Despite the fact that the Newburyport girls lacrosse team has scored 149 goals this season, coach Catherine Batchelder understands a good offense can only take a team so far.
“We’re 8-4 this season, and we wouldn’t be where we are without the defense playing as strong as they have been playing,” Batchelder said. “They’ve really come together as a group this year and they have played really strong team defense.”
Those defensive players, Mary Pettigrew, Shannon Tinkham, Becca Blaustein, Jill Oulette, Meri Adsit, Kelly Conway, Ali Peffer and Carly Kouvaris in net, have the unenviable job of holding down the fort while the offense gets all the glory. Such is life on defense, but these girls know that and have come at it with many different perspectives.
“They’ve really locked down,” Batchelder said. “They allow for Carly to make a ton of saves. They force off-angle shots, and in the last two games, they only allowed four goals and five goals respectively, which is a really low goals-against average.”
As with any good defense, the Clippers have been built from the net out.
“I play mostly for the adrenaline rush,” said Kouvaris, a senior. “I just talk to the girls and try to erase everything but the ball on the field. To be last line of defense, it’s really difficult sometimes, but it’s super-rewarding at the same time.”
“Carly is really the one who sets the tone,” Batchelder said. “She works really hard, and she takes it really seriously, and everyone else kind of follows suit. She gives us huge saves when we need them. She gives us the boost we need to get the ball back on attack, and we are lucky this year. We have a really balanced attack. We are capable of scoring a lot of goals. But with our defense as strong as it is, it definitely makes for two balanced parts of the team.”