by Tom Utescher
A relatively youthful girls’ lacrosse team from Norwood Fontbonne Academy paid a visit to an even younger squad last Wednesday, a Germantown Friends franchise that has a number of sixth graders in the ranks.
When the visiting Bears scored in the opening minute, the GFS Tigers quickly matched that goal, but NFA pulled away steadily after that. Turning a 9-4 halftime advantage into a 16-6 victory at the end of the non-league encounter, Norwood raised its record to 5-2 with a few Girls Catholic Academies League matches left on the schedule.
It was the final game of the spring for GFS. The Tigers have played all season without talented eighth grader Mia Raven, who was moved up to join the upper school varsity.
Norwood eighth grader Alexis Ventresca has been easing back into action after undergoing knee surgery. Although her playing minutes are still limited, she rang up seven goals at GFS last Thursday, netting her first one 18 seconds into the contest.
In the second minute, GFS came back down the field and had Katie Day tie things up at 1-1. By the time the game was a little more than five minutes old, however, the Bears led 4-1, going back in front when Devin Loome scored off an assist from Lucia Smigiel. Ventresca then completed a personal hat trick, placing a shot in the upper left corner and scoring again on a nice roll dodge.
The NFA standout then retired to the sidelines for a spell, and soon after that, Norwood found itself shorthanded due to a penalty. With about 17 minutes still remaining in the first half, GFS capitalized when Persi Coes put away a low shot to make it 4-2.
Tigers goalie Isla Ablin made saves on shots by Norwood’s Loome and Penny Gilmore, but in between, Smigiel scored the visitor’s fifth goal. This stretch of Norwood ball possession ended with GFS going down the field in transition and finishing with a goal by Alice Mather with just under 11 minutes left in the first half.
Norwood responded with four straight goals, two by Ventresca and one each by Smigiel and Lily Wise. Loome assisted on two of these strikes, as the Bears went up 9-3.
With Ella Shay scoring late in the first half and early in the second, GFS got the gap down to four goals, but the Tigers came no closer. The Bears went on a run to lead 14-6 with five-and-a-half minutes left to play, with the lone GFS goal during this span coming from Coes.
The final score of 16-6 resulted from two Norwood players not understanding that they were meant to be simply working the ball around on offense and no longer going to goal.
Following Ventresca in the NFA scoring stats were Smigiel with four goals, Ava Rossi with two and Loome, Wise and Penny Gilmore with one apiece. Makayla Taylor had three saves in the Norwood goal, and Ablin made five stops for GFS.