Women’s Lacrosse survives overtime thriller against Westfield State

Carlos Silva/ THE GATEPOST

Riding a four-game winning streak, the Rams traveled to Fitchburg to face off against their conference rivals April 13. 

The Falcons struck first, but Framingham responded with six straight goals from five different players. Two of the goals came from Nicole Pacheco, both assisted by Shae Riley.

Fitchburg scored once more before the Rams put up two goals to close out the first half, taking an 8-2 lead.

Framingham stretched their lead to 11-2 in the first 11 minutes of the second half, with goals from Grace Gamache, Tara Palermo, and Alissa Marino. 

Fitchburg struck next before each team traded off goals for the rest of the game, leading to a 15-5 victory for Framingham. 

Palermo and Pacheco led the way for the Rams with three goals each. Indigo Fox Tree-McGrath picked up her 10th win on the season. 

The Rams’ next matchup came on the following Tuesday against Westfield State.

Framingham saw production across the board, but was led by Gamache, who came away with three goals and two assists. 

Gamache controlled the outcome of the game from start to finish. She scored the opening goal and assisted on a Hanna McMahon one-timer goal, sending the game to overtime in the final two minutes of play. 

With Westfield leading 9-8 and little time remaining, Gamache stood on the side of the Owls’ net and waited for an opportunity. She found McMahon in front of the goal, and she handled the rest.

“It was the best feeling in the world,” Gamache said. “I was waiting for the right moment. [Coach] said be patient – get the right shot off. I saw the open cutter and fed it to her.”

In the final seconds of regulation, the Framingham defense held their own, keeping Westfield from scoring the go-ahead goal. 

Once overtime came, the Rams dominated, controlling the ball up and down the field.

“We’ve never been in an overtime game. It was nerve-wracking,” Gamache said. “But we were definitely prepared for it.”

After starting the game off with a goal and assisting on the goal to send the game into overtime, Gamache fed the ball to Palermo, who dumped it into the back of the net to seal the 10-9 win for the Rams.

The Rams handled the biggest moments of the game with solid teamwork, resulting in success. 

Head Coach James Rippey said, “Certainly in these close games, you don’t win without team effort, without believing in each other and fighting for each other.” 

He added, “This is not a one-person show – you don’t win these games without everyone working together and coming together.”

 Gamache said, “We’ve really come together as a team. We feed off each other’s energy and work really well together.” 

She added, “If you look at all of our stats, most of our goals are off assists, which shows how much of a team we are and how much we play together.”

Gamache was the clear MVP of a game that was full of solid work from the Rams’ whole team.

Rippey said, “There’s a lot of things she does offensively that helps us. It’s been great to have her with us, to continue to build our team and build our offense through her.” 

In addition to Gamache, multiple Rams filled the stat sheet.

Palermo, Hanna McMahon, and Jenna McMahon all had two goals in the game. Marino also had a goal of her own. 

The Framingham defense was crucial to the victory as they shut down Westfield in the final eight minutes of play and all through overtime. 

Rippey said, “You gotta give credit to the defense and our subs coming off the bench, playing big minutes, and keeping us fresh.” 

With the win, Framingham has now redeemed itself for last season’s MASCAC Championship loss to Westfield. 

Gamache said, “We’ve never beaten Westfield, so it’s a really good feeling. We lost to them in the championship last year, so it’s the best feeling.”

The Rams have now won six straight games and are sitting at the top of the MASCAC. 

Rippey said, “This is a special team win.”

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