Less than three weeks ago, the Bedford High School girls’ lacrosse team finished the regular season with a lackluster 15-5 loss to Dual County League rival Wayland.
And when the Warriors jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first four minutes in Friday night’s MIAA state Division 3 semifinals, some of their players and fans may have thought, “Here we go again.”
But in a storybook comeback, the Buccaneers outscored Wayland 12-4 over the next 38 minutes, then killed several minutes after crucial draw controls to emerge with a satisfying 13-8 victory and a place in history—only the second BHS team sport to qualify for the state finals.
The Buccaneers will meet Notre Dame Academy of Hingham, the top-ranked team in Division 2 all season, at Babson College in Wellesley at 5 pm on Monday, June 20.
“We felt we had something to prove,” said second-year Head Coach Nikki Lespasio. The players knew after that first match “that was not even remotely who they are. We felt we needed to prove we were better than that.”
She wasn’t worried even after the early 2-0 deficit. “Sometimes they like to pull themselves out of holes,” she cracked.
Allie Zorn and Sophie Morrissey made it 2-2 off free shots. The Bucs and Warriors then alternated scores. Bedford began taking control of the game in the last four minutes of the first half when the Bucs broke the 4-4 tie with three unanswered goals. The last one, by Abby Morrissey, followed a Warrior turnover deep in Wayland territory with 22.5 seconds showing on the clock.
Charlotte Dreyfus, the sophomore goalie, made a key save as time expired, one of several she registered, especially in the first half “Charlotte had the game of her career,” Lespasio declared after the win. “She kept her composure and saved our butts.
Trailing 7-4, Wayland scored less than a minute into the second half. But Sophie Morrissey responded with the equalizer a minute later. Wayland made it 8-6 with a lot of time remaining – 17.5 minutes.
But the next time the Warriors got one past Dreyfus, they trailed 12-6 with less than eight minutes to play, reeling after a Bedford offensive outburst.
Just past the midpoint of the half, the Bucs opened it up with two scores within one minute, Zorn on a free shot, then Sophie Morrissey, finishing a downfield rush off a Bedford draw control.
Wayland called a time-out, but Bedford won the subsequent draw and killed almost two minutes. The Warriors, realizing that the clock was the Bucs’ ally, extended the defensive pressure around the perimeter. But the Bucs were skilled and patient, executing successful passes and eventually finding clear lanes to the net. First Zorn took a pass and drove the ball home at close range with nine minutes remaining. Then after another draw control, Shannon Young made the score 12-6.
The Warriors scored 30 seconds later after winning the midfield draw, but Bedford controlled most of the rest of the action, electing to pass even on a couple of free shots on Wayland violations to run more time.
“I’m so incredibly proud of everyone,” Lespasio said, not only the players on the field but the help they received from the reserves on the bench. “Every one of them showed up today.”
Zorn finished with four goals, Abby and Sophie Morrissey three each, Gaby Zovko two, and Young one.
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at email@example.com, or 781-983-1763