Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 3/31/11
Visiting Harriton jumped out to a 7-3 halftime lead and held on to earn a stunning 11-8 victory over Strath Haven – the No. 1 team in the PA Media Rankings in the PIAA division – today in a Central League girls’ lacrosse opener.
Jess Schwab scored three goals and dished four assists while Carli Sukonik, Caleigh Foust, and Katie Melvin each had two goals. Jackie Marshall made 10 saves in a strong effort in goal as the unranked Rams improved to 3-0
The Panthers (2-1) came into play as the No. 2 team in the All Schools division of the Media Rankings. They also were ranked No. 15 in the ESPN RISE Powerade Fab 50.
Harriton coach George Dick said his Rams won the battle at midfield where Caleigh Foust, Megan Rubenstein and Ally McLaughlin controlled the transition game. The defense, led by seniors Carolyn Flannery and Mackenzie Morgan and Alison Tepper and freshman Hilary Lemonick kept the dangerous Strath Haven offense at bay as the Rams led by as many as 10-4.
“I told them they would win before the game, but they didn’t believe me,” he said. “They believed me when it was 5-1.”
“That was a hard-fought game,” said Dick. “The conditions were a little bit bad, but I thought our kids gave a great effort. It’s an early-season game to see where you stand.
“In reality, it’s March 31; hopefully, we’ll all be playing in May.”
Sukonik said the victory gives her team a major boost in confidence. Harriton lost several games last year to top-tier teams in the league by two goals or less. One of those games was an 11-9 loss to Strath Haven.
“A win like this means a lot, especially for the seniors and juniors that have been here several years,” Sukonik said. “We lost big when we were freshmen and we got close last year.
“They are our biggest rival and it means a lot to come out here and play with this type of intensity.”
Alex Duckenfield led Strath Haven with four goals and two assists, and Molly DiEnno added three goals.
Dick said his team has made incredible strides in the past three years – as evidenced by the progression of scores against Strath Haven, a league power for years.
“The last time we played here (in 2009) we lost 26-11 and the year before (2008) it was 22-3,” he said, noting that last year Harriton lost to the Panthers by two goals at home. “Seven of the seniors were playing as freshmen and they have endured a lot of abuse on this field.
Harriton’s seniors include Rubenstein, Marshall, Sukonik, Laura Walzer, Betsy Hurtado, and defenders Morgan and Flannery.
Sukonik said her team has gained much depth.
“We had been practicing hard and we have a lot of flow,” she said. “We have a lot of depth this year. We lacked that in years past.
“But this year we have a ton of players with a ton of potential. We know what we can do and we played our hearts out to get this win.”
Harriton 11, Strath Haven 8
Harriton 7-4- 11
Strath Haven 3-5- 8
Jess Schwab 3g, 4a
Carli Sukonik 2g
Caleigh Foust 2g
Katie Melvin 2g
Betsy Hurtado 1g
Megan Rubenstein 1g
Jackie Marshall 10 saves
Alex Duckenfield 4g
Molly DiEnno 3g
Kiersten Wilhelmsen 1g