NEWBURYPORT-- The Manchester Essex girls lacrosse team got some revenge on Tuesday night against Ipswich in the Division 2 North Semifinals.
The Hornets dropped a tight, three goal game in the regular season, which gave Ipswich the Cape Ann League championship. On Tuesday at Newburyport High School, Manchester Essex returned the favor in a tense, back-and-forth, 11-10 victory, knocking off the top seed.
With the win, the fourth-seeded Hornets (15-5) advance to the Division 2 North Finals on Friday back at Newburyport High School against No. 3 Newburyport (5 p.m.). It is a rematch of last year’s sectional final, won by the Clippers. The Tigers finish up the season at 15-4.
“We feel pretty great right now,” Manchester Essex head coach Nan Gorton said. “It was an unbelievable game. Everybody brought their ‘A’ game. We scored when we needed to and the defense was tough.”
The Hornets jumped out to a 3-0 lead and never trailed. Ipswich battled back to tie it late, but a late goal from Drew Charlton with 2:58 to play ended up being the difference.
Tigers head coach Kerri O’Connor said the early deficit ended up being the difference.
“We played well, we just turned it on a little late,” she said. “It was a tough loss and the team really wanted this one. We knew it would be a well played and evenly played game. They just found a few more holes than we did.”
Hornets goalie Bella Pomeroy was also a huge factor in the contest as she made 15 stops, which negated Ipswich’s 2-to-1 advantage on the draw.
“She stood on her head,” Gorton said.
The Tigers went into the half with momentum after Haley O’Connor beat the buzzer to bring them within a goal, 5-4. Manchester Essex, however, got two quick goals from Brigid Edgerton and Emma Cochand in the first two minutes of the second half to take the momentum right back and extend the lead to 7-4.
“We went into the half a little down after the late goal,” Gorton said. “But the message was that we were winning and they had to take it from us. The girls came out strong to start the second and kept us playing from ahead.”
An Abby Lantz goal gave the Hornets a 10-7 lead with 11:42 to go, but the Tigers battled back to tie it up on a goal from Hannah Herron and two more from Haley O’Connor to make it 10-10 with 4:10 to play before Charlton notched the game winner.
“It was a great game and we had a great season,” Kerri O’Connor said. ‘This one game does not define our season and we will be back hungry to be back here next year.”