By Harry Chaykun
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/5/13
A lacrosse season lasts three months.
Last spring, Springfield-Delco freshman Emily Santana’s season last about half that long.
“I had a concussion,” Santana said. “I got hit by a stick and then I was involved in a collision. I was out about a month and a half. It was awful standing there watching everyone else play. (The coaches) told me to watch whoever was out there in my spot.”
Thursday afternoon at Haldermann Field, all eyes were on Santana in the closing seconds of the host Cougars’ Central League matchup with Strath Haven, which came into the contest unbeaten after Tuesday’s one-goal decision over two-time defending PIAA champion Garnet Valley.
Santana gave everyone something to talk about, putting the finishing touches on her hat trick by scoring with 16 seconds to play to keep Springfield (6-0, 2-0) perfect with an 11-10 decision over Haven (3-1, 1-1).
The Cougars controlled most of the first half, building a 7-1 lead in the first 22 minutes and 45 seconds. In those last 135 seconds of the half, the Panthers got four goals, with junior Kathryn Restrepo notching the last two, the second as time expired.
That momentum swing carried into the first five minutes of the second half as Restrepo scored again and Morgan Glassford, who had tallied once before intermission, completed her hat trick. Alex Poplawski (three goals, two assists) cut off the Haven rally with her third goal for the Cougars, but Glassford charged through defenders to score twice, the second goal tying the score with 15 minutes to play.
Another Glassford score gave Haven the advantage 12 minutes before the final whistle, but Emily Paulus broke through for a Springfield goal with five minutes left after Panthers goalie Hallie Yancey turned away a Cougars free position shot.
Springfield goalie Courtney O’Connell made a big save against Kirsten Wilhelmsen to keep the score level, and Santana made the most of her last chance scoring bid.
“I rolled the crease, faked left and tried to make the defender go (the wrong way),” Santana said. “I faked (a high shot) and got the ball around the goalie.”
Her work for the day wasn’t finished. Poplawski took the draw after the goal, and Santana earned the draw control that allowed the Cougars to close out the game and remain undefeated.
“Last season didn’t end the way we wanted, losing our last three games,” Poplawski said of the disappointing end to the 2012 campaign, in which Springfield was denied in its bid to qualify for the state tournament.
“Our (four) seniors wanted to make sure that didn’t happen again. We won a couple (nonleague) games, then we won two games on our trip (to Virginia) and played well down there. And now we’ve won our first two league games. I know I’ve tried to be more helpful defensively this year.”
Megan Tronco and Emily Verica, who helped hold down the Panthers’ attack during the opening half, appreciate having Poplawski make their jobs easier.
Springfield-Delco 11, Strath Haven 10
Strath Haven 5 5 – 10
Springfield (Delco) 8 3 – 11
Strath Haven: Morgan Glassford 5G 1A, Kathryn Restrepo 3G, Kristen Hansen 1G, Kirsten Wilhelmsen 1.
Springfield (Delco): Alex Poplawski 3G 2A, Emily Santana 3G, Emily Paulus 2G, Kate Ryan 1G, Aly Gormley 1G, Rachel Charamella 1G.
Saves – Strath Haven: Hallie Yancey 8. Springfield (Delco): Courtney O’Connell 5.