by Tom Utescher
A total of 11 Mount St. Joseph Academy players scored in last Thursday’s lacrosse season swansong at Country Day School of the Sacred Heart, where the Magic secured a 19-7 victory.
Sacred Heart is the smallest school in the Athletic Association of Catholic Academies, and the Mount found the net in the opening minute and fired in three more before the Lions got on the board. After establishing a firm foothold, Mount St. Joe substituted frequently, often in groups of three or four players at a time. The Magic were also able to experiment with positioning, moving players out of their customary roles.
Despite the lighthearted atmosphere that seemed well-suited to the sunny spring weather, it was a meaningful win for the Mounties, since it allowed them to finish with a winning overall record of 9-8.
They finished 7-6 within the AACA, defeating Sacred Heart and two other teams twice, and winning their lone encounter with St. Basil. The Magic lost twice to Gwynedd Mercy, Villa Maria, and champion Merion Mercy.
Getting the season underway proved difficult in the early weeks.
“Obviously, this winter was harsh on everybody, and we don’t have a big indoor space to practice,” observed third-year head coach Lindsey Colferai.
There were some minor personnel glitches to start out with, and then a more serious one as a broken thumb sidelined the team’s starting goalie. Freshman keeper Annie Fowler was moved up from the JV, and gave a solid performance.
“I actually like the fact that you have to deal with the ups and downs, and you can’t predict what’s going to happen,” Colferai said. “The way you react when things don’t go your way says a lot, and I thought the girls were pretty positive and mature about the way they handled things.”
At the season finale in Bryn Mawr last week, things definitely went the Magic’s way. With two goals by Abby Aita and one each from fellow junior M.K. Maloney and senior Kaitlyn Meister, the visitors were up 4-0 before junior Ashley Corsi broke the ice for the host Lions of Sacred Heart (6-12 overall).
The Mounties quickly responded to Corsi’s goal with three more of their own, and they proceeded on to an 11-3 halftime lead.
The Lions rang up the first two goals of the second half, and then the Magic received their first point of the period from an unusual source. Their team manager, senior Sara Healy, had donned a uniform and ventured out onto the field, and in a transition sequence she received a pass from classmate Jenna Zoldy and scored from a few feet off the crease.
In the final accounting, Healy, Zoldy, juniors Isabella Balcer and Courtney Target, and sophomore Gwyn Manchester had one goal. Senior Amanda Steinberg and sophomore Katie Cahill each recorded a hat trick, and there were two goals apiece for Aita, Maloney, Meister, and senior Meg Doyle. Maloney was the assist leader, with four, while in the goalcage Fowler was called upon to make two saves.
In more challenging matches this season, some of the highlights in Colferai’s eyes were the second league game with Merion, which the Magic lost by a single goal (13-12), and a dramatic 9-8 non-league victory over Upper Dublin High School, which had gotten out to a 7-0 lead over the Mounties.
“For the most part, we came out on the field and gave every team a fight,” Mount St. Joe’s mentor stated.
So what can the Mount do to turn some of this year’s close losses into next year’s victories?
Colferai responded, “One of the main things is to have our younger players understand the worth of camps, clinics, and club lacrosse – playing wherever you can outside of the school season. That way you’re not starting all over again every spring, because the players develop an instinctive feel for the game. When they do that, they can act and react out on the field right away instead of losing a couple seconds thinking about what they need to do.”