Kylie Delaplane of GFS (right) shields the ball from Norwood’s Ashley Lynch. (Photo by Chris Thistle)

by Tom Utescher

Germantown Friends’ middle school varsity scored the first goal of each half in last Monday’s non-league lacrosse game, but in between the home fans for the Tigers saw visiting Norwood Fontbonne Academy find the back of the net nine times. After building their eight-point halftime lead, the Bears cruised to a 16-5 victory.

NFA arrived on School House Lane with a 2-0 record, having defeated Waldron Mercy Academy within the Girls Catholic Academies League, and Springside Chestnut Hill outside of the conference. Germantown Friends (3-1) had played four rival Friends Schools League squads, beating Abington Friends, Academy of the New Church, and Westtown and succumbing to Shipley.

GFS has a very long tradition in girls’ lacrosse, but while the sport was almost unknown in Catholic grade schools just a few decades ago, institutions such as Norwood now have many students who play for club teams as well as for those at their schools.

Last Monday Norwood received five goals apiece from eighth-graders Maggie Woolley (two assists) and Mia Ferraro, a hat trick from eighth-grader Elise Smigiel, two goals from seventh-grader Charlotte Hodgson, and one from eighth-grader Ashley Lynch.

From their club activities, a number of the Norwood girls know GFS seventh-grader Alexa Hanson, who would score all five GFS goals and who got the scoreboard rolling with a shot from the right side of the arc with three-and-a-half minutes elapsed.

A little over a minute later, the tally was 1-1 after Smigiel cut across the goal from right to left and found a corner of the cage. Six minutes in, the visitors went ahead for good on a shot by Woolley. The ball was initially blocked by GFS seventh-grade goalie Samantha Egner (seven saves) but then rolled over the line.

Norwood’s Mia Ferraro (right), who will play for Penn Charter next year, is chased by GFS Tigers as she heads upfield. (Photo by Chris Thistle)

There was a lull in the scoring after that, and NFA’s eighth-grade netminder, Sophia Giovannone (four saves) stopped a shot that could’ve pulled the Tigers back into a tie.

Instead, the scoring for Norwood resumed with a drive from the left by Smigiel which started off a seven-goal run by the Bears in the last 12 minutes of the first half. Another goal by Smigiel and two by Woolley followed to make it 6-1, then Ferraro dodged past GFS defenders for her first two goals of the day.

With just under four minutes remaining, Norwood’s Hodgson completed the scoring in the first half. GFS threatened at the end, but Giovannone came up with a save for the visitors with just over a minute to play.

In the initial five-and-a-half minutes of the second half, the Tigers’ Hanson sandwiched two goals around one by Woolley to make it 10-3. The Bears then asserted themselves once more with three consecutive strikes, courtesy of Woolley, Ferraro, and Hodgson.

A shot from just outside the crease by Hanson gave GFS a third goal near the middle of the period for a 13-4 tally, but Norwood answered with three more markers of its own to reach its final total.

First, Lynch drove through the middle to deposit a bounce shot, then Ferraro penetrated in from the right to score. Ferraro then struck again, moving into the arc to receive a long pass from near midfield by Smigiel.

Germantown Friends had the final word, as Hanson shot into the Bears’ cage from close range with 2:47 to go.

Seventh-grader Campbell Donovan contributed to the flow of the Norwood attack, and NFA coaches praised the defensive efforts of eighth-graders Clare Gimpel and Caroline Kyle in front of Giovannone.