MANCHESTER, NH — Three weeks into the season, there is plenty of reason for optimism surrounding the Central High girls’ lacrosse team.
After a two-goal loss to Merrimack in the season-opener, the Little Green put together a three-game streak, averaging 14 goals a game along the way. But the Central roster is as young as it is talented and with youth comes growing pains.
Some of those pains were felt Thursday evening, at Meisel Veterans Memorial Field, courtesy of a 16-4 thumping at the hands of Hollis-Brookline. The visiting Cavaliers gave a masterclass ball movement, spacing and communication. The lessons may have been challenging for the Little Green to absorb in the moment, but Head Coach Jackie Lane believe they will pay off for her club in the long run.
“It’s definitely part of the growth process. We’ve got a lot of work to do,” said Lane, now in her second year with the team. “Our younger (players) are really carrying us in this division. I think we’re going to make some impact in Division 2. I think we’re going to get better as the year goes on.”
Sabrina Hill and Paige Mello had five goals each to pace Hollis-Brookline (4-2). Juliette Ogren added three goals and an an assist. Maddie Houghton had a goal and an assist to lead Central (3-2)
The Cavaliers, coming off an 18-10 upset of Division 1 Exeter on Wednesday, wasted no time asserting control. Hollis-Brookline scored the first five goals of the game, including two from Mello, just 32 seconds apart.
Sophomore Grace Manning’s goal, with just under 10 minutes to play in the first half, stopped the bleeding but H-B took a 7-1 lead into halftime.
“Hollis-Brookline is one of the strongest teams in D-II right now. They’ve already played a couple of D-I schools. They’re a talented team, they’re more experienced and they’ve been together awhile.”
Part of Hollis-Brookline’s dominance involved their total dominance of the faceoff circle. The Cavaliers won 17 of 22 faceoffs, giving them 12 extra possessions.
The second half brought more offensive highlights from the Cavaliers, who built their lead to 10-1.
Central finally began showing signs of life midway through the second half. Houghton scored on a nifty individual effort, cutting in from the right side and sliding across the front of the goal before slamming the ball past H-B goalie Addison Dougherty.
Less than two minutes later, Central cut the lead to 10-3, with 11:50 remaining, when sophomore Olivia Wheeler converted an excellent pass from Cailin Proulx.
But that was as close as the Little Green could get. Hill scored her fifth and final goal to start a 6-0 run by the Cavaliers, with six different players finding the back of the net.
Tianna Mann closed out the scoring for Central.
The Little Green will have some time to regroup before playing again. They are off until May 1, when they hit the road to take on Oyster River.