Lady Spartans win third straight title

March 19, 2010
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The St. Mary’s High School girls hockey team left no doubt that it is the No. 1 team in Massachusetts, skating to a convincing 7-2 victory over Woburn in the Division 1 final Sunday night at the TD Garden in Boston.

Senior captain Courtney White and junior forward Sabrina Iannetti each scored two goals to power the Lady Spartans to their third consecutive state championship.

Erin McAndrews, Courtney Winters, and Alison Butler also scored for the Lady Spartans (25-0-1), who extended their state-record streak to 77 games in a row without a loss.

Freshman goaltender Sarah Foss wrapped up her first varsity season with another strong outing, while defensemen Michelle Macchione, Meaghan Spurling, Rachel Donahoe, Angela Dandreo, Mia Maccario, Hannah Quinn and Madison Molea helped keep Woburn’s offense in check and create a wide territorial advantage for the Spartans in the game.

St. Mary’s head coach Frank Pagliuca and assistant coaches Kevin MacDonald and Michelle Roach joined their players on the ice for the trophy presentation ceremony and team celebration and photo as their fans cheered, perhaps knowing that they were witnessing an achievement that may never be matched in Massachusetts girls high school hockey.

“It’s a great feeling to win a state championship,” said Pagliuca. “I’m so fortunate to be able to coach such a great bunch of kids on and off the ice. I’m just very proud of them, especially the seniors [Courtney White, Courtney Winters, Erin McAndrews, Michelle Macchione, and Liz Giacchino]. I know how badly they wanted to go out on top.”

Woburn took a 1-0 lead on a Colleen Martel goal at the 11:28 mark and hoped to carry some momentum into the locker room. But Courtney White denied the Tanners that spark when she tied the game at 1-1 with 56 seconds left in the first period.

“That goal was huge,” said Pagliuca. “Courtney really ignited the team with that goal to make it 1-1.”

At midseason Pagliuca had made a decision to shake up his lines. He placed Courtney White on a line centering Sabrina Iannetti and Alison Butler and they clicked marvelously in the second half of the season and throughout the postseason.

Iannetti was simply sensational in the State Tournament, following up a heroic hat trick performance in a come-from-behind 4-3 win over Hingham with two more goals in the state championship game.

“Once Sabrina flicked the switch on, she was tremendous,” said Pagliuca. “She has the ability to play on a different level and she was just superb in the State Tournament.”

Iannetti broke the 1-1 deadlock with a breakaway goal early in the second period, artfully deking the Woburn goalie and backhanding the puck into the net.

White converted a rebound for a 3-1 lead before Iannetti struck paydirt again on a shot just inside the blue line for a 4-1 lead.

Woburn scored late in the second period to close the gap to 4-2, but McAndrews, Butler, and Winters scored goals in the final period to lock up the victory. Marisa Maccario, Michelle Macchione, Meghan Spurling, Courtney White, and Madison Molea earned assists in the final period.

Up and down the St. Mary’s lineup there were solid contributions all season.

Catholic Central League Most Valuable Player Courtney Winters Erin McAndrews, and freshman Marisa Maccario formed a potent line that brought All-Stars recognition to all three players.

The line of Bridget Donovan, Mikaela Donovan, and Genevieve Benoit played consistent two-day hockey throughout the Spartans’ run to the state title.

Eighth graders Ann Marie Manganiello, Gina Manganiello, and Gabrielle Crugnale displayed their considerable potential in their introduction to varsity-level competition.

Pagliuca said the quest of getting back to the Garden and winning a state championship superceded maintaining the team’s winning streak.

“Winning a state championship was our No. 1 goal heading into the season,” said Pagliuca. “They wanted to get back to the Garden. The only win streak that this team was concerned about was winning four games in a row in the State Tournament.”

But as it turns out, the Lady Spartans returned to the Garden, reclaimed their state championship throne for another year – and an undefeated streak continues in to next season.

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