HILLSBOROUGH – – There’s only one winner in the game of lacrosse, but at game’s end on Friday afternoon, both teams had something to celebrate.
The Hillsborough girls lacrosse team defeated Somerville by the score of 12-8.
Dakota Pastore scored five goals to pace Somerville. Her first goal of the game, coming early in the first half, was also the 300th of her career.
Gianna Napoletano scored the opening goal and led the Raiders with four goals. Ceal Terreri, Olivia Buckman and Megan Muller each added two goals apiece for Hillsborough.
“It’s been a tough and intense preseason for us so to come in with a younger team and grab an early lead and take the pressure off bodes well for us,” assistant coach J.R. Spencer, who was replacing the Raiders’ ill head coach Elizabeth Murrin, said.
The game was tight all through the first half with both teams trading goals. The Raiders took a 6-5 lead into halftime and Spencer felt good about his team’s chances.
“We wanted to make them understand that the things they were doing to get them to that point were very good,” Spencer said. “They needed to keeping building upon that, especially their effort on the defensive side and their patience on the offensive side.”
The Raiders opened the second half at a torrid pace, scoring four unanswered goals early in the second half.
With their lead inflated to 10-5 thanks to their relentless play, the Raiders were able to coast to the 12-8 victory as the last few minutes of the game slipped away from Somerville.
“They stayed with the same philosophy of being aggressive and proactive in every aspect of the game,” Spencer said. “We were able to win pretty much because of our effort.”
Hillsborough was unselfish with the ball all game. The ball was constantly on the move and six Raiders ended up scoring.
“It was a team effort for sure,” Gianna Napoletano said. “We had to run our plays, be vocal and there were lots of assists. This game gives us lots of motivation going forward.”
The loss for Somerville was not a total negative. Pastore scored her milestone goal on a wrap around shot early in the first half.
“We got a turnover and I saw the opportunity, the girl wasn’t pressing me, so I just wrapped around the net and it went through the goalie’s legs,” Pastore said. “I had forgotten it was my 300th goal.”
Pastore looked to score her 300th last season. The goal would have been a huge personal milestone and would have meant a brand new pair of wheels.
“My dad promised me last year if I got nine more goals, I would get a car,” Pastore said. “The ninth would have been my 300th. I had three shots but I missed all of them. I got the car anyway, but I was crying at the end of the game last year, so this goal really felt good.”
The milestone was sweet, but the loss was not. The Pioneers have a lot of room for improvement.
“We want to work on our transitions, ground balls and moving the ball faster when we get double teamed,” Pastore said. “Definitely draw control too because that wins the game.”
Staff writer Daniel LoGiudice: email@example.com