After coasting to an 18-2 win over South Hadley in the Round of 32, the #4 ranked Whaler girls lacrosse team faced their first dose of adversity Thursday afternoon against the #20 ranked Watertown Red Raiders despite winning the game 14-5 to advance to the state quarterfinals.
Watertown was coming off an 8-5 upset victory over #13 Medway to earn the opportunity to sail over to the island with a state quarterfinal berth on the line. The Whalers built a quick 4-1 lead, and eventually led 7-3 with 5:50 to go in the first half.
But the Red Raiders scored two quick goals in a 28 second span while on the man advantage to make it 7-5 with 4:25 to go in the first half. It was a crucial part of the game that Nantucket head coach Jami Lower said her team needed to embrace.
“I think they just needed to settle down,” Lower said. “I just feel like this team cares so much and there is so much passion and drive where they are so focused on the win that they forget to play if that makes sense. They are so focused on the score and just trying to get the ball to the net that they forget the basic mechanics of passing, being smart, setting plays, things like that. The message was just chill out and play your game because your game is phenomenal. When they do that they’re fine.”
From that point on, the Whalers dominated play and never let Watertown come close to tieing the game – even with junior midfielder Bailey Lower being unavailable for most of the second half after picking up a second yellow card.
Nantucket scored the games final seven goals and Jami said she continues to be impressed with the defense, which was also helped out by goalie Claire Misurelli who made a pair of quality saves at key moments.
“I said it after last game and I’ll say it again but they are really just starting to form that relationship, communication, and knowing where to move the ball and how to move together,” she said. “The way they move ball up the field and stay composed in breakaway situations, I am just impressed with them. They played awesome.”
Bailey led the team with six goals even with an early departure. Emerson Pekarcik was right behind her with five goals. Both players had two assists each as well.
Mayson Lower finished with two goals and two assists. Jami said she felt that Mayson played “the game of her season” on Thursday.
“I couldn’t be happier with the way Mayson played,” Jami said. “She was everywhere. If there was a shot and it wasn’t scored, she scooped it up.”
Jami also said Cydney Mosscrop and Pekarcik impressed her with their ability to keep her teammates calm with Bailey out and serve as leaders of the team.
The Whalers next game will be at home against #5 Manchester Essex, who beat Nantucket in the state semifinal last year 10-6. The date and time of this matchup has not been determined at this time.