by Tom Utescher
Last Tuesday the girls of Germantown Friends cruised into their customary berth in the Friends Schools League lacrosse tournament finals. Fueled by six goals from Annie Tyson and four goals and four assists from fellow senior Greta Meyer, the second-seeded Tigers eliminated visiting Moorestown Friends, the three seed, 17-6.
Defending league champ GFS moved on to face its traditional opponent in the championship game, Friends Central. The Phoenix, the league runner-up in 2014, secured the number one seed for this year’s FLS playoffs with a 7-0 regular-season record that included a 16-11 victory over Germantown.
In the other semifinal match last Tuesday, FC devastated fourth-seeded Shipley School, 17-2.
A month earlier, GFS had won its regular-season bout against Moorestown by a 16-6 score, but it had taken some time for the Tigers to really get the game under control.
“I think in our last match against them we didn’t play our best game, so we wanted to send a message today,” Meyer remarked after Tuesday’s win.
A Chestnut Hill resident who will continue her lacrosse career at Stanford University, Meyer related, “One thing we’ve been struggling with a little this season is maintaining a lead, and not losing our momentum and giving up a run [of consecutive goals] to the other team. We’re super happy with what we did today – we didn’t let up.”
The previous Tuesday, there had been another confidence-builder for the Tigers. Although they lost the match, they gave a very good account of themselves against perennial Inter-Ac League power Episcopal Academy, succumbing 15-13.
“They’ve always been on the radar as one of the best teams in the Philadelphia area, so it was good for us to be able to match up well against them,” Meyer said.
In Tuesday’s FSL semifinal, the two teams were not very well-matched. Meyer brought the ball down off of the opening draw to score, and a little over four minutes into the action, Tyson already had a hat trick in the books. Moorestown’s first shot was a sort of lob that didn’t come very near to the goal or to another MFS player, and the Foxes’ second attempt caromed off the cross bar.
Two free position goals by Germantown’s Meyer followed to make it 6-0 before Moorestown’s talented freshman center, Alexis Watson, got the visitors on the board with 15:07 remaining in the first half. At the intermission the Tigers would be up 10-1, as Tyson struck two more times and GFS got single goals from junior Isabel Schmidt and from senior Ava Schwemler. Schwemler is a Norwood Fontbonne Academy graduate who has signed with the University of Vermont.
Over the first six minutes of the second half, markers by Moorestown’s Katy Repholz and Erin Chen were sandwiched around Tyson’s sixth of the day. After that, Meyer, her freshman sister Celia, and sophomore Sophie Smith each tossed the ball into the Foxes’ den, driving the lead into double digits (14-3) and putting the running clock rule into effect at the scoring table.
After that the Tigers simply traded goals with the Foxes during the last 15 minutes to arrive at the final reckoning of 17-6. Katy Repholz led the Moorestown attack with three goals, and goalie Laila VanCleve made four saves.
Smith finished with a hat trick for the victors, who got single goals from Schmidt, Schwemler, Celia Meyer, and sophomore Livia Pinover. Freshman keeper Corin Grady made seven saves in the GFS goal.
“Corin has done great in goal,” stated Greta Meyer. “She’s still a freshman and there’s a lot of pressure because she’s our only goalie.”
Meyer noted that in the center circle, Schmidt and senior Ellie Chalphin have alternated at taking the draws. This has required some adjustment for the GFS players, but even more for the team’s opponents.
On the brink of a Division I college career, Meyer wants to keep raising the performance level for herself and her Tiger teammates.
“We want to keep the pace high, and work really hard in transition,” she said. “Even if we’re stalling on offense, we want to make sure our attack is dynamic. If a play we call doesn’t work, I like it when we can go right into something else just on instinct, instead of having to set things up all over again.”