by Tom Utescher
Springside Chestnut Hill Academy’s Sinéad Brierley and Penn Charter’s Avery Shoemaker, both juniors, scored five goals apiece in last Tuesday’s Inter-Ac League lacrosse match, but host SCH generated a lot more offense overall and the Blue Devils notched a 19-10 victory.
SCH, which led 11-3 at the half, had sophomores Natalie Schwartz and Mikaela Watson shoot four and three goals, respectively, and fellow 10th-grader Elsa Rall made 11 saves in the cage as the Devils leveled their league record at 1-1 and improved to 2-1 overall in official games.
Penn Charter, which netted half of its points in the final eight minutes, marked down a hat trick for freshman Courtney Cubbin, but the loss in their Inter-Ac opener dropped the Quakers to an overall mark of 1-3. Junior goalie Maddie Mahoney made nine stops for Charter.
“It was a great team effort; everyone played hard and contributed,” noted Blue Devils coach Alex Kahoe.
For Kahoe’s club, it was the first game back home following a training trip during spring break.
“It was nice to have the team for a whole week, just focusing on our game as a team and having individuals be able to concentrate on their lacrosse. We saw improvement in our transition game, and we worked very well together in transition today.”
In the opening minute, SCH sophomore Meg McCool fired in the first of her two goals for the day, but PC’s Shoemaker evened things up just 62 seconds into the action, driving through the arc to score.
After that, the Blue Devils shut out the PC offense for more than 15 minutes, while netting eight goals themselves to go up, 9-1. Brierley scored three times during this outburst, while junior Maddy Aslansan deposited both of her goals for the day.
Junior Carlin Rode found the net during this sequence, as well. Both she and fellow attacker Winter Chernak (the team’s only senior) played with confidence, scooping up loose balls and rebounds and helping set up their teammates as the Devils ran their offense.
During the last eight minutes of the first half, Shoemaker broke Charter’s drought and Cubbin converted off an assist from sophomore Hannah Fox, but with SCH adding goals by Watson and Schwartz, the visitors were still down by nine at halftime, 11-3.
“One of the main things we’re trying to focus on is not having to climb out of these holes in our games,” said PC coach Alex Casey, whose team had been a slow starter on other occasions, too. “We show a spark and we show our talent later in the game, but we’ve let the other team get too far ahead.”
It wouldn’t be until late in the game that PC would display that spark. Springside Chestnut Hill came out for the second half and had Brierley bag her fourth goal in the opening minute, and over the first 15 minutes the Blue Devils upped their advantage to an even dozen, at 17-5. Freshman Taylor Ferry joined the list of scorers for the home team, while Charter’s Fox added a goal to her earlier assist.
With 8:17 remaining, Shoemaker drove in from out in the flat on the right side to score for the visitors, and after that goal was answered by the Blue Devils’ Brierley on a free-position shot, PC put in four straight. Cubbin started this series with four-and-a-half minutes left to play, and after Shoemaker recorded her fourth and fifth marker of the afternoon, senior Julia Fleming came from behind the cage on the left to deposit Charter’s 10th goal. SCH had the last word though, as freshman Morgan Fitton-Zellers, normally a deep defender, came up to score in the final minute.
“It’s always good to have that many different people who are a threat to score,” the Blue Devils’ Kahoe said.
A former collegiate All-American goalkeeper, Kahoe also praised her team’s netminder, Rall, who came up with some stops at junctures when Penn Charter might have gathered some momentum with a goal.
She stated, “Elsa’s the backbone to our defense, and they played pretty well together as a group.”
Penn Charter’s Casey would like to see her charges play aggressive defense more consistently.
“When we get out and pressure the ball, we’re a completely different defensive unit,” she noted. “We can’t keep starting out just sitting back and letting the opposing attack dictate the tone of the game. We have a new group of girls and one thing that’s hurt us a bit is a lack of communication. We’re still feeling out how everyone plays together.”