by Tom Utescher
Four players scored three or more goals for host Germantown Academy last Friday, as the Patriots’ girls lacrosse team turned away traditional rival and fellow Inter-Ac League member Penn Charter, 21-7.
Depositing the last two goals of the first half to trail 11-5 at the interlude, the Quakers were still half-a-dozen points back six minutes into the second period (13-7), but then GA ran off the last eight goals of the afternoon.
GA senior Emilie Van Blarcom logged a game-high five goals and classmate Hanna Bogorowski piled up four goals and five assists. Sophomore Betsy Prezioso also added four goals to the winners’ cause, and senior Jen Stack finished with a hat trick. In goal, junior Allie Carrigan made nine saves to help the Pats improve to 5-3 in the Inter-Ac and 8-6 overall.
Penn Charter received two goals apiece from senior Lauren Matt, junior Avery Shoemaker and sophomore Meredith Chernak. Junior starter Maddie Mahoney registered eight saves in goal, and freshman understudy Jamilla Buie also saw action and made one stop for the Quakers, who slipped to 1-8 in the league and 3-11 against all opponents.
For both teams the outcome of Friday’s encounter represented a reversal of fortune from league games they had played on Tuesday afternoon. That day, Penn Charter had avenged an earlier 11-16 loss to the Academy of Notre Dame, receiving two goals apiece from four different players as it registered its first league victory, edging the host Irish, 10-9.
GA was also playing on the Main Line the same afternoon, falling 13-14 to a Baldwin School squad that is in the lower half of the Inter-Ac standings. Prezioso rattled off nine goals for the Patriots, but the Bears held the rest of the Germantown attack in check.
Longtime GA coach Ginny Hofmann related that after that setback, “The girls themselves had a meeting to talk about it, and then we asked each of them to think about the best games they’ve had so far, and what they did and how they got themselves mentally prepared.
“We just needed to put that loss behind us and move on,” she added. “One lesson it taught us, though, is that we can’t take anyone in the league lightly, and we knew that Penn Charter had played a good game on Tuesday.”
After Prezioso opened the scoring last Friday with a bounce shot in the first minute and Bogorowski followed up with a free-position goal from the center hashmark, GA would hold the lead the rest of the way. With the game still under three minutes old, PC’s Shoemaker drove in to score off of a free position beyond the arc, but over the next nine minutes the Patriots built a 6-2 advantage.
Stack had the last goal in this string, while Prezioso added three more goals to her icebreaker.
“She has a wicked shot, puts a lot of speed on the ball,” GA’s Hofmann said of the sophomore attacker. “She picked up where she’d left off the game before, and fired in a couple of quick goals that got us off to a good start.”
Charter had picked up its second goal with a variation on a high-low basketball play, with Shoemaker passing the ball down through the middle to find Chernak posted near the front of the goal.
For a time, PC replaced its starting keeper, Mahoney, with Buie. At the other end of the field, GA’s Carrigan foiled a free-position attempt by Quakers junior Justine Kimbel to keep the tally at 6-2. A transition sequence for GA ended with a second straight goal for Stack with 7:52 to go in the first half, and in the next minute the visitors answered as Matt cradled in from the left, raised her stick high, and slipped the ball under the crossbar.
The Germantown keeper, Carrigan, kept Charter from establishing offensive momentum by turning aside an attempt by Shoemaker and also a quick follow-up shot as the clock dipped under six minutes. PC hit a pipe and had some near misses in the first half, as well.
The Patriots further separated themselves on markers by Bogorowski, Van Blarcom, junior Allie Cannon, and finally another by Van Blarcom as the tally rose to 11-3 with under two minutes left in the first period.
The Quakers would put themselves in a better position by halftime, though. With 1:14 on the clock, senior Julia Fleming swept in from the left flank, skirted the crease and scored from just beyond the right post. PC went back down on offense, and from out in the flat to the right of the goal, sophomore Hannah Fox saw her classmate, Chernak, offering her stick at the near side of the crease. A well-placed lob pass set up a redirecting quick stick shot by Chernak with 11 seconds to go, making it 11-5 at the break.
“At halftime we talked a little bit about giving up those two goals at the end,” Hofmann said. “We wanted to come out strong in the second half and reestablish our control of the game.”
PC was able to match Germantown’s first two goals in the second half. After the first of two strikes by Van Blarcom, Fox brought the ball down off the draw for the Quakers and dropped it of to Matt for the senior’s second goal of the game. A stretch of sustained offense by the Patriots (who were recovering their own rebounds) ended with a successful attempt by Van Blarcom, then Shoemaker responded for the visitors, setting the count at 13-7 with 17:50 left to play.
Before that minute was up, Bogorowski started the Patriots off on their final scoring spree, doubling up the Quakers at 14-7. This marker was followed by a period of offense for PC lasting for several minutes, but the visitors could not find the back of the net.
Eventually, GA regained possession and with a little over 10 minutes to go senior Cooper Hall scored from near the right post off of a feed from the same side by Bogorowski.
The Pats dominated play the rest of the way, as a pair of goals by sophomore Caroline Sloane and single strikes by Van Blarcom, Stack, and freshman Alison Crump raised the home total to 21.
Seemingly back on track, GA will now strive for the best finish it can achieve within the Inter-Ac as well as a relatively high seed in the Pa. Independent Schools Championships. Despite PC’s struggles on the scoreboard, the Quakers seem in relatively good spirits and enjoy playing together. This will be important as the program moves forward under first-year head coach Alex Casey, who is the third skipper Charter has had during the last four seasons.