WALTHAM – In person and on the sidelines, Michelle Feenstra is soft spoken and reserved. But that all changes when she steps on a lacrosse field, so says Alisa Arakelian, Feenstra’s coach for the annual Bay State Summer Games.
The Lexington resident and rising sophomore at is among the youngest of dozens of girls competing in the lacrosse tournament this week. On the Metro squad, she’s one of just two players to recently finish freshman year.
“It’s really fun. Our team, it’s not the biggest, but we all have fun together and are really connecting,” Feenstra said on Saturday, after she helped Metro defeat the Northeast/Central squad 18-11 during the second day of competition at Waltham High School.
While Feenstra speaks barely above a whisper, it’s her play that does most of the talking when she’s on the field. Arakelian said Feenstra demonstrated a strong presence through Metro’s first two games of the tournament (it lost 15-10 to the squad from the Southeast/Coastal region on Friday).
“She’s still, you know, kind of quiet. I think that’s what it comes down to,” Arakelian said. “She’s a quiet player, but she’s a phenomenal presence in the midfield. She’s a really great team-oriented player, she’s got a great attitude and she’s very coachable.”
Feenstra didn’t score any of the 18 goals the Metro team pumped in the net on Saturday, but she still contributed. With just two substitutions, Arakelian got all of her girls plenty of playing time, and Feenstra more than held her own against opponents that are older, more experienced and bigger.
She’s listed in the Bay State Games program at 5-foot-4. By comparison, teammate Shannon Fitzgerald, a rising sophomore at Newton North High School is listed at 5-10.
But nothing seems to faze Feenstra once she leaves the sidelines.
“You don’t really notice,” she said. “No one really judges you by your abilities or your age.”
Metro’s victory over the Northeast/Central was a slugfest on Saturday morning.
Hometown rising senior Michelle Kudlate of Waltham High School was the star of the game with seven goals for Metro. Fitzgerald added six, while Jordan Sullivan of Malden and Mystic Valley Charter scored three times. Bridget Wack of Waltham High School and Kayla Farina of Newton North had one goal a piece.
For Northeast/Central, Katie McKenna of Danvers High School had four goals, Meredith Anthoine of Andover and Central Catholic High School had two and five girls scored once each.
Brenna McDonald of Watertown High School was Metro’s goalie, while Sadie Landon of Leominster High School was between the pipes for Northeast/Central.
Both teams ripped off impressive goal-scoring runs. Metro had a run of six straight goals that spanned the first and second halves, while Northeast/Central answered back with four straight scores.
Midway through the second half, Northeast/Central pulled within one at 12-11, which was the closest the game had been since it was tied 5-all with about 10 minutes left in the first half. It was too close for Arakelian, who called time out and gathered her team on the sideline.
“I sort of tried to go a little inspirational,” she said. “I told them that it was hot out for us, it was hot out for them, the calls are going both ways and it comes down to if you can dig that competitive edge out of yourself from down deep then that’s what’s going to win the game for you.”
Well, her Knute Rockne impression worked, as the Metro team launched one more run to seal the victory. It scored the game’s final six goals after the time out, controlling the play and keeping Northeast/Central at bay.
“I said, ‘I don’t want you to answer me right now. I want you to answer me on the field if you want to win or not,’” Arakelian said of her pep talk. “So I said get out there and show me. And they did.”
Metro was scheduled to play again Saturday evening at 5 p.m. The Gold Medal Game and the Bronze Medal Game are slated to be held at Waltham High School Sunday afternoon.