BOSTON — It was an ending nobody could have ever seen coming.
It was a day nobody could have imagined three springs ago, when this year’s seniors were unceremoniously bounced in the first round of the state tournament as freshmen by archrival Triton.
It was a scene nobody could have pictured in the years that followed, when the team’s tournament runs ended before they even started, and certainly not back in early April when the Clippers lost to Manchester Essex and dropped to 0-3 on the season.
And it was a dream that felt like pure fantasy after the Clippers were cut down by Masconomet shortly afterward and faced with the unsettling possibility that their season could soon be lost.
But against all odds, that dream came true on Saturday, when the Newburyport girls lacrosse team completed their improbable run to the top and raised the Division II State Championship trophy over their heads.
Newburyport beat Bromfield 7-6 in Saturday’s state championship game, shutting the door on the vaunted Trojan offense with a second-half defensive effort that will go down as the stuff of legend.
Coming into the game, Bromfield sophomore Sophia Turchetta led her team with 174 points, including seven goals in her team’s 9-8 semifinal victory over Wayland punctuated by a game-winner with 30 seconds on the clock.
Newburyport head coach Catherine Batchelder said she and her players were well aware of the threat posed by the talented Trojan sophomore, so their game plan would be simple. Stop Turchetta at all costs and force somebody else on Bromfield to step up and beat them.
In the first half, despite relentless double teams and pressure from the Clipper defense, Turchetta was still able to go off for five goals, almost singlehandedly keeping pace with Newburyport’s offense, which had little difficulty finding openings in the Bromfield defense. The two teams wound up trading blows throughout the first half before Newburyport gained a 7-6 lead following a goal by senior midfielder Ali Peffer with 20 seconds to go.