By Mike Prince
For Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/19/12
Throughout its eight Friends Schools League games during the regular season, not one team – Friends’ Central included – was able to defeat Germantown Friends.
But when it came down to the league title game Friday, it was the same story as it had been in the previous two seasons.
For the third consecutive year, the Friends’ Central was crowned as FSL champions, following a 10-8 win over the Tigers in the league title game in front of a huge crowd at Germantown Friends.
Exactly one month earlier, GFS defeated the Phoenix by a score of 15-13. But thanks to a combined seven goals and four assists from junior Ashley Tedesco and senior Becca Dahle, the Phoenix led from start to finish and never really allowed the Tigers into the game en route to the championship win – its third straight over GFS.
“I couldn’t think of a better way to end my season and my four years of high school,” said Dahle, who finished with three goals and three assists. “I think this was our best game yet this year.”
While the final score saw only a two-goal difference between GFS and FC, the game was really never in doubt.
The Phoenix (18-4) opened up the game with a 3-0 lead and led 7-2 at the half. That lead stretched to as many as five goals in the second half on three separate occasions, but three consecutive late goals by the Tigers (17-3) made things closer.
Before the Tigers’ final goal, which was scored with 36 seconds remaining in regulation by the Penn-bound senior, Iris Williamson, the Phoenix had held a lead of three goals or more for nearly 37 minutes, going all the way back to the mid-point of the first half.
“What a battle,” GFS coach Katie Bergstrom said. “It’s tough. I think (FC) just got off to a really good start and was ready to play.
“We missed a few opportunities early and I think we hit 7-8 posts and I think that was the difference maker. The momentum really shifted towards them and they’re a hard team to come back against, clearly. They held the ball well and controlled the draws and momentum of the game.”
Phoenix coach Lauren Becker Rubin also emphasized her team’s ability to control the face-offs and possession as the main reason for a different outcome from the first time the two teams met this season.
“These games are always incredibly hard-fought battles,” she said. “It’s two pretty evenly-matched teams and I think we just had more possession today and took care of the ball a little better than they did.
“We scored on most of our opportunities, did a good job of keeping possession and taking time off the clock. We didn’t play well in our regular season game with them (GFS).
“We started our slow, got a little rattled and let them panic us a bit, so we were more ready for the pressure and we battled for the job. We had more possession and it came down to that.”
Tedesco, who scored the game’s first two goals, finished with five goals and one assist, while also recording four draw controls and six shots on goal. Emma Dahle, Becca’s sister, added one goal and three draw controls.
Though the Tigers were unable to stop Tedesco and Becca Dahle, Bergstrom did point out the excellent defensive play of Katherine Walden, who was put on Emma Dahle after she scored a whopping eight goals in the previous meeting.
“Catherine marked out Emma and held her to only one goal this time, which I thought was excellent,” Bergstrom said. “I thought that Iris (Williamson) played an absolutely amazing game, even while being double and triple-teamed. But in the end, I just thought that FC executed its game plan really, really well.”
Williamson finished with a team-high five goals on nine shots. She also added one assists, four groundballs and four draw controls. Isabella DiDio scored twice and recorded three groundballs for the Tigers, while Hannah Drake was responsible for the other GFS goal.
Goalkeeper Lauren Shinn, who entered the game at the 13:10 mark of the first half, stopped five shots in net.
The final Phoenix goal was scored by Kate Forrest, but it was the play of goalkeeper Aubrey Faggan (12 saves) that really stood out.
“Their goalie just played great,” Bergstrom said. “She really did an excellent job.”
Becker Rubin also cited outstanding midfield play by Sophie Macfarlane (2 draw controls, 4 groundballs, 3 caused turnovers) and Maria Pizzini (2 ground balls, 3 caused turnovers, 1 draw control) and key defensive efforts by Leah Adelson, Julie Levitan, Julia Lynne, Alexa Fusselbaugh, Emily Flick and Lisa Bernstein.
Up next for both teams is the PA Independent Schools Tournament, which begins early next week. Becca Dahle, who knows that any game could be her last one ever with the Phoenix, is looking forward to the challenge.
“I definitely think that today was one of our better games of the year, but hopefully we play better on Tuesday and come out with a win against Germantown Academy, too,” she said. “I’ve been playing with Ashley (Tedesco) since I was in sixth grade and it has been great to share this with her for the last few years and hopefully we can keep playing.”
Friends’ Central 10, Germantown Friends 8
Friends’ Central 7-3 – 10
Germantown Friends 3-5 – 8
Ashley Tedesko: 5 goals, 1 assist
Becca Dahle: 3 goals, 3 assists
Emma Dahle: 1 goal
Kate Forrest: 1 goal
Goalie Aubrey Faggen: 12 saves
Sophie Macfarlane 2 draw controls, 4 ground balls, 3 caused turnovers
Maria Pizzini 2 ground balls, 3 caused turnovers, 1 draw control
Iris Williamson: 5 goals, 1 assist
Isabella DiDio: 2 goals
Hannah Drake: 1 goal
Goalie Dana Schulman: 2 saves
Goalie Lauren Shinn: 5 saves