Bulldog seniors aim to go out on top
MANCHESTER — For the 13 seniors on the Burr and Burton girls lacrosse team, this weekend is shaping up to be an unforgettable one.
After graduating on a beautiful night on Friday, the Bulldogs will have an early bus ride up to UVM on Saturday, attempting to knock off unbeaten South Burlington in the Division I championship game.
"This senior group is incredibly special, both individually and collectively," said Burr and Burton second-year coach Jamie Blake. "The things they do for the team and community and school are outstanding. They truly lead by example and they are going to leave a legacy and a positive mark on this team."
Burr and Burton comes into today's game at 14-3, averaging 12.5 goals a game and allowing 10 (170 goals in 17 games).
South Burlington comes in undefeated at 18-0 and is led in goal by Claire Phillips, who along with the Wolves' defense has allowed around nine goals a contest. Many have been close, one-goal wins over Essex and Rice, for example.
Christina March led the way for South Burlington in the teams' only meeting this year back on May 6. March scored four goals and added an assist, while Phillips had 17 stops in net.
Blake said her defense will be key, just as it was in the first meeting. BBA held the Wolves to 10 goals, its second lowest total of the year.
"Cassie [Pearce] in goal has been our anchor back there," Blake said. "If Fiona McMahon is the bodyguard, then Riley Christy is the brain and communicator. Then you have the knockdown kings in Charleigh [Carthy] and Sydney [Goldfarb] to anchor them. Hannah Callen has also been a force in the playoffs, playing a big role as a sophomore."
As the playoffs have gone on, the offense is clicking as well, outscoring their two opponents 34-18. Of those 34 goals, 20 have been assisted.
"In the midfield, Alair [Powers] has clicked and is making plays all over the field," Blake said. "Then with our attackers, like Hannah [Dworkin] and Audrey [Anglum], they have the chemistry working together. Hannah has twice as many assists as goals."
Blake said having multiple players able to score a bunch of goals has made it tough to defend.
"We are a true team," Blake said. "We are seven or eight deep on the bench and most don't have that, other than us and South Burlington."
On Friday afternoon at practice, senior Olivia Watanabe, the leading scorer this season who reached the 100-goal milestone, said the team is excited to face the Wolves in the championship.
"We've been talking about this since we were eighth graders playing [Equinox Lacrosse Association]," Watanabe said.
The last time the Burr and Burton girls won the state title was 2015, when the seniors were still in middle school.
"We click amazingly well and we've all known each other for a long time," Watanabe said. "We know the strength and weaknesses. Everyone wants [to win] so bad and I think our leadership will helps us in the game [today]."
That consistency will make for a fun matchup, Blake said.
"It's just about self-expression and love, these kids really love each other and want to go out and play their best game," Blake said. "We're excited to face South Burlington. It's two balanced teams and the best balanced teams are representing in Division I."
Blake said she hopes that the Bulldogs can score early and get a lead.
"That would be big, we need to move the ball and do what we have been doing," Blake said. "With other teams you can shut certain kids down, but it's a lot harder with us and them. That's why we need to have more of a focus on what we want to do."
With the boys playing first at 11 a.m. and the girls next at 2 p.m., Watanabe said having the guys there to cheer them on at Virtue Field will be big.
"That definitely should pump us up," Watanabe said. "We were there for the semifinal, so all of us going together is really special."
Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for senior citizens and students.
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