It had been nine days since the Nantucket girls lacrosse team played a game and through the first seven minutes of their Round of 32 matchup against #29 South Hadley, the #4 Whalers looked a bit rusty.
But after a timeout, the Whalers exploded for 12 first half goals in 18 minutes to build an insurmountable lead before ultimately sinking South Hadley 18-2 to advance to the MIAA Div. 4 Sweet 16.
“I think nine days without a game is tricky,” head coach Jami Lower said. “Cape lacrosse doesn’t tend to be as physical, and this game was in the realm of play and the played within the rules but definitely an off-Cape team that just has much more physicality. I think it rattled them in the beginning but once they adjusted to it when I explained (South Hadley) is allowed to play like that, we picked it up. That is where those games against teams like Norwell, Lexington, Wayland earlier in the year really helped us prepare for this physicality.”
Bailey Lower scored four of Nantucket’s first five goals and finished the day with eight goals and an assist. She also eclipsed the 100-goal mark for the year.
Cydney Mosscrop (six goals and two assists) and Emerson Pekarcik (three goals and one assist) also had their fingerprints all over this convincing round one victory.
“Once all three of them realized they were being face guarded, that is a whole level of frustration in of itself,” Jami Lower said. “So you got to manage that and then they were eventually able to break free of it and set plays up.”
The defense, which came into the year as young and relatively inexperienced, continues to impress and give the Whalers quality play game in and game out. Jami Lower said she was happy with their play as well as goalie Claire Misurelli, who saved five shots.
“I just think they continue to gain momentum as they go through the season,” Jami Lower said. “The communication skills are great, and they just really trust each other. I thought the defense as a whole looked great. I thought the groundballs looked good on the defensive end. As a defensive unit, we are working to apply more pressure. We started to do that today.”
Jami Lower added that she was impressed with the offense’s ride, in particular from Mosscrop and sophomore Suz Peraner.
“They really chipped in and played well. I was happy with that too,” Jami Lower said.
The Whalers next game will be a home game against #20 Watertown, who upset #13 Medway in the Round of 32 by a score of 8-5. No date or time has been made official by the Nantucket Athletic Department, however the MIAA has tentatively scheduled it for Thursday, June 8 at 4 p.m.