Wahconah Shows Growth on Successful Senior Night

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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DALTON, Mass. – A little more than a month ago, the Wahconah girls lacrosse team went on the road and battled to a 10-9 win at Pope Francis.
On Thursday, Wahconah showed just how far it really has traveled this spring.
Claire Naef scored six goals and Wahconah controlled the game throughout in a 13-6 win over the Cardinals on Senior Night.
Naef’s fellow senior captain Eva Eberwein scored four goals and assisted on Naef’s first two tallies – the second of which gave Wahconah a 2-1 lead with 18 minutes, 33 seconds left in the first half.
Naef scored the game’s next three goals as well, helping give her team a 6-1 lead. Pope Francis never got closer than four goals the rest of the way.
“We’ve progressed a lot,” Naef said of her team. “We’ve been able to incorporate our other attackers, which is really important. We’re able to get more people to succeed and score, and it’s not just my two other middies and I.
“We’re more able to be dynamic on the field. Our defense also has gotten a lot more aggressive, which has helped a lot.”
Thursday’s win, Wahconah’s second in a row, gives it an 8-6 record with two regular season games remaining.
Naef got the scoring started with a goal assisted by Eberwein in the fourth minute, but Pope Francis’ Audrey Mason answered about a minute later.
The next time down the field, Eberwein found Naef again to ignite a five-goal run that ended when Paige Trager set up Eberwein to make it 6-1.
It was a four-goal margin at half-time, and Dakota Casella and Eberwein opened the second half with back-to-back goals to push the lead to six goals.
Eberwein’s second of the game, into the upper 90, came just 30 seconds after Casella’s. That was the result of one of many draw controls for Wahconah, which dominated that department all night.
“Winning the draws is super important,” Naef said. “It just gives us a leg up when we win the majority of the draws, and our draw control has gotten a lot better. Eva [Eberwein] and Ava [Massaro] when they take the draw are learning how to better control, which is really important for us.
“We’ve just been able to improve as the season’s gone on, which is really important.”
Wahconah coach Kathy Budaj also noted the team’s draw controls.
“Claire and Eva did a wonderful job on the draw and converting opportunities to lead the team on Senior Night,” Budaj said. “The team did a very nice job of defending and causing turnovers, that was a goal of ours today. 
“The girls put a lot of effort into this game and continue to move in the right direction.”
Wahconah had more balanced scoring in the second half with Naef accounting for just one more tally. Casella finished with two goals, and Ava Massaro scored a goal.
Phalyn Renderer made four saves to earn the win in goal.
Wahconah, which played five games in 10 days, is off until next Wednesday when it travels to Northampton. On May 26, it finishes the regular season at rival Mount Greylock.
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