It was a thrilling postseason run for the girls' lacrosse team capped off by a in the Eastern Massachusetts Division 2 finals to capture the program's first ever state championship.
Prior to the start of the postseason, Medfield head coach Jason Heim said this year's group of 20 girls was one of the most balanced, well-rounded teams he has coached in Medfield.
"There really is no weak spot on the team and there’s going to be someone open that’s going to be able to do something," Heim said following a 17-7 win over Cohasset on May 21. "Each of these players has the confidence in the next one over to give them the ball. They’re not afraid to share it ... our offense is balanced. That’s the big key."
That offensive balance was on display Monday night on Babson College's MacDowell Field as the Warriors found multiple ways to attack Winchester's defense. It started with Katelyn Noschese, who got Medfield on the board less than two minutes into the game and netted a go-ahead goal six minutes later to give Medfield a 3-2 lead. Noschese finished the first half with three goals.
When Winchester focused on containing Medfield senior tri-captain Emily Zelvor and Noschese, other Warriors stepped up. Caroline Tschirch's goal evened the score at two after Winchester scored twice in under a minute to take an early 2-1 lead. Senior tri-captain Natalie Gill also found the back of the net in the first half, giving Medfield a 4-2 edge.
From there, Zelvor erupted – scoring five of Medfield's last six goals, including all three of the Warriors' strikes in the second half.
"She's just an unbelievable player," Heim said. "We'll definitely miss her. She's that kind of player that if she can get isolated on her own she's going to find a way to beat you. She can find a way to create space and end up scoring goals. She's got a great shot too."
It was a dominating effort on the biggest stage for Zlevor, but she didn't relish in the individual effort as much as the team winning its final game of the season to capture Medfield's first state championship in the program's history.
"It's amazing, it's the best feeling in the world," Zlevor said of winning the state title. "Only one team gets to end the season on a good note and it was us. ... We just kept our edge [throughout the game] knowing it was the last game of the season. We really put it all together and kept it going, it was good."
Heim added while the performances of Zlevor and goalie Sarah Honan – who made several big stops to preserve small leads throughout the second half – were stellar, this was a season all about the 20 girls on the roster collectively playing as one.
"[Sarah Honan] has been kind of the rock back there," Heim said. "In situations where we fall behind she's able to make the big saves to take the other team out of it and she really did that in this game, she was huge. I got to give her a lot of credit but it really was the team as a whole. It's just a great team. They play like a team, they act like a team and I'm very proud of them."
On the surface, Medfield's state title run can be summarized as a simple and familiar story. A team came together as one and set out to achieve one common goal – winning a state championship – and they did. But the road was far from simple and the feeling of ending the season on top of the Eastern Massachusetts Division 2 girls' lacrosse world was anything but familiar.
"It feels great, it's a huge team win," Noschese said. "It's just great for Medfield and making history for the girls' lacrosse program and we hope to keep it going for next year."
Medfield's state tournament journey began with a 19-5 victory over Hull in the first round of the Division 2 South Sectional tournament. From there, Medfield rose above tremendous competition in the D2 South bracket, beating some of the best teams in the state – Norwell (14-10), Duxbury (6-5) and Hopkinton (9-8) before Monday's historic victory over D2 North champion Winchester.
"Every game was a close game," Zlevor said. "A bunch of one-goal games, it was a really close tournament and so much fun to play in. It was such a good season, this is awesome."
Said Noschese: "It was really exciting. We knocked off a lot of top seeded teams. It was great."
Just prior to Medfield's first round game against Hull, Gill said the Warriors were just focusing on one game at a time.
"We are going to work hard and take it one game at a time," Gill said. "We're going to give it our all, especially the seniors because you never know when it will be your last game."
For Gill, Zelvor, tri-captain Abby McQuillan, Meghan Keleher and Lauren Yancich, their last game as Medfield Warriors was Monday night but they ended their high school careers the way every player dreams of – as state champions.
The following players, coaches and administration are this year's EMass D2 Girls' Lacrosse State Champions.Name Grade Jersey Number Lindsay Brown 9 4 Maggie Spinard 9 21 Colleen Beggan 10 19 Molly Crabtree 10 17 Abby Johnson 10 2 Caroline Tschirch 10 5 Tori Brown 11 3 Nicole Busa 11 9 Lauren Harrity 11 6 Sarah Honan 11 1 Jen Lifsitz 11 18 Alexandra McDevitt 11 11 Katelyn Noschese 11 15 Emily Ott 11 10 Natalie Gill (Captain) 12 14 Meghan Keleher 12 8 Abby McQuillan (Captain) 12 7 Lauren Yancich 12 N/A Ali Gold 11 24 Emily Zlevor (Captain) 12 12 Jason Heim (Head coach) N/A N/A Kathleen McCullough (Assistant coach) N/A N/A John Kirby (Athletic director) N/A N/A Maria Hutsick (Athletic trainer) N/A N/A
Medfield ends the 2012 season with an 18-5 record (9-3 in the Tri-Valley League) and as the best Division 2 girls' lacrosse team in the state. Here's a look at the Warriors' 2012 season results:
vs. Cold Spring Harbor High School
@ Notre Dame
@ King Philip
PPD (May 23)
vs. Hull (MIAA D2 South Sectional First Round)
vs. Norwell (MIAA D2 South Sectional Quarterfinals)
@ Duxbury (MIAA D2 South Sectional Semifinals)
@ Hopkinton (MIAA D2 South Sectional finals)
vs. Winchester @ Babson College (MIAA D2 Finals)
Editor's note: View the videos above for highlights from the Eastern Massachusetts Division 2 girls' lacrosse sstate championship game and postgame ceremonies.