Lesure's Late Game-Winner Gives Hoosac Valley One-Goal Win

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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CHESHIRE, Mass. -- Ashlyn Lesure scored the game-winner with 5 minutes, 10 seconds left on the clock, and the Hoosac Valley girls lacrosse team Wednesday outscored Chicopee, 3-0, in the fourth quarter, to earn a 13-12 win.
In a game that featured four lead changes and eight ties, Hoosac Valley got two goals from Emma Meczywor in the first four minutes of the fourth to erase a two-goal deficit, got the game-winner from Lesure moments later and possessed the ball most of the rest of the way, allowing the Pacers just one brief foray over midfield.
The game-winner came on a free position opportunity for Lesure, who finished with five goals and four assists to help the 'Canes improve to 4-1 this spring.
"Molly [West] always tells us in practice that there are four corners in the goal, and we just have to pick our corner," Lesure said of her approach on the game-winning shot. "We have to fake the goalie one way so we can get to the other corner."
Hoosac Valley goalie Kennedy Whitley earned the win by making 11 saves, including one to deny a free position chance for Chicopee midway through the fourth quarter with the game tied, 13-13.
Meczywor led Hoosac Valley's offense with six goals and an assist. Layla Brooks and Jacinta Felix each scored a goal for the Hurricanes, who bounced back after taking their first loss of the season nearly a week ago at league rival Pope Francis.
Ground balls were an issue all day for Hoosac Valley. Although this was the Hurricanes' first game on a grass field, coach Molly West was unwilling to use that as an excuse.
"We practice on the grass every day," West said. "Our ground ball drills are -- they're pretty hardcore. We actually end up with a lot of people on the ground."
One bright spot in the ground ball department was junior defender Maryn Cappiello, who made a big play on a ground ball in Hoosac Valley's defensive end with 1 minute, 40 seconds on the clock for a possession that Hoosac Valley never relinquished.
West also credited Capiello with helping to hold the Hurricanes together in the fourth quarter when Meczwyor was sent to the sidelines with a red card after a verbal incident following her game-tying goal with 8:54 on the clock.
"Maryn's not a vocal leader, but she's a leader on the field," West said. "She won a couple of those ground balls.
"I think good teams find somebody to step up and, luckily, Maryn, Ashlyn and Jacinta did that today."
Hoosac Valley had a 2-1 lead after a low-scoring first quarter.
The teams traded goals in the second with neither side ahead by more than a goal. And the half ended, appropriately, with the teams tied, 7-7, after Chicopee's Kiyah Price scored in transition with 3.4 seconds left to play.
It was 10-10 after a pair of goals from Lesure in the seventh minute of the third quarter.
But Chicopee scored the last two goals of the quarter, both from Sophia Moreira (four goals) to go ahead, 12-10.
The Pacers nearly took the game's biggest lead right at the end of the third, but Whitley stopped a Pacer in transition just as time expired to keep it a two-goal margin.
Lesure left the game briefly after a hard collision in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter.
Mecywor converted an assist from Felix to make it 12-11 with Lesure still on the bench moments later.
Lesure returned on that stoppage and set up Meczywor for a goal with 8:54 remaining to tie the game.
Hoosac Valley was a player down when it earned the free position that produced Lesure's winning goal.
"Especially when we're a man down, we've just got to come together," Lesure said. "We have to have game possession and keep the ball in our net so we don't give them the opportunity to go down and score."
After Lesure cashed in what turned out to be the game's final scoring opportunity, Felix won the ensuing draw, allowing the Hurricanes to get the ball into the offensive zone and run some clock.
It was a full three minutes before Chicopee was able to get possession and cross midfield, but that possession lasted just 16 seconds before the Hurricanes were able to get the ball back -- thanks to Capiello's ground ball near the sideline -- and run out the clock.
"We've played a couple of games where we've been in that situation where we need to possess," West said. "So, Em [Meczywor], Ash [Lesure] and Jacinta [Felix] kind of have done this before," West said. "Last year, when we beat Wahconah, it was the same thing. We were up, we held possession for six, seven minutes.
"We actually talked a lot about possession yesterday as the No. 1 principle of an effective offensive set. We actually talked about passing, catching, being able to cradle and possess in a situation like this. Jacinta and Ash have great ball control, so I think that helped."
Hoosac Valley (4-1) hosts Granby on Friday.
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