Pinkerton went from a nine-win season to state champions, Windham repeated as champs and North Andover rode four freshmen to an appearance in the Division 1 North title game.
It was quite a year for local girls high school lacrosse. And now it is time to hand out some awards ...
Team of the Year: Pinkerton
After going 9-10 and losing in the Division 1 quarterfinals last spring, the Astros went 17-4 and were the Division 1 state champions this year.
Kennedy Daziel had a tremendous season with 74 goals and 40 assists. She scored 13 goals in three playoff games. Her dad, Rob Daziel, was in his second season as Pinkerton’s head coach.
The Astros beat Souhegan 12-10 in the title game, avenging a 8-7 loss to the Sabers earlier in the season.
“We really stuck to the same game plan because we really didn’t have to change anything,” Kennedy said after the title game. “We knew we could do it. We knew if we kept up our intensity and played together that we could beat this team and we did.”
Daziel’s 114 points is a new program single-season record. Her 74 goals also is a new program single-season record. She broke the goal record previously held by her sister Riann who scored 73 goals last year.
Dominance Award: Windham
Windham repeated as Division 3 champs and should make another title run next year as underclassmen accounted for all 21 goals that the Jaguars scored in the title game this year.
Windham was 18-2 this year after posting an 18-0 record last year.
The only two losses Windham had this spring were to Division 1 champion Pinkerton and Division 2 champ Portsmouth.
Windham will move up to Division 2 next season.
Most Improved Team: Methuen
Methuen went 2-10 last year in its inaugural varsity season. This year was a much different story. The Rangers went 14-6.
Abby Galloway-Burke led Methuen with 101 goals and 19 assists while Ashley Horan added 72 goals and 10 assists. Aryanna Poirier had 52 goals and two assists. Kristi Coutu added 32 goals and seven assists.
Unsung Offensive Player: Merissa Milano
The North Reading junior quietly scored 51 goals and added eight assists. She played center and attack wing and is able to shoot with both her left and right hand.
Unsung Defensive Player: Molly Dufresne
The Timberlane senior midfield/defensive player did a fine job this year and will play at Wentworth next spring. She earned the team MVP award and also the Athletic Directors Award at the Senior Athletic Banquet.
Most Improved Player: Abby Galloway-Burke
The Methuen senior poured in 101 goals and added 19 assists after netting 27 goals last year.
Rookie of the Year: Lauren Hiller
The North Andover freshman goalie had a remarkable year, including stopping 18 shots in a 9-7 win over Framingham in the Division 1 North semifinal.
Hiller, and three other freshmen starters, helped the Scarlet Knights to a 18-6 record.
“She (Hiller) is the best goalie I’ve ever played with,” North Andover senior Audrey Samuelman said after the Division 1 North. “And the fact that she’s a freshman, and she’s this awesome, it’s crazy. I think it’s awesome year in, year out we have more talent coming through. And it really starts with our youth program. So many younger girls are starting to play.”
Best Regular Season Game: Kristy Robertson
Haverhill’s Kristy Robertson netted nine goals, including one in the first overtime and then the winner in a sudden-death third OT to lift the Hillies 17-16 over Pentucket on May 16.
Robertson helped Haverhill come back from a four-goal deficit with 2 minutes left in regulation.
The senior finished her career with more than 200 goals and was this year’s MVC Division 2 MVP.
The victory was sweet revenge for the Hillies after losing 21-8 to Pentucket earlier this year.
Best Playoff Game: Melissa Cino
Windham’s Melissa Cino recorded 11 points (4 goals, 7 assists) in the Division 3 title game to lead the Jaguars 21-12 over Lebanon. Cino scored nine goals and added 11 assists in three postseason games.
Most Inspirational: Colleen Slein
Senior Colleen Slein is one of the players who has helped the Central Catholic program turn into a successful one.
Slein, a tri-captain, will be attending school at the Air Force Academy. She will leave for Colorado later this month.
Central junior Kelly Daigle said about Slein: “She is one of the best captains I’ve ever had on any of the teams I’ve been on.”
Best Game: Pinkerton over Londonderry
Pinkerton won 8-7 over rival Londonderry — Astros head coach Rob Daziel’s alma mater — in the Division 1 semifinals after losing to the Lancers 11-6 during the regular season. Sarah Ford had seven saves for the Astros while Kennedy Daziel added four goals.
1. Pinkerton 17-4
2. Windham 18-2
3. North Andover 18-6
4. Londonderry 13-6
5. Brooks 9-3-1
Honorable mention: Phillips 10-5-1, Methuen 14-6, Andover 9-9-2