MANSFIELD, Mass. – It was a game that saw two players reach career scoring milestones and another get significantly closer to one, as Mansfield and Sharon put on an attacking clinic Tuesday night at Alumni Field. The two teams combined for 33 goals in a game that was restarted after Monday’s storms washed out the first attempt to play it.
Katy Garvin scored eight goals and recorded three assists, moving to within seven goals of 200 for her career, and Lauren Whitman scored five times, including the 100th of her career, to power the hosts to a 19-14 win. The Hornets now need one win in their final three regular season games to qualify for the tournament.
“We’ve been trying to hammer that down the last few practice because trust me, last week they didn’t look like that,” said first-year Mansfield coach Lauryn Wilkie. “They really took it to heart. They meshed well tonight, they found the net, their passing, their movement, all come together.”
Emma Eberhardt also scored eight times, reaching 200 career goals for the Eagles exactly a year to the day after she reached the 100-goal milestone. The Hockomock League leading scorer and Lehigh University-commit has nearly 90 goals this season alone.
On Monday night, Mansfield jumped out to a quick 4-1 lead in the opening three minutes only to have thunderstorms end the game early. Twenty-four hours later, the Hornets got out to the same fast start, grabbing a three-goal lead inside 10 minutes. Eberhardt opened the scoring but Garvin, an Endicott College-commit, scored a hat trick to give the Hornets a lead they would never relinquish.
Cass Barbera got one back for the Eagles but then Mansfield caught the Eagles in transition. Abby Varricchione started the break and fed the ball to Hayleigh Crawford, who in turn found Whitman right in front for her first of the night. After Eberhardt cut the lead to two, Rose Wald (seven saves) made a big stop on Crawford to keep the deficit at two but Caitlin McCarthy (nine saves) answered back by denying Eberhardt from a free position.
Mansfield took advantage of the stop to double its lead. Crawford got back-to-back goals for the Hornets, both of them assisted by Olivia Murray. Eberhardt scored with a pair of bounced shots to get Sharon within two but the Hornets closed the half with three straight goals, two by Garvin and one from Crawford, to take control.
The Eagles got the first of the second half, with Eberhardt picking out Jenna Goldstein for a goal that made it 10-6, but then the visitors found themselves playing down a person for a long stretch after three yellow cards.
Garvin scooped a loose ball and scored a man-up goal and, after Eberhardt scored her milestone goal, she flicked a pass to a cutting Whitman for a 12-7 lead. Kerry McCabe added another and the lead was six goals. Bridget McManus scored while down a player to make it 13-8, but she also suffered an injury in the second half that knocked her out of the game.
“We’re hoping it’s nothing too serious, but she’s a really big presence everywhere on the field for us, so that was tough for us too,” said Sharon coach Shara Ginthwain.
Goals were flying in at both ends of the field. McCabe assisted on a Whitman goal but was answered by Eberhardt from a free position. Goldstein got her second and third to get back within three again but Garvin got a free position and made it count.
“I’m really proud of the girls,” Ginthwain said. “All season this team has done a really good job of pushing to come back and it didn’t happen today but they didn’t give up and that’s huge.”
Once again Eberhardt had the response, bouncing in a shot to make the score 15-12. Garvin assisted on a Whitman goal to get it right back for the hosts but Eberhardt was there again for the Eagles. Down by three, Goldstein had a chance in front but was stuffed by McCarthy. On the other end, Whitman got a chance at a free position and put it away to reach a century of goals for her career.
“Big saves at crucial moments,” Wilkie said of McCarthy. “It’s no secret that Emma is a terrific attacker. We shut down almost everyone else on the team but Katie came up big a lot.”
When asked about Whitman’s career scoring milestone, Wilkie added, “She’s been waiting for that. Lauren is the type of player that you put anywhere on the field and you trust her there. Defense, transition, midfield, those are her strengths, so for her to pull off 100 goals while she’s good at all that other stuff is just phenomenal.”
There was still three minutes left, plenty of time for a few more goals. Barbera got her second and then the Hornets finished it off with Emily Vigeant and Garvin each finding the back of the net in the closing minutes to round off the scoring.
“It kind of shows where we’re at,” Wilkie said of the win. “[Sharon] beat Bishop Feehan, beat North, and we lost to both those teams, so this shows them what kind of caliber we can be and I think it was really a good moment to get this win.”
Mansfield (8-7, 6-4) will travel to Watertown on Wednesday with the chance to clinch a playoff berth. Sharon (12-6, 6-4) will travel to Ursuline Academy looking to avenge a double overtime loss from earlier this season.
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