By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/30/11
Four Philly girls played key roles as Team Heather Leigh Albert defeated M&D Black 2012, today in a thriller, 8-7, to claim the Girls’ U-19 title at the 39th annual Vail Shootout in Colorado.
Alex Duckenfield, a recent Strath Haven grad and All-American headed to Vanderbilt, made the key defensive play by leveling a key check on All-American Taylor Cummings (McDonogh School rising senior) and scooping the groundball before setting up the winning break on goal with less than 30 seconds to play.
Taylor Ranftle, a rising senior from Hauppauge High (N.Y.), scored the game-winner with 13 seconds to play on a free position after the goalie was forced to go behind the cage due to an illegal check.
Duckenfield was joined on Team HLA by recent Episcopal Academy grads and defenders Maggie Forker (Vanderbilt) and Claire MacManus (Cornell) as well as attack Callie Francis (recent Hill School grad headed to Duke). Francis scored once today.
“It was really exciting,” said Duckenfield in a phone interview. “Just because M&D has been playing together for a really long time and we were thrown together in our first tournament. We played like a team; it was awesome to have an experience like this.”
M&D, featuring the top players from the Baltimore area, had won the team title recently at the Upper Atlantic Tournament at United Sports.
Team Heather Leigh Albert was coached by Kathy Jenkins, head coach at national Power St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes (Va.). One of her assistants was the well-regarded Celine Cunningham, head coach at Stevens Institute of Technology. The team also featured players from Maryland, Virginia, Massachusetts, Florida and New Jersey.
Team HLA had seized a 6-3 lead by scoring three unanswered goals to open the second half. But M&D, of Howard County, Md., tied it, 6-6, and later at 7-7.
Ranftle was the Heather Leigh Albert Player of the Year last month at the National Tournament for Long Island. Philly’s Taylor Trimble, a teammate of Forker and MacManus, had won that award the two previous years.
“It was an awesome win,” said Francis. “I think definitely a lot to do with it was coaching.
“We scrimmaged once and we started out kind of disorganized, but really quickly we got organized and started playing really well. We got used to each quickly on the field.”