By Mac Cerullo
---- — NEWBURYPORT — The Newburyport girls lacrosse team couldn’t hold on against Masconomet yesterday morning, squandering a two-goal halftime lead before ultimately falling 7-6.
Despite a strong start and a 4-2 lead at the half, the Clippers came unglued early in the second and gave up three unanswered goals in quick succession. After going down 7-5 late, the Clippers finally turned it back on, but despite a late goal by senior Julia Kipp, Newburyport couldn’t tie it up before time ran out.
Though she acknowledged that the team came out strong and picked it up at the end, Newburyport head coach Catherine Batchelder said she was disappointed by her team’s overall effort and felt that Masconomet could have been beaten if they’d played a consistent game.
“It wasn’t really about the last goal for me, it was about the last half of the first half and the first half of the second half where we just didn’t play with enough energy or passion to beat this team,” she said. “You have to play two solid halves of lacrosse and we didn’t play two solid halves.”
The Clippers did play well early, trading goals with the Chieftains before taking a 4-2 lead into halftime. Kipp started the scoring, followed by goals from Olivia Couturier, Ali Peffer and then another by Kipp. Couturier was also credited with an assist on Peffer’s goal.
After the break, Newburyport wasn’t able to mount the same defensive pressure against Masconomet, and the Chieftains made them pay. Masconomet scored three unanswered goals early in the second half to take a 5-4 lead, including goals from junior Meghan Collins, senior Kathleen Gillespie and freshman Grace Fahey.
Newburyport tied the score at five shortly afterward, thanks to another goal by Kipp, but the Chieftains took the lead again almost immediately, thanks to another strike by Fahey.
Masconomet sophomore Molly Gillespie gave the Chieftains some insurance with under four minutes to play, but facing a two-goal deficit, the Clippers finally gathered themselves and began to mount a comeback.
Less than a minute after Gillespie’s goal, Kipp beat the Chieftains’ defense and scored an impressive goal while falling down to bring the Clippers to within one, and on the ensuing faceoff the Clippers regained possession and had several chances to tie the game.
Unfortunately, Newburyport was unable to get a quality shot off, and once Masconomet regained possession of the ball, all they had to do was hold on until the final horn sounded.
“We just didn’t come out to play hard in the second half. We went through the motions instead of taking control of the game, which is what we talked about at halftime,” Batchelder said. “We turned it on in the last three minutes, but unfortunately it was too late.”
Kipp finished with 4 goals for the Clippers, Couturier had a goal and an assist, and Peffer scored a goal. On the Chieftains’ side, Fahey finished with 2 goals and an assist, Kathleen Gillespie and Collins each had 2 goals, and Molly Gillespie scored one.
Newburyport now stands at 2-4 on the year, while Masconomet improves to 5-2. The Clippers will be back in action today when they host Pentucket at 10 a.m.