By Matt Chandik
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/16/12
Kellye Gallagher just wanted one more game.
The last game of her storied Loyola (Md.) career, a loss to Maryland in the NCAA tournament, left Gallagher with a sour taste in her mouth. While she’ll never have another chance at helping the Greyhounds win a national championship, Gallagher wanted another shot at getting back on the field and representing her school.
Represent, she did. The Ridley graduate spearheaded a stingy, strong South defense that kept the North offense in check and gave the South team an 8-5 win in the IWCLA Division I North-South Senior Game today at United Sports in Downingtown.
“It’s just great to have one last hurrah and play with my two teammates, Ana Heneberry and Kerry Stoothoff,” said Gallagher, who caused a turnover in the winning effort. “I’m glad we were on the same team and we got to play one last time together.”
Gallagher was at the forefront of a defense that helped give South goalies Mary Teeters (Towson, four saves) and Stoothoff (two saves) a fairly easy day in the cage. Watching her take on some of the country’s finest talent and denying those players clean looks at the cage makes it easy to see why she was named the 2012 Big East Defensive Player of the Year.
Gallagher stands 5-10, but moves with the grace and agility of a much smaller player. She can keep pace with quicker, faster players, but she also has the strength and power to muscle bigger players off the ball.
She wouldn’t get statistical credit for much of her finer work – keeping shooters at bay, denying them even a sniff of the cage, and forcing dump-off passes – but it’s that type of play that earned her First-Team All-America honors in her final year in Baltimore.
“Everyone here is a great player,” said Gallagher, who broke the school record for most caused turnovers in a season with 54. “I expected for everyone to be hard to play against.
“I think at this level, it’s always fast, and having the best players in the nation playing against each other, it’s going to be a fast, low-scoring game.”
While Gallagher didn’t get the ultimate prize she wanted – she had to watch Northwestern win the national title again – Gallagher settled for an incredible, award-filled season, and that’s something she’s pretty proud of.
“Oh my God, it was such an honor,” Gallagher said of the defensive POY award. “I have to attribute everything to my coaches and my teammates. I never, in a million years, would have ever thought that would have happened to me, but I’m so grateful.”
As it turned out, another Philly product was the best player in the North’s losing effort. Midfielder Gabby Capuzzi, an Archbishop Carroll graduate and second-team All-American at Ohio State, had a pair of goals and an assist on a Kate Keagins (University of New Hampshire) goal.
While Capuzzi ended up on the losing end of things, she, like Gallagher, was ecstatic at the prospect of playing another game before going back to Columbus to help coach the 2013 Buckeyes.
“It was a great experience,” Capuzzi said. “(Saturday night) is the All-American banquet. It’s just a great weekend of lacrosse to catch up with old friends.”
Capuzzi also admitted that some of the players had to knock off rust after not playing for so long, and also indicated that the pace of play was about what she expected.
“Definitely,” Capuzzi said. “After not playing for a month, and for not playing with the girls here who I’ve ever played with, it was definitely intense. It was fun, and I had a good time.”
The University of North Carolina’s Laura Zimmerman took home MVP honors with her two-goal, three-assist performance for the South.
South 8, North 5
South 4 4 – 8
North 1 4 – 5
Laura Zimmerman (North Carolina) 2g, 3a
Charlie Finnigan (Virginia) 2g, 1a
Megan Seidman (George Washington) 2g
Kristen Coleman (Georgetown) 1g
Sarah Appelt (Towson) 1g
Mary Teeters (Towson) 4 saves
Kerry Stoothoff (Loyola) 2 saves
Gabby Capuzzi (Ohio State) 2g, 1a
Shannon McHugh (Cornell) 1g
Kate Keagins (New Hampshire) 1g
Courtney Miller (Colgate) 1g
Sarah Holden (Syracuse) 1a
Dana Cahill (Penn State) 3 saves
Liz Walker (Duquesne) 1 save