Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 10/25/12
Nicknamed “The Babies,” eight eighth graders playing for the Mesa Fresh 2017 club team, stunned the field and battled their way into the Pool A championship last weekend at the Johns Hopkins University 4v4 “Queen of the Turf” Tournament. The event was hosted by the JHU Women’s Lacrosse Team on hallowed Homewood Field in Baltimore.
Mesa bowed to the other Pool A finalists, the Future Blue Jays, consisting of members of the 2013 JHU recruiting class, in the “Braveheart” that followed a dramatic Mesa comeback, which was capped by Mesa’s buzzer beater goal at the end of regulation to tie the score at 3.
The game was spirited and hotly contested, as the many spectators, most of who were aware of the apparent mismatch, cheered for the Babies to hold their own against the stick wielding Goliaths. The Future Blue Jays quickly earned the victory in OT and were warm, gracious and wonderfully complimentary regarding their young but feisty and physical middle school opponents, who over-achieved most of the day.
The tournament featured two sessions and a ladder format on half-court fields in a series of 6 minute games. Teams in their respective pools were assigned certain courts to start the event. Teams that won their games advanced in the direction of the “Queen of Homewood” court, while teams that lost gravitated in the opposite direction toward the consolation courts. Members of the JHU Women’s Lacrosse Team were assigned to participating teams to serve as resources, give tips to the players and help the coaches with the rules and game management.
Mesa Fresh 2017, supported by the JHU Team Captain, Taylor D’Amore, started in the pole position, winning its first game and moving immediately to the Queen of Homewood court, but lost its next five games, three in “Bravehearts” and the other two by a total of three goals. The team found itself low on the ladder by end of the first session, and started the second session on the second to last consolation court.
In the latter session, however, the team reversed its fortunes and won its next five games against increasingly tough competition, beating older and more experienced squads – two in overtime – as the girls leapfrogged their way back to the featured courts, ultimately setting up a showdown on the main stage with a group of committed seniors who might otherwise have been the local favorites.
Even JHU Head Coach Janine Tucker found herself voicing support for the Babies, who were riding their momentum to rarified air, and who were thrilled to have a chance to go toe-to-toe with Coach Tucker’s future Jays.
While hoping for a storybook ending, the magical carriage turned into a pumpkin to end Cinderella’s enchanted ride. Still it was an exciting and memorable day for the members of the Mesa Fresh 2017 squad, which included Maddie Little, Olivia Duarte, Grace Gallagher, Scottie Rose Growney, Sami Harnwell, Anina Iacobuccie, Liz Scott and Caroline Stellar. The team was coached by Scott Growney, who was assisted by Luanne Scott and Hopkins’ D’Amore.