Hopkinton girls’ lacrosse rallies in D-III final, but falls to Derryfield

  • Hopkinton's Katie Brown (center, 13) celebrates with Annie Higginbotham (left, 32) while Sarah Chodosh (right, 4) leaps in the air after Brown scored the game-tying goal with 3:58 left in Tuesday's Division III girls' lacrosse championship game against Derryfield, which came back to claim a 12-11 win. JEFF SULLIVAN—SullivanEventPhotography.com

  • Hopkinton's Rose Finlayson looks for an opening against Derryfeild during Tuesday's Division III girls' lacrosse championship game in Laconia. Finlayson scored two goals, but Derryfield won, 12-11. JEFF SULLIVAN—SullivanEventPhotography.com

  • Hopkinton's Hannah Hoyt shoots and scores during Tuesday's Division III girls' lacrosse championship game against Derryfield. Hoyt scored three goals and was part of Hopkinton's comeback, but Derryfield scored with 1:31 left to pull out a 12-11 win. JEFF SULLIVAN—SullivanEventPhotography.com

Monitor staff
Published: 6/9/2021 10:30:31 AM

Hopkinton and Derryfield had to wait two years for their championship rematch, so an hour-long storm delay during the game itself wasn’t going to dampen their spirits. 

Hopkinton was in the middle of a comeback and trailed by just a goal in Tuesday’s Division III girls’ lacrosse final when lightning suspended the action with 4:21 left on the clock. The delay didn’t halt the Hawks’ rally, and freshman Katie Brown scored the game-tying goal just 23 seconds after play resumed. But Derryfield wouldn’t be denied, and the Cougars scored the game winner with 1:31 to play to pull out a 12-11 win.

The Hawks, which won the 2019 D-III title with the same 12-11 score, was down at halftime on Tuesday, 8-6, and trailed, 11-7, with 15:12 remaining in the game before staging their comeback.

“The second half was a good game,” Hopkinton head coach Mike Zahn said. “The first half we just weren’t ourselves. We were too nervous, too stressed out. The second half was a much better game. With the storm delay, I don't think it pulled any momentum from us. The girls were ready, but there has to be one winner and Derryfield is a good team. They’ve been wanting this for two years and it happened to be (Derryfield) this year.”

Brown scored two of her team-high five goals in the first eight minutes of the championship to give the Hawks early 1-0 and 2-1 leads. Derryfield senior Lucy Licata answered by scoring five of her game-high six goals in the first half to help the Cougars build an 8-5 cushion with 3:11 left in the half. The Hawks cut it to 8-6 less than two minutes before halftime on Brown’s fourth goal of the game, but Derryfield still had momentum.

“Obviously (Derryfield is) very well-coached,” Zahn said. “Our game plan was to shut down Lucy (Licata) as much as we could. If we could keep it out of her hands, and (junior Casey Benson) their main assists player, we’d be better off, which we did a lot better in the second half. First half, not so much. You’ve got to give it to those players. Every time Derryfield gets the ball, those two run their offense.”

Benson (two goals) and Abbey Carr (four goals), who scored the game-winner, netted a pair of goals just 23 seconds apart about six minutes into the second half to up Derryfield’s lead to 10-6. Hopkinton freshman Hannah Hoyt (three goals) responded with a goal four minutes later, but Licata immediately countered to make it 11-7 and force Zahn to call a timeout with 15:12 on the clock.

“In that timeout, it was all about high pressure,” Zahn said. “And it worked. (Derryfield) started coughing up the ball. … We did a really good job keeping the ball as long as we could, the longer it’s out of their hands, the better it is for us.”

Hoyt, sophomore Rose Finlayson (two goals) and junior Annie Higginbotham scored goals down the stretch to cut the deficit to 11-10 before the delay, and they could have scored a lot more had it not been for several fantastic saves from Derryfield goalie Shawna Lesmerises (14 saves).

Hopkinton’s Ana Miller finished with five saves.

“One of the things (for the girls to remember) is that we got to experience this,” said Zahn, highlighting that the Hawks were also finalists in 2018, giving them championship appearances in three out of the last four years. “That’s a good run. I’m happy for them to have made it this far. I think we’ll be back next year. We’ve got a very strong freshman class with a couple of young players coming up from eighth grade, so hopefully we return (to the championship) next year.”

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