Laura Blocher, Molly Gwizdala and Jessie Jones had good looks in the offensive zone.
However, it was the Bobcats who got on the board first, scoring about six minutes in for a 1-0 lead.
The Knights didn't wait long to even the score, however, as Rachel Lapar took the ensuing faceoff down the field and deposited it in the net to tie the game at one.
Just a few minutes later, Jones fired the ball from behind the net to Gwizdala, who immediately buried it in the net for a 2-1 lead for the Knights.
Oyster River came back and tied the game just a few minutes later, but Kingswood again didn't let the visitors seize control, as Anna Fredrickson picked off an Oyster River pass and found Jones near the net and she fired it into the to give the Knights a 3-2 lead.
Jones scored again a few minutes later for a 4-2 lead and Lapar fired home another a couple minutes later for a 5-2 lead for the Knights.
Kate McKenzie and Gwizdala continued the pressure for the Knights and the pressure paid off, as Erinn Vittum fired the ball forward to Sarah Lovering, who found Allie Vontz, who in turn placed the ball in the net for a 6-2 lead with 8:39 to go in the first half.
Gwizdala, Jones, Vittum and Lapar all had chances as the Knights continued to control the offensive play and it was Lovering who scored the half's final tally, scoring on a free shot with a minute and a half to go to give Kingswood a 7-2 lead at the halftime break.
Sadie Meyer took over in goal for the Knights in the second half and the Bobcats tested her right away, putting in two goals in the first couple of minutes to cut the lead to 7-4.
However, Vontz took the ball down the field and put it in the net to get the Knights back on the scoreboard at 8-4.
Kingswood kept fighting, with Jones, Micaela Flagg and Gwizdala getting looks in the offensive end, while Kelly Wood turned in a solid defensive effort at the other end.
The Knights capitalized on the pressure on an indirect shot, as Lovering found Vontz, who put the ball home for a 9-4 lead.
Three minutes later, Flagg fed Gwizdala to up the lead to 10-4. Meyer then made a number of big saves for the Knights to preserve the six-goal lead.
Oyster River, however, rallied to score the next three goals of the game, cutting the lead to 10-7.
Kingswood didn't back down, as Lapar and Lovering added goals minutes apart to put the lead back to 12-7 and Blocher fired a shot home for a 13-7 lead. The Bobcats scored with 20 seconds left on the clock to close out the scoring.
"As far as the defense went, we started OK," Cushing said. "Our sliding and doubling was better than where we started from the in previous years."
She noted that the defenders and midfielders did a good job of covering and doubling as needed. Cushing credited that to the many returning players on the field.
"They've all been part of the varsity experience, so there was no initiation," the Knight coach said. "We worked great, it was a good team effort."
She praised Lapar and Gwizdala for their strong work in the midfield, which helped open up the rest of the field for everyone else.
The Knights will be in action today, April 19, at 4 p.m. against Laconia. On Monday, April 30, the girls visit Hopkinton for a 4 p.m. game.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at email@example.com or 569-3126