SCORING STRUGGLES: Gloucester Girls Lacrosse give up defensive battle at Winthrop |

The Gloucester and Winthrop women’s lacrosse teams gave their best on the defensive side of the field in Thursday’s North Eastern Conference cross battle.

Goals were hard to come by on both sides with great defensive positioning and goaltenders from Fishermen and Vikings. In the end, Winthrop was stronger on the ground balls and more efficient in transition en route to a 5-2 win at Newell Stadium.

While Gloucester have played well at times, the side have been hit with their fifth consecutive defeat and fall to 4-5 this season.

“It was a fair game for the most part,” said Gloucester head coach Neil Costa. “We’ve been playing really well defensively, but we’ve struggled to get the ball out on our own side lately. Winthrop has done a really good job defending through transition and forcing turnovers to get more possessions.”

The Fishermen’s defense was on their game on Wednesday, containing a quick attack from Winthrop with excellent footwork in their zone pattern.

Olivia Testaverde and Cameron MacDonald led the way on the Gloucester defense while Ella Zindle was in goal as usual, making several tough saves and controlling the crease with nine saves.

“We have a new defensive scheme this year, the kids are still getting used to it but are playing very well,” Costa said. “We made them work for their goals and we were in the right position all night. It was good to play a team (NEC Dunn) competitively like that, we just have to work to generate more chances in attack .”

Winthrop thrived in battles for the ground balls near the Gloucester net as the visitors generated several second-chance opportunities to build an early lead he wouldn’t give up.

Mia Martucci found the back of the net twice and Emma Holmes scored to give the Vikings a 3-0 lead at the break.

Gloucester struggled to find many quality scoring chances, particularly in the first half when Winthrop’s midfielder swarmed the home side in transition, forcing disputed passes into traffic and only allowed only two shots on goal in the first 25 minutes.

The Fishermen finally entered the scoreboard two minutes into the second half when they managed to string together a few passes in transition, leading to Sophia Costa scoring from a pass from Ella Costa to reduce the deficit at 3-1.

Winthrop, however, scored the next two goals with Holmes and Talia Martucci extended the lead to 5-1 with over 17 minutes remaining in the second half. Sophia Costa scored her second of the game with 15:30 to go to make it 5-2, but Winthrop’s defense prevented Gloucester from scoring another. Vikings keeper Adrianna Rizzotto had a big second half with four of her six saves, preventing Gloucester from getting closer to striking distance.

The Fishermen will look to break their five-game skid Saturday at home to Danvers (4:30 p.m.), an NEC Lynch Division matchup.