Division 1 Central/West girls lacrosse: Megan McCarthy, Northampton moves past Doherty in first round

By ADAM HARGRAVES

@Hargraves24

Published: 05-31-2017 12:22 PM

NORTHAMPTON — On her last day of school at Northampton, Megan McCarthy began her final playoff run for the Blue Devils lacrosse team.

“It does feel different knowing this is the last time representing the school and the town I have been in all my life,” McCarthy said. “It was important to end with a win in our hometown.”

That last playoff run started with an unknown opponent as eighth-seeded Northampton opened the Division 1 Central/West Tournament with No. 9 Doherty (Worcester) Tuesday at Smith College.

After a slow start, the Blue Devils beat the Highlanders, 16-7, to advance to the quarterfinals.

“If we come to play our game we have no problem with whoever we play,” Northampton coach Katie Carr said. “So it’s not a big deal to come in blind.”

The combination of junior Abigail Baldwin (six goals, two assists) and McCarthy (six goals, three assists) overwhelmed Doherty as the game progressed.

For McCarthy, that’s nine more points in a career (210 goals, 82 assists) that will continue at Division 1 Bryant in the fall.

“The girls I have played with since fourth grade are still behind me,” McCarthy said. “Having those strong connections with everyone on the team has made the last four years fun and exciting.”

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The season continues for Northampton (13-6), which advances to play at top-seeded Westborough (16-0) in the quarterfinals.

“We will have to be patient on offense,” Baldwin said of Westborough. “Wait for the best opportunity to score. We have to keep our composure.”

A goal by Baldwin on a free position shot gave Northampton an 8-5 lead going into halftime. In the second half, the offense began to flow more for the Blue Devils.

“In the beginning we were shaky,” Baldwin said. “We weren’t sliding on defense and we weren’t making the best passes.”

Northampton pulled away after halftime, outscoring the Highlanders 8-2.

“We started to find the open cutters and execute our passes,” Baldwin said.

Baldwin scored to start the second half and give Hamp a 9-5 lead.

Following Baldwin’s goal Matti Tacy (two assists) drew the defense before finding Alli Zadworny (two goals), who had the goalie out of position to make it 10-5.

Emily Steen (six goals) proved difficult to stop for the Northampton defense. She scored two straight late that brought the Highlanders to within 11-7 with 11 minutes, 15 seconds left in the game.

“We weren’t playing our game,” Carr said. “We were playing to their level and their type of game. We were hurrying when we didn’t need to and out defense wasn’t our strongest.”

After a timeout Northampton found the net five straight times to close the scoring.

Hazel Ethier and Hannah Sledzieski (two assists) scored late goals to help put the game out of reach.

Michelle Radke made four saves in net for the Blue Devils.

The Blue Devils were missing a key piece of their defense in Tieyin Doherty-Weinraub, who had swelling in her right knee.

“The plan is for her to play,” Carr said of the quarterfinals.

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