By Dave Kurtz
Courtesy of PAC-10Sports.com
Pam Wernersbach is familiar with victory celebrations – the final countdowns, the players rushing together on the field to hug and dance and point their lacrosse sticks toward the heavens.
Hit the replay button.
It happened again Thursday night when Boyertown used a fast start and Lindsay Clinton’s stellar work in net to post an 11-7 triumph over Spring-Ford at Phoenixville’s Washington Field, giving the Bears their ninth straight Pioneer Athletic Conference girls’ lacrosse title.
The Boyertown coach has witnessed the same scene many times before – but Wernersbach never gets tired of watching. Undeniably, the Bears stand alone atop PAC-10 girls’ lacrosse after posting their 124th straight victory over league competition, but each conquest stands alone in Wernersbach’s eyes.
”It’s different every year,” said Wernersbach, who’s reigned over eight of those titles. “This group of girls was so easy to coach, they get along so well and they want to work and they want to win.”
Although their M.O. may change on occasion, the Bears know no other way.
Rachel Engler cashed four goals and Gabby Genuario finished with a hat trick for Boyertown, which ran out to a 7-2 halftime lead and held on when the Rams struck for three unanswered strikes in the final 7:58.
“We started out of the gate quickly,” said Wernersbach. “It was a great, solid 25 minutes. We executed well, had a good rhythm in the first half. We were seeing each other, and we spread them out a little more to get some entry passes in. Our girls did a good job taking care of the ball.”
Engler and Genuario took care of the fast getaway, combining for five goals in the opening 16:18 of the first half to stake Boyertown (16-4) to a commanding 7-1 lead. The Rams closed within 7-2 at the 8:13 mark on the first of four Kira Gensler goals and threatened to cut the deficit even more, but Bears senior keeper Lindsay Clinton refused to let that happen.
“We came out hard,” said Clinton, who finished with nine saves, including several key stops at critical junctures. “We expect a lot of ourselves – we work hard and play hard, and try to keep that up the whole game.”
Boyertown maintained control throughout the second half, going up 11-4 when Amanda Smith connected with 9:41 remaining.
But things got a little dicey down the stretch as the gritty Rams (14-5) staged a late charge behind a pair of goals from Gensler and another from Sasha Wozniak. Spring-Ford was within 11-7 with 2:34 remaining, but could get no closer as Clinton and the Boyertown defense shut down the comeback.
“It was too little, too late,” said Spring-Ford coach Amy Short, whose club has suffered three of its five losses this season at the hands of Boyertown. “We needed to get it going sooner, needed another 10 minutes. We played the last 10 minutes the way we’ve played all season.”
The Bears have played all season with a large target on their backs, which is nothing new. Once again, they managed to dodge the hail of bullets coming their way.
Another year, another trip to the podium, but this is anything but a routine procedure for Wernersbach and the Bears.
Clinton, who’s been a starter since her freshman year and is headed to Division III Gettysburg College to continue her athletic career, put it all in perspective.
“It’s great to be able to keep up with all the teams of the past,” Clinton said, “and to keep the tradition going.”
Boyertown 11, Spring-Ford 7
Spring-Ford 2 – 5 – 7
Boyertown 7 – 4 – 11
Kira Gensler 4g
Maddie Ward 1g, 2a
Sasha Wozniak 1g
Leanna Shaw 1g
Erin Mensch 1a
Cassidy Novotny 10 saves
Rachel Engler 4g
Gabby Genuario 3g
Kate DeHaven 2g
Amanda Smith 1g
Devyn Heidelbaugh 1g
Marie Valenti 1a
Lindsay Clinton 9 saves