By Matt Chandik
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/30/12
TOWSON, Md. – Kelly Cross felt something special when she walked out onto the Towson University turf for tonight’s Under Armour Girls Lacrosse All-America game, but she couldn’t have predicted how things would finish.
“We knew when we walked on the field that this was going to be our game,” said Cross, a two-time All-American at Upper Dublin and a Syracuse signee.
That’s a heck of an understatement. Led by eight points apiece from McDonogh teammates Taylor Cummings and Corinne Etchison, the South obliterated the game record for goals in its 25-13 thumping of the North.
Cross’ pregame gut feeling turned out to be right, even if she couldn’t have predicted that the South would shatter the game record for goals (17), goals in a half, most points in a game by a player (Cummings and Etchison) and most assists in a game by one player (Etchison with five). Playing with that kind of talent assembled on the South team makes life easier for players like Cross, who are able to blend into the team fabric without having to take over the game like they do in high school.
“It definitely takes some adjusting, but it’s cool,” said Cross (one goal, two caused turnovers, one groundball), “having to not worry about someone dropping the ball, or have to pick up everyone’s slack. Everyone else is picking each other up and helping each other improve and keep getting better throughout the game. On my goal, I was open and Corinne was just looking for everyone, so it was a great pass and I just finished.”
Cross was part of a strong Philly-area group that kickstarted the South’s win. Haverford’s Katrina Geiger led the way with three goals and an assist, Stephanie Toy (Moorestown) and Ali Karwoski (Great Valley) scored, and Ally Heavens (Garnet Valley) chipped in one of the South’s 13 assists. While everyone in that group can score with the best of them, putting aside personal stats for a game that features elite national talent was fine with everyone.
“That was awesome to play with all of these great players,” said Toy, a Notre Dame signee. “It’s a completely new experience, but it’s going to happen in college, and it’s just a ton of fun. (Friday) in practice, you’re just like, ‘Wow, these girls are really good.’ But it just makes it more fun to play at this kind of level.”
The 25 goals were a surprise to nearly everyone involved, including Toy. While she knew that the potential for a potent offense was there, setting the standard for future offenses to try to attain was a pleasant surprise. While she complied with a requested move to defense for the game, Toy also had an eye on the back of the North’s net.
“We were psyched for the game, we wanted to win, and bring the South back to the top,” Toy said, “but we never thought we’d score that many goals, so that was awesome. I play midfield for high school and they had me at defense, which whatever, but I wanted to get one goal in. I got it and it was awesome.”
After an early stretch that saw her struggle to get the ball, Geiger finally got rolling midway through the game en route to her four-point day. Yet she was another one of the group that was more focused on living up the experience instead of focusing on individual achievements.
“I guess (it was a question) of being more comfortable playing with these girls,” Geiger said. “Realizing that I can do this and I can keep up with them.”
As usual, she did more than just keep up, and as usual, Philly had another strong showing.