GIRLS U14 WINS NEW ENGLAND BAY STATE TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP
The Wolverines got off to a slow start in the tournament opener vs Winchester. A phantom goal and a costly turnover in front of Jennifer Lin put Westwood in a hole that they could not dig out of. The team could have blamed the weather or the long drive on their flat start but instead looked in the mirror for answers. During coach's meetings that lasted well into Saturday morning, veteran leader Jeff Campbell wrestled with ways to get the team to focus and shake off the opening loss.
A Saturday afternoon team outing to the local bowling alley proved the perfect start to the day that saw Westwood beat Weymouth 2-1, setting up a pivotal game against club team Casco Bay. The short bench of girls would not be intimidated by the 3 lines and 2 goalies of Casco Bay. A back and forth battle ensued, as parents and fans tried to unravel the list of tiebreakers as the game progressed. As Westwood continued to attack pressing for the first goal of the game, the clock seemed to double time. With the score 0-0 and less than a minute to go, Westwood made sure to protect against all outlet passes and keeping the game in front of them, to lock in the point in the 0-0 tie. This would prove to be enough to move into the finals and another shot at Winchester.
On Sunday morning Westwood was facing a hostile crowd and a team that handed them a loss just 2 days earlier with their magical post “goal.” Winchester came out on fire, crashing the net and keeping constant pressure on Westwood in their own end. Westwood showed improvement in the second period with Lauren Carolan and Taylor Young buzzing around the offensive zone keeping pressure on the Winchester defense. The Lady Wolverines seemed to improve their breakouts against the crashing Winchester points as forward Moira Kenneally made multiple clean passes to the Westwood streaking centers to relieve the pressure. Despite a better second period, Westwood faced a 0-2 deficit going into the third period. Fans were deflated but not ready to give up on these girls. Despite getting outshot all game Jennifer Lin continued to turn away shots on her way to posting a 1.5 GAA for the tournament. Coach Campbell must have given an impassioned speech between periods because Westwood came out in the 3rd with confidence and poise. Great puck movement from Fallon Campbell, speed from Mabel Harlan, and toughness from Eric Carolan limited Winchester’s opportunities in the 3rd. Finally, a spark came from Emilia Massey at 8:46 to put Westwood on the board. Emilia took a breakout pass from Ceci D’Amelio who sacrificed her own body to make a play as she took a hard hit from a Winchester player. Emilia blew by the remaining defender and buried the goal to make it 1-0. At 5:16 of the third, Westwood put out their PK specialists, Ceci and Maeve Hennessey, in the game to try and kill a penalty. Things look grim with time winding down and Campbell in the box. As D’Amelio and Hennessey created some panic at the Winchester points, they forced a turnover that sprung Ceci D’Amelio for a breakaway and game-tying goal. As the Winchester coach flew into a fit of rage, coach Campbell confidently said to himself “these girls never quit.” Going into Overtime, Westwood knew that they had to strike quickly. Just 47 seconds into OT, Maggie Ash picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone. Maggie made a subtle move to the left, allowing Westwood to clear. Suddenly, as Ash moved forward, the ice opened up and she picked up speed over the blue line. As the defense backed deeper into the zone, Ash looked for her spot and fired a wrist shot past the Winchester goalie for the OT winner.
Westwood U14s brought home the Championship but more importantly had a great time out to dinner, at the hotel, bowling and just hanging out. Congratulations to Coach Campbell and the U14s.