Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/24/09
The stage has been set
Wissahickon and Upper Dublin will square off on Wednesday night in a battle for first place in the American Conference standings. The Flying Cardinals are 6-0 while the Trojans are 5-1 with Upper Dublin handing Wissahickon its only league loss (15-14).
“This is a chance for the girls to prove themselves and show what they’ve got,” Trojan coach Jamie Donahue said.
Although Upper Dublin graduated four players from last year’s championship squad who are competing at the collegiate level, the Flying Cardinals still boast plenty of talent.
The Trojans have some serious talent of their own, including some key young players.
Sophomore goalie Jess Scannapieco has been a tiger in the net and is not afraid to bring the ball out of the crease.
“She has the perfect goalie attitude,” Donahue said. “Nothing really seems to get her down. At the drop of a dime, she can make everyone laugh. She just has a great, great attitude, and she knows how to bounce back.
“She is the last line of defense, and she is able to look the attacker in the eye and take them on. She sets a great foundation for our defense, and that’s only going to grow in future seasons.”
Junior Angelena Fiorito has been a key in the Trojans’ defensive backfield.
“She does a great job of communicating with the other defenders, and defense is so much about communication,” Donahue said. “She’s a great communicator, and she has great positioning.
“She and Bridget Burgoyne have textbook defense.”
On attack, the Trojans are led by twins Aubrey and Ashley Bossert. Aubrey is the team leader in goals scored with 30 in eight games.
“They’re awesome on attack,” said Donahue. “When our defense makes a stop, those two are right there to receive the ball in transition and get it started on attack. They have been amazing.
“They lead the team in ground balls and draw controls, so they’re doing the grunt work, but they’re also scoring. That’s a hard combination to find.”
The Trojans have adopted a ‘tough love’ philosophy this season, and so far, it’s been working out quite nicely.
“We want to succeed together, and that involves hearing things you might need to improve upon and then also remembering to give encouragement when it’s due,” Donahue said. “From our managers to our captains, every single girl has a huge impact on how our team plays.”
When one of their teammates went down, the Trojans responded, taking a pizza dinner on Wednesday to the home of Carly Weist who had surgery to repair a torn ACL on Monday.
“They really would do anything for each other, and that’s not something I could create. They just have it, and it’s an awesome feeling to have when you’re coaching a team. I’m blessed with a good group of girls.”
Indians too close for comfort
Souderton coach Nicole Bauer should be forgiven if she feels as though she’s aging fast in this her first year at the helm. Five of Souderton’s first 10 games have been decided by two goals or less – the two most recent in overtime.
The Indians are 2-3 in league play and have lost those three games by a combined four goals.
“We need a break,” Bauer said with a laugh.
Last Friday, the Indians used a goal by Lindsay Walbrandt 30 seconds into OT to earn a dramatic 9-8 win over Council Rock South.
“Even though she’s not a captain or a senior, she’s definitely a leader on the field,” Bauer said. “She leads by example, and she tries to take that one step to get everybody motivated to play and win.”
On Tuesday, the Indians gave division-leading North Penn a run for its money before falling 10-9 in overtime when senior Alyssa Culp scored for the Maidens.
It was the Indians’ zone defense that threw the undefeated Maidens off their game early on.
“We have been working hard on that,” Bauer said. “We have been trying different people in different places, and it’s one of those things that takes some time. In the beginning, we were a little wary about it, but I think we made the right decision sticking with it because it’s not something you normally see at this level.
“That game could have gone either way.”
The momentum swung firmly in the Maidens’ favor when there was a sudden change in weather, thanks to an approaching storm.
“The wind kicked up, the temperature dropped, and nothing went our way,” Bauer said. “We didn’t pass well, we weren’t able to get to the ball quick enough.
“I’m still very proud of them. They’ve come a long way from our first loss against a tough team like Central Bucks South, so I’m very proud of where they are right now.”
Walbrandt and Danielle Notvest both contributed the hat trick in the Indians’ loss to North Penn.
“Our scoring is pretty even,” Bauer said, going on to credit her midfielders. “Lindsay, Danielle, Dana Paulding, Kirsten Russell and Melinda Wojt have all been contributing and been a key part of the defensive transition.”
Bauer also credited senior Chelsea Manes for anchoring the defense.
“She’s going to give 173 percent,” said Bauer of a goal that Manes lists on her goal card prior to every game.
Lax players wanted
Kara DiMarco was forced to think outside the box when it came time to field a lacrosse team this spring. Granted, Council Rock South was coming off its first ever conference championship season last year, but when the Golden Hawks’ coach held her first pre-season meeting last winter, just 20 players signed up.
“You would think we would have had numbers after last year,” DiMarco said. “We’re having problems across the board in all of our sports.”
DIMarco knew she had to come up with more bodies, so she went out recruiting.
The Golden Hawks’ coach landed three basketball players with no previous lacrosse experience as well as a foreign exchange student from Germany. One of the basketball players – senior Ann Silverthorn – has cracked the starting lineup at low defense.
“She comes up with some big defensive plays, and she’s usually part of our transition,” DiMarco said. “She’s fast.”
Emily Nowicke, another converted basketball player, is also seeing varsity action. The third is playing for the junior varsity.
“We did a really good job of recruiting,” DiMarco said.
When the first day of practice rolled around, 33 players showed up but many had no lacrosse experience. With no middle school program at Rock South, only two of its jayvee players were members of the team last year.
“Our jayvee coach, Erica Hellerstein, has been doing a phenomenal job going over the basis and trying to get them acclimated to the sport,” DiMarco said the 2004 Rock South grad.
The Golden Hawks, fresh off an impressive 13-5 win over Pennsbury, are hoping to build on their 3-1 start in league play after opening the season 0-4.
Panthers head south
Cheltenham enjoyed its recent holiday break by spending six days in the sunny south competing at Distney’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Fla. Coach Dave Burton was accompanied only by an assistant coach.
“I would have never dreamed of doing that, but the group of girls on this team is as good as it gets,” the Panthers’ coach said. “It made the trip even more enjoyable because I had few worries while I was there.”
The Lady Panthers competed in several games – one official game and a pair of unofficial scimmages against teams from Georgia, Ohio and Virginia. They won all three. They also took the time to visit Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom.
So far this season, senior Charlotte Swavola, who has signed to play lacrosse at Temple next year, has scored 47 goals and contributed 34 assists. Junior Liz Heimann and sophomore Olivia Dubo have also scored in double figures.
Coming up big
Goalie Lyndsay Hepler is hardly a household words for fans of North Penn lacrosse.
She should be.
The Maidens’ senior net minder has been coming up big for the Maidens all season. In last Friday night’s 12-8 win over Conestoga, Hepler turned away 16 shots, 12 in a busy second half.
“She came up huge for us,” coach Jami Wilus said. “It’s really all about confidence. Once she made a couple saves, then she was in a zone.”
While Hepler stole the spotlight on defense, Lauren McDermott was the undisputed offensive star. The senior attack player led the Maidens with seven goals after going scoreless 24 hours earlier in the Maidens 13-9 win over Pennridge.
“With Lauren playing midfield, she does so much more on the field, and she only took two shots in the Pennridge game,” Wilus said. “She really wasn’t involved in the attack a lot.
“Conestoga was one of those games – I think she was on a mission. She was on fire from the beginning, and I don’t think she missed a shot. Some of her shots were unbelievable – just picture-perfect goals. Sometimes you just sit back and watch her and think, ‘Oh, that’s what it’s supposed to look like.’”
Friday’s win represented the third game in as many days for the Maidens and second night game in a row.
“It was a huge win,” said Wilus, whose team moved from seventh to fourth in the latest Media Rankings. “I knew we would have a big crowd, and I didn’t know how we would come out and play after a tough game against Pennridge.
“I wasn’t disappointed in our effort at Pennridge. I just don’t think we played our game the best we could. Against Conestoga we played North Penn lacrosse. We moved the ball through the air, we took good shots, and we played strong defense.”
It all added up to a win that upped the Maidens’ record to 10-0.
Too close to call – Pennridge seems to have an affinity for one-goal wins.
The Rams upped their record to 11-1 (3-1 SOL) with a 9-8 win over Hatboro-Horsham on Tuesday night. It was the fifth one-goal win of the season for the Rams, who also edged Council Rock South (8-7), Souderton (11-10), Council Rock North (11-10) and Wissahickon (10-9).
The Rams have proven they know how to perform under pressure, and they also have found a way to keep fans on the edge of their seats until the final whistle.
Ghosts face key battle
Abington will face the Baldwin School at the 9th Annual Katie Samson Lacrosse Festival at Radnor High School on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. The Ghosts are ranked ninth in the latest Media Rankings while Baldwin is ranked 10th.
Fifty-two teams – 26 boys and 26 girls – will be participating in Saturday’s festival, making it the largest single day lacrosse festival in the country.
“It’s an amazing day for lacrosse and a true honor to be a part of!” coach Julie Martinez said.
Proceeds of the festival will be donated to spinal cord injury research, patient care and quality of life improvements. The Ghosts won free team goggles for raising the most funds.
Abington (4-0 SOL, 9-1 overall) is coming off a 21-5 win over Central Bucks East that saw 10 different players score goals.
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