NORTH ANDOVER — Although the Scarlet Knights’ girls lacrosse squad looked slick while winning last night’s Division 1 North semifinal, the word out of North Andover wasn’t grease — it was a synonym for atonement.
“We want redemption,” senior captain Erin Kelley said after helping North Andover to an easy 17-10 victory over Masconomet, sending the young squad to its second consecutive North finals. “We are so ready for this. We are not going to lose that game.”
That game would be the North final, the same round the Knights’ season ended last year in a six-goal loss to Westford Academy. Top-seeded North Andover (20-1-1) will find out this year’s foe after today’s matchup between No. 2 Andover and No. 3 Winchester.
“It’s going to be a tough opponent in the North,” coach Meredith Prior said after her squad won its 12th straight. “Although we’ve played Andover twice and beaten them (by a combined 18-11), it doesn’t mean anything.”
When asked if she thought atonement would be the motivation in Thursday’s championship at a site to be determined, Prior agreed with her captain. “It’s way different this year,” Prior said. “It’s a completely different team. It’s very young, and we’re a very fast team. They have very high lacrosse IQ ... We just talked about redemption. We want to win the North and then see someone from the south (in the Eastern Mass title match).”
North Andover’s speed and balance was evident yesterday. After twice spotting fourth-seeded Masconomet early one-goal leads, the Knights took command, scoring three straight en route to a 7-2 run that opened up an 8-4 lead late in the opening half.
“We get kind of tentative on defense to start (games) off with,” Kelley said. “We have two defenses that we run, and we’re more comfortable with one than the other ... But once we get through the first five minutes, we get more comfortable with each other. That’s when it really turns out well for us.”