Bromfield Tops Mount Greylock in Sectional Final
EAST LONGMEADOW, Mass. -- One Mount Greylock girls lacrosse player seemed to speak for the whole team as the squad cleaned up the bench area following Thursday's Central/Western Massachusetts Division 2 title game.
"I'm not going to cry," she exclaimed in the response to an apparent jest from a friend.
And, in fact, there were not many tears after the Mounties dropped a 15-6 decision to Harvard's Bromfield School.
It is not that the Mounties were happy about losing. It's just that they were too darn happy about having a chance to compete in the sectional final.
"This is the point that all of the seniors have worked for the last six seasons," Emma Polumbo said after notching a goal in the final game of her illustrious career. "Every year, before the season starts, we write down our goal for the season, and, for the majority of the team, it's either to make it to the finals or to win the finals.
"For a lot of us, we've met our goals. It's a great feeling to make Mount Greylock history and Berkshire County history by being here."
That is why the second-place trophy, an item that sometimes teams barely even look at in the aftermath of a sectional title game loss, was front and center of a group of girls patiently posing for a team photo on the East Longmeadow High School field on Thursday night.
Polumbo and her classmates, who have been at the middle/high school since nearly the beginning of the 7-year-old program, know what it took to get to this point -- both long-term and more recently after this season started with a 2-2 record.
"This year, I feel like we were able to work through some problems that we may not have been able to the last couple of years," Polumbo said. "We addressed them near the beginning of the season when we had a bumpy start. We worked right through them, worked really hard at practice, tried to work on working better as a team.
"And everything paid off in the end."
Mount Greylock coach Lindsey von Holtz credited Polumbo and her teammates with helping the team overcome that start.
"We had six really, really strong seniors both on the field and off, and they worked really hard to get the team together more off the field so we could work together on the field," von Holtz said. "They helped with the intensity of practices the last couple of weeks and fine-tuning of skills that were hurting us in games.
"I'd put it on the shoulders of the seniors. They did a great job."
Mount Greylock finished the regular season winning eight of its last nine, the lone loss coming to Division 1's West Springield.
The second-seeded Mounties (17-5) then won three straight playoff games to get to the finals against No. 1 Bromfield (17-6).
In the title game, the Mounties were behind the eight ball all night as the Trojans controlled nearly every draw.
"Unfortunately, this is a game of possession, and they were winning draws," von Holtz said. "Regardless of the combination [Mount Greylock used], it seemed like their No. 3 was very impressive with it. She seemed to get it no matter which direction it went. So I give her a lot of credit."
And there were a lot of goals for that No. 3, Bromfield freshman Isabelle Planchet, who scored five in the first half to give her team a 9-2 lead at the break and seven in the game.
The Trojans led by as many as 10 in the second half, getting the game to running time with just less than seven minutes left to play.
But Mount Greylock did not give up. Senior Caroline Flynn and freshman Carolyn Jones scored less than a minute apart to get the Mounties within eight before Planchet capped the scoring with a free position goal in the final minute.
Jones and Flynn each scored a pair of goals, and Claire Sheedy added a goal for Mount Greylock.
Flynn and Polumbo were joined in uniform one last time by classmates Kristen Aliberti, Aleya Cappadona and Lauren Howard.
Howard took a year away from the sport as a junior and was glad she came back.
"I felt like I fit back in," she said. "Our group of seniors was amazing.
"I think, each year, it's new people stepping into roles. Everyone does a great job, from the JV level, coming up. I think we do a great job getting the JV players integrated to the program. Each year, it just gets better."
And the future only looks brighter.
"Watching our younger players come up and get better as years go on is an awesome feeling," Polumbo said. "We also have a youth program in Williamstown, and all these players are starting in second-, third-, fourth-, fifth-grade, so they have five years of experience before they even hit high school.
"It's just an awesome feeling knowing the program is going to keep on going and getting better."