Orr A Major Key For Ashland Girls Lacrosse Squad

Ken Hamwey, Staff Sports Writer
Issue Date: 
May, 2019
Article Body: 

Lily Orr is in her third year as Ashland High’s starting goaltender and she’s acutely aware that if the Clockers’ lacrosse team hopes to be a playoff participant next month, then much of the pressure to secure a tournament berth will be on her shoulders.
The 5-foot-2 senior tri-captain, who’s been a starter since her sophomore year, is a talented net-minder. After her first season, she was voted the team’s unsung hero. Then, she became a captain after her junior year. Now in her final season of interscholastic lacrosse, the 17-year-old is striving to achieve one high-priority objective — end Ashland’s four-year tourney drought. At Local Town Pages deadline, the Clockers were 1-2, losing to Acton-Boxboro and Hopkinton, and defeating Norwood.
“It’s time to break the ice,’’ Orr said. “Last year, we missed the tourney by one game. We’ve been building a team that’s improved and if we can qualify this time, it’ll be a huge success. It’s a realistic goal but we’ll need everyone to give 100 percent and to be totally focused. A playoff berth would change the culture of Ashland lacrosse.’’
As a goalie, it’s obvious Orr is in a position that has influence — on the Clockers’ record and ultimately Ashland’s future. Pressure is inherent in the position she plays.
“There is pressure associated with playing goal,’’ said Orr, who had 43 saves in Ashland’s first three matches. “And, since we haven’t qualified for the tourney for four years, there is some extra pressure. But, I strive to work well under pressure and I try to rise to the occasion. Before every game, I just try to stay calm and focus on what I have to achieve.’’
Jessica Spencer, who’s in her third year as Ashland’s coach, admires Orr’s strengths and is quick to acknowledge them. “Lily’s heart is in the right place,’’ Spencer said. “She learned the position right away and her effort and work ethic are excellent. She makes the tough save, is technically skilled, her stick-work is sound, she’s quick, anticipates well and has a high lacrosse IQ.’’
Orr, who was Ashland’s starting goalie in soccer last fall, knows how to communicate and she’s developed outstanding field vision.
“The goalie is the last line of defense’’ Orr emphasized. “But, a goalie has the best vision of what’s occurring. I’ve gained lots of training on the job and learned how to control the ball. Where I can keep improving is being ready for shots that are low and bounce. And, I can always improve communication with my defenders.’’
An individual goal Orr is striving to reach is improvement of her save percentage. A save percentage of 50 is a capable norm many goaltenders aim for. In her first two seasons, Orr averaged 42 percent but this year she’s at 54 percent. “Two of my best games were against Medway as a sophomore and as a junior,’’ she said. “We lost by one goal my soph season and by two as a junior. My save percentage for both those matches was 65.’’
A native of Ashland, Orr was thrilled when she was selected to be a captain and she’s led by example, by being vocal and by being supportive. “I’ve been vocal right along, especially when I talk to our defenders,’’ she said. “I’m approachable and will always strive to connect with younger players.’’
Three veteran teammates she admires and counts on are senior captains Caitlin Curran (attack) and Maddie Norfolk (defender) and senior defender Emily Henault. “Caitlin is aggressive, powerful and reliable,’’ Orr noted. “Maddie is smart, a leader on defense and a solid communicator. Emily is very aggressive, has experience and also has a high lacrosse IQ.’’
Orr has a high regard for Spencer and the job she’s done at Ashland. “Coach Spencer is welcoming, connects well with players, knows the game and is a terrific motivator,’’ Orr said. “And, assistant coach Allen Kline has helped me with the technical part of goaltending. He analyzes my games and provides feedback.’’
An honor-roll student, Orr is a student-council member who also is involved with a variety of clubs. Accepted by eight colleges, Orr has decided to attend Assumption where she’ll major in secondary education and may also play lacrosse.
Calling her parents (Sarah and Michael) role models for their support and encouragement, Orr relies on an athletic philosophy that stresses winning and reaching one’s potential. But, she also believes that an athlete must enjoy a competitive experience.
“There are valuable life lessons one can learn in sports,’’ she emphasized. “Working as a team and being disciplined are important,’’ Orr said. “But, developing mental toughness is most important. To be resilient and bounce back from adversity are a must when playing in goal. If I’m not mentally tough after I allow a goal or two, then I’ll probably give up more goals.’’
Hoping to increase her save percentage is an objective she’s aiming for but Orr also wants to strive for three other personal goals — wrap up her high-school career by becoming more technically sound; be a captain who’s a quality role model; and post a shutout. Four times Orr has guided Ashland to victories in matches where she allowed only one goal.
Orr, however, would gladly trade individual achievements for a date in the playoffs. The journey to the tourney is a huge challenge but Lily Orr is willing to roll up her sleeves and strive to earn what has been an elusive goal.