by Tom Utescher
For the victorious girls lacrosse team at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, the first name of the high scorer in Thursday’s non-league game was Kitty, and Katz was the last name of the most prolific player for visiting Shipley School.
Senior Sophie Katz pumped in six goals for the Gators, but Shipley only got two goals from its other players, and Kitty Morrissey’s five goals paced a better-balanced attack for the host Blue Devils, who won 13-8.
Both athletes are headed to Duke University; Morrissey has accepted an athletic scholarship there, while Katz is contemplating playing club lacrosse at the North Carolina school.
SCH received two goals apiece from senior Taylor Wrubel and freshman Mikaela Watson as its record leveled out at 3-3 overall. There were single goals by junior Winter Chernak, sophomore Carlin Rode, and freshmen Megan McCool and Natalie Schwartz, while freshman goalie Elsa Rall made eight saves.
“We put in different line-ups, trying a lot of people out, and they supported each other well as a team,” said head coach Allison Thomas.
Shipley, a young team that is regrouping, fell to 0-4 on the season. The Gators had not yet started in on their Friends Schools League schedule, but SCH, on the other hand, had played its third Girls Inter-Ac game two days earlier, falling to longtime league power Episcopal Academy by a score of 14-8.
The previous week, Springside Chestnut Hill defeated Agnes Irwin, 14-12, and Episcopal beat the Irwin Owls, 10-7. With similar margins of victory over a common opponent in back-to-back games, one might have expected a close contest between the Devils and the EA, but it didn’t turn out that way. The Churchwomen cruised after amassing a 10-2 halftime lead, and SCH’s Thomas felt that her charges didn’t start to show their true capabilities until very late in the game.
“The girls just seem to be very timid when they hear the name Episcopal,” said the first-year coach. “I told them this year Episcopal is definitely beatable by us; we have the tools to do it. We had a long talk after the game and I asked them what they want from this season, if they want to be better than they have been. If they do they need to play 100 percent in every single game.”
A few weeks before last Thursday’s SCH/Shipley game, the same Agnes Irwin squad that the Blue Devils defeated had blasted the Gators, 16-1. However, Springside Chestnut Hill did not find it quite so easy to dominate the Bryn Mawr ballclub.
Morrissey matched the opening goal by Shipley’s Katz, then an entry pass by Sinéad Brierley found Wrubel just outside the crease and she hit the upper right corner. Katz fired an equalizer to make it 2-2 with 17 minutes left in the first period, then SCH took the lead for good as Morrissey, Watson, and Chernak fueled a 3-0 run for the hosts.
Katz, who accounted for the Gators’ first five goals in the match, took an assist from Carlie Ladda to complete a natural hat trick and close up the score to 5-3, but four different players tallied for the Blue Devils after that as they assumed a 9-3 halftime lead.
Shipley never seriously challenged for the lead after the intermission, but did outpoint the home team 5-4 in the second period. SCH had one goal called back due to an offsides violation, and sophomore Francesca Fabiani hit the goal posts with strong shots once in each half.
The Blue Devils still demonstrated some shortcomings in their ability to control the tempo of a game in which they have the lead, and they never really managed to shut down the Gators’ one serious scoring threat, Katz.
“We were supposed to have a player always marking her and then double her when she drove,” Thomas explained, “but when we got ahead comfortably we kind of got distracted and didn’t stick to the plan. We still need to be more disciplined in possessing the ball, and our midfield marking was inconsistent.”
The Blue Devils certainly appear to have the athletic ability and the basic skills to improve on last year’s 4-8 Inter-Ac record, but in order to do that they will have to reduce their lapses in focus and intensity.