WESTFIELD – The Westfield High School girls’ lacrosse team earned a passing grade on its history test.
No. 7 Westfield survived is first home tournament game in decades, defeating 10th seeded Wachusett 14-13 in a Central-West Division 1 opening round game Wednesday at Westfield High School.
“This means we are moving in the right direction,” Westfield coach Paul Fenwick said. “To win our first home playoff game is huge. I’m really proud of these ladies, excited for them, and happy for our whole program.”
“It’s not so much the wins and losses,” he added. “For us, it’s been all about creating a culture, atmosphere, and character here.”
There were several main characters in Westfield’s storybook victory, including Westfield’s Kylie Buchanan and Kiele Bryant, who each recorded a hat trick against Wachusett (9-10). Buchanan netted all three of her goals in the first half; Bryant delivered hers in the second half.
“This is a great feeling,” Buchanan said. “I’m glad to be a part of this team. We all get along. It’s worked very well as we’ve bonded and played as a team.”
Her teammate agreed.
“We have come together as a team – it’s showing,” Bryant said. “We worked together (against Wachusett), played with intensity and never gave up.”
Westfield (14-4) did not quit, even when one of their top players, Hannah Jarvis, went down with a game-ending injury with about 12 minutes remaining in regulation. Jarvis had two goals and two assists before suffering the injury. The game was briefly delayed as both teams waited for medical personnel to help her off the field. She was transported to a local hospital for treatment.
“We did it for Hannah,” Bryant said.
Westfield’s second-half goalie Liz Clark was sensational in net, making seven saves. Bombers’ Yvonne Headley made two in the first half.
“My defense was really solid (in front of me),” Clark said. “I had big confidence in my team to pull together.”
Clark responded just as well as the last line of defense, especially with the clock ticking down late in the game. With roughly 90 seconds remaining, Clark broke up a shot on a breakaway. Just a few seconds later, Grayce Juan broke up another attack by Wachusett to prevent a tie.
The prize for Westfield’s victory includes a trip to Longmeadow to face one of the region’s toughest teams, the second-seeded Lancers (19-1), on Saturday.