BG girls hold off Portsmouth, will head to Division II lacrosse final

MANCHESTER – The Bishop Guertin High School girls lacrosse team was under 15 minutes from disaster.

That wasn’t what Ron Cote told the Cardinals.

No. 2 Bishop Guertin had watched its nine-goal lead reduced to two by No. 3 Portsmouth during Sunday’s Division II semifinal game, but instead of panicking, Cote took a time out and told the Cardinals their goal was still within reach.

“My message to them (during the timeout) was simply that we’re 15 minutes away from the final,” Cote said. “Where we end up is because of us.”

The Clippers scored the first goal out of the timeout to cut the lead to one, but Bishop Guertin took control from there and held on for a 15-11 win at Southern New Hampshire University. For the second time in three years, the Cardinals will play in the championship game, which will be held Tuesday at 5 p.m., also at SNHU.

Jessica Lambert led the Cardinals (14-1) with four goals and an assist while Nicole Pettiglio had three goals and Callie Santos had two goals and two assists.

Portsmouth (13-3), which defeated Bishop Guertin in the semifinals last year, got four goals and two assists each from Parker Devon and Emily Whitney.

The Cardinals jumped out to a 5-0 lead early, including a goal by Lambert that Portsmouth goalie Ashley Linane stopped, but couldn’t control and the ball rolled across the goal line. The Clippers got their first goal 10 seconds after Bishop Guertin went up five, but the Cardinals continued to roll, scoring almost every time they got the ball in Portsmouth’s end.

A goal by Devon cut the Bishop Guertin lead to 7-2 with 10:50 left in the half, but the Cardinals scored the next four to take an 11-2 lead with just under four minutes to go until halftime.

That’s when Portsmouth came to life. The Clippers tallied four goals in the final three minutes of the half – three of them by Emily Whitney in a 34-second span – to make it an 11-6 game at the break.

Portsmouth continued its run into the second half, scoring four of the first five goals, part of an 8-1 run. Emily Fregeau scored with 14:33 left in the game to cut the Cardinals’ lead to 12-10 and Cote took a timeout.

“I wouldn’t say it was nervousness, but I was anxious,” Cote said of watching Portsmouth cut into his team’s lead. “I was frustrated watching how it happened. I know my kids and I could see that they knew what they needed to do.”

The Cardinals were finally able to slow the Clippers down, but Fregeau scored again with 7:41 left to make it a one-goal game.

Bishop Guertin was finally able to maintain possession, and a goal by Pettiglio with 3:47 to play stopped Portsmouth’s run. Lambert scored two minutes later to give the Cardinals some breathing room and Santos finished off the scoring, making it 15-11 with two seconds to play.