Possession was crucial in the Staples girls lacrosse team's Class L opening round game against Cheshire on Tuesday afternoon. The Wreckers and Rams traded long spells of possession without much end product for the majority of the 50 minutes, but Cheshire scored six free position goals to fend off Staples 7-6 to advance to Thursday's second round.
Meghan Dutchyshyn scored a free position goal with 3:01 left to increase the Rams lead to 7-5. The Rams controlled the resulting faceoff and ran more than two minutes off the clock before Staples regained possession.
Staples' Nicole Williams scored on a free position with eight seconds left but time expired as the Wreckers won the ensuing draw.
"We did not play our best game today for sure," Staples coach Pete Najarian said. "It's been a great season; we've had some great wins. We need to learn how to finish in the first round of the state tournament."
Wreckers senior Meredith Hood scored a hat trick in her final game, while junior Paige Murray scored twice.
Trailing 5-2 entering the second half, the Wreckers attack woke up and came up with three goals in a 2:05 span to tie the game. Kate Lesch, Hood and Murray scored to pull Staples even with 19:49 left.
The Rams (12-5) immediately responded and took the lead for good on a free position goal by Madeline Levy with 18:20 left. Cheshire possessed the ball for most of the rest of the game, patiently passing the ball around on offense. When the Wreckers (10-6) regained possession, turnovers and errant shots handed the ball back over to the Rams.
"It's all about possession; we were rushing shots," Najarian said. "We tried to force the ball to the middle of the circle too much we didn't play our game."
Levy had three goals and two assists for the Rams while Emma Farrell added two goals and two assists. Emma Boland made 10 saves in the cage as the Wreckers were outshot 19-13.
"Emma had a great game," Najarian said. "The story of this game was possession. We made some shooting errors we turned the ball over on offense a lot. Our defense was working hard to get possession back. ... Emma hung in tough; both goalies were good today."
The Rams got three goals -- including one with five seconds left after burning the final few minutes off the clock -- late in the first half to turn a 2-2 tie and take a lead into the break. Both teams had difficulty connecting on passes in the opening period and goals were at a premium.
"(Staples') attack is good," Cheshire coach Dan Warburton said. "They have several weapons and we wanted to keep them off attack as long as possible. We just tried to pack in and defend their cuts."
The Wreckers, led this season primarily by juniors, are poised for a breakout season in 2015.
"I think we are going to be great next year," Najarian said. "We are going to lose a couple of key kids but we have the core coming back and I'm really excited about the team."
Cheshire 7, Staples 6
STAPLES 2 4 -- 6
CHESHIRE 5 2 -- 7
Records: Staples 10-6; Cheshire 12-5.
Scoring: S--Paige Murray 2g; Kate Lesch 1g; Meredith Hood 3g; Jenna McNicholas 1a; Nicole Williams 1g; Colleen Bannon 2a. C--Madeline Levy 3g, 2a; Megan Dutchyshyn 2g; Emma Farrel 2g, 2a; Goalies: S--Emma Boland (10 saves); C--Alexa Carbone (5). Shots: S--13; C--19.