By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/5/10
They say it’s not the way you start, but how you finish that counts.
The Philadelphia girls’ Under Armour Underclassmen team can attest to that old adage.
The youthful Philly girls started off Saturday’s first game against Baltimore by falling behind 11-1 at halftime. After that, Team Philly regrouped and enjoyed a successful tournament in the eight-team field at Towson University.
In the second half against Baltimore, Team Philly outscored the hosts, 5-4, and ended up falling, 15-6. Philly dropped a heartbreaking 10-9 decision to Upstate New York in the second game Saturday, but played well.
Then, on Sunday, Team Philly won its final game in pool play by topping New England, 13-8, and finished the job by edging New Jersey, 10-9, in a fifth-place consolation.
Overall, the team went 2-2 and outscored its foes, 37-31, after the first half against Baltimore. What’s more, the team was probably one of the youngest in the three-year history of the tourney, as it featured three rising sophomores and seven rising juniors on its 22-girl roster. Only five of the rising seniors have committed to college.
“We had a great group of athletes and really talented players, but we were so young and I think they didn’t ‘want’ the ball in the first game,” said Philly head coach Caitlin Barbakoff (Downingtown East). “They wanted the more experienced players to come down and get it done.
“They were a little afraid to make mistakes. We told them, ‘You have to takes risks.’ After the first half of the Baltimore game they began to support each other and take an active role.”
Barbakoff said the team defense was superb and that both goalies, Radnor’s Annie Woehling and Downingtown East’s Allie Murray, were standouts. The defense was led by Unionville’s Christine Astarita, Great Valley’s Rachel Kalick and Bishop Shanahan’s Hannah Goforth, Barbakoff said. The offensive heroes in the consolation game were Germantown Freinds’ Iris Williamson and Great Valley’s Sara McBride.
“We played good one-on-one defense against Baltimore, but after that we really played good team defense,” said Barbakoff. “I think everyone on defense deserves credit. And our goalies were fantastic. I think we had as strong a combination of goalies as anyone there.”
Barbakoff said that Downingtown East’s Kelly Devlin, Haverford High’s Katrina Geiger and Strath Haven’s Alex Duckenfield led the midfield. But the team especially jelled in the second day of action.
“I think we stepped it up and we found some team chemistry,” said Barbakoff, who also creidted her assistant coaches, Jen Duckenfield (Strath Haven) and Pam Wernersbach (Boyertown). “Our team had no egos. It was a nice group of girls and maybe after we lost to Baltimore it took a little of the pressure off.
“In the New Jersey game we played smart. Our game management skills were there. We slowed it down in the final 15 minutes and controlled the game. The defense was not going to let them shoot and when they did, Allie played great.”