by Tom Utescher
Both the host Lions of Springside School and the visiting Tigers of Germantown Friends were looking to climb back towards the .500 mark when the two girls lacrosse teams met last Tuesday afternoon.
The battle of the big cat mascots was won by GFS in convincing fashion, as the visitors charged to a 10-3 halftime lead and continued on to a double digit victory, 16-6. Senior Lyles Swift-Farley and junior Iris Williamson each fired five goals for the winners, who improved to 1-2, while Springside slipped to 2-4 despite three goals and an assist from junior Ellie Stout.
A graduate of Springside, Lions coach Lyida (Barber) Imperiale remembers the traditional lacrosse rivalry with GFS, but her charges didn’t rise to the occasion.
“If we came out with the intensity that GFS did we could’ve won the game,” she said, “but clearly they wanted it more.
“I really wasn’t expecting that from how we’ve been playing,” she went on. “We stayed right with Hill School and Lawrenceville, and lost those games by two goals, so this was a big shock.”
Germantown coach Katie Bergstrom noted, “Our starters came out on fire and we never had to play catch-up. It was a really good team effort, and they couldn’t really double or triple-team anybody because we would dump the ball to players they didn’t expect to score.”
The Tigers’ total was rounded out by two goals from senior Lilly Tyson and four from junior Annie Morrissey, whose sister, Kitty, is a sophomore starter for Springside.
“Annie did a great job on the draw,” Bergstrom said. “We knew where the ball was going and people stepped off the line quickly. Lilly and Isabella [Didio, a junior] played well, and [sophomore] Anna Bezahler stepped up today.”
Veteran goalie Hilary McDonnell made five saves for Springside, and on the offensive end the Lions received two goals from junior Libbie Maine, and a goal and an assist from her classmate Casey Sullivan.
“We’ve already had 13 different players score this season,” Imperiale said, “but you wouldn’t’ have known that from watching us today.”
GFS graduated three-year starting goalie Samie Francis, and in the early going this spring the netminding duties have been shared by seniors Alex Gilliam (the Tigers’ field hockey goalie) and Elena Karras, and sophomore Lauren Shinn. Shinn played against Springside and recorded six saves.
“We tell them whoever has the best warm-up is going in,” Bergstrom explained. “A goalie can have an off day, but three goalies aren’t going to have an off day all at once. The nice thing is that the other two are very supportive of the one who starts on a given day.”
Williamson and Swift-Farley each scored in the first five minutes, and soon after that Maine put Springside on the board with an assist from Sullivan higher in the arc. Over the next five minutes Williamson, Morrissey, and Tyson fashioned a 5-1 lead for the visitors, and they remained in command. The only time Springside scored consecutive goals was at the very end of the game, after GFS had gone up 16-4.
“We didn’t play cohesively, we didn’t hustle to all the ground balls, and we weren’t cutting hard on offense,” Imperiale pointed out. “Our defense had good moments, but we were letting them drive way too much. They spread out their offense and that threw us off a bit, because we were always a step behind dropping back in and making our slides.”
There was an encouraging improvement on the defensive end for the Tigers, according to Bergstrom.
“We had been fouling a lot and we weren’t as patient as we needed to be,” she related. “Today, it was back to basics. We really concentrated on body positioning, so we weren’t reaching and fouling.
“We have some nice speed in transition from [sophomore] Sophie Mercuris and [senior] Sierra Carter-Gordon, and [junior] Alex Clarke communicates very well and helps direct our defense. I’m also really happy with Caroline Myran; she’s our only freshman starter, and she’s adjusting very well to the pace of the varsity game.”