WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — It took four games for Westborough field hockey to net its first goal, but Friday's 3-1 victory over Marlborough jump-started the Rangers offense, said captain Jenna Casello.
"We had a tough time in the beginning of the season, but after we got the win on Wednesday, we're really taking off now," said Casello, who scored the Rangers' first goal late in the first half off a pass from sophomore Vishali Malik.
The lack of offense came with three out-of-conference losses to begin the season. Coach Colleen Debish said she was worried the rough start would cause her players to lose confidence, but following Wednesday's shutout of Groton and moving to 2-0 in Mid-Wach play, she likes the direction her team is headed.
"It's my job to say we're still focusing on getting better every time we step on the field — practice and games," Debish said, noting that her team is still learning with just three returning starters from 2011. "I'm pleased with the kids today. It's nice to end the week on this. ... They had to earn it today. [One goal] is not a comfortable lead in this sport to say the least."
After Casello's goal, Marlborough was able to tie the score early in the second half when Marlborough's Jocelyn Dion sent a bouncing ball toward net. Goalie Emily Humphries lost track of the ball and it sneaked between her legs. That was all Humphries would let up.
Westborough's Amy Lightbody came back next, putting the ball into the net as a crowd of Rangers crashed the goal. Jenn Reilly added the insurance goal late for the final margin. Humphries said the defense has stepped up in the past two games, shutting down Groton and Marlborough.
"We've been practicing like crazy and [defense] is something we were really focusing on," she said. "I'm glad it's finally showing up in the games."
Shrewsbury 2, Westborough 0: The Colonials scored just a minute into the Mid-Wach game at Shrewsbury High School, and Westborough was never able to recover, dropping its first game of the season.
Rangers coach Michael Griffin said his team was pressing, and had chances, but couldn't score the equalizer. Shrewsbury netted its second goal in the final minute.
Westborough is 3-1-1.
Westborough 3, Algonquin 0 (25-23, 25-14, 25-21): Jessica McDermott had 27 assists, leading the Rangers to a hard-fought win over Algonquin at Westborough High School.
Junior Heather Clemmons had a strong day defensively with nine digs. Sam Kehoe contributed 11 kills and three aces.
Westborough is now 5-0.