Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/18/14
Host Germantown Friends rallied from a 7-3 halftime deficit and defeated Friends’ Central, 10-8, Saturday to win the Friends School league championship.
The Tigers (16-2) won their first league title since 2009 and 17th overall. Friends’ Central (12-9) was the four-time defending champion, defeating GFS each year.
Senior captain Claire Schmidt (three goals) tallied the game-winner on a free position shot with 7:25 to play in a dominant stretch for the Tigers.
“This championship feels so incredible,” said Schmidt. “It’s the culmination of all our hard work this year.
“We were committed to achieving our goals, no matter what has happened in the past four years. To come back and win this game and the championship in my last year is so special for me and all the seniors! I am so proud to be a part of this team.”
Added Greta Meyer, who had three goals:
“There was a lot riding on this game – we certainly have a historical rivalry against Friends Central, and it was a thrill to finally have all of our hard work pay off,” Meyer said. “We have beaten FC in the regular season and then lost in the league championship game for the last couple of years, which has been really frustrating.
“We just kept thinking of all of the silver medals we have from the last couple of years, and that was the best motivation!”
Friends’ Central started strong, scoring the first five goals of the game. GFS finally got on the scoreboard with 8:21 left in the first half off of an 8 meter bounce shot by Schuyler Nissen. Meyer scored two goals to cut the deficit to 7-3 before halftime.
The GFS defense – led by senior captain Caroline Myran, sophomore Maddie Berg, junior Sarah Kane, freshman Sophie Smith, and senior goalie Dana Schulman – kept Friends’ Central scoreless for the first 12 minutes of the second half while the Tigers methodically worked their attack back into the game.
Grayson Melby, GFS draw specialist, gained the first two draws of the second half to spark the comeback. Schmidt scored the first two goals of the second half, followed by a penalty shot by Melby and another Nissen tally.
FCS gained the ensuing draw, but GFS came up with a superb defensive stop. That led to a game-tying 8-meter by Ava Schwemler, who made it 8-8 with 8:52.
Meyer also tallied an insurance goal.
Emma Dahle led the Phoenix with three goals while Emily Tedesco and Sophie Berger each had two goals.
“I think we realized when we were down that we were just not sticking to our game plan,” said Schmidt, “so we tried to focus on the little things to get us back on track – like getting the draw, getting to the ground balls, and stretching out the Friends Central defense on attack.
“We also just had a belief that we absolutely could come back from any deficit as long as we worked as a team to do it.”
“We came out very nervous, and were forcing a lot of our challenges and turning the ball over on some simple errors,” added Meyer. “The key was that we didn’t panic when we got behind in the score, because we knew we could win and we just had to get our focus back and stay calm. “We took it one goal at a time, and got our momentum and confidence back.”
What led to Germantown Friend’s success this year?
“I think we have found success because we work hard, and we always strive to work as a team,” said Schmidt. “We rely on every part of the team to help us be consistent and win games.
“There is an understanding amongst the players that everyone, from starting seniors to developing underclassmen, can help us succeed. I think what also helped us was our relationship as a team. The seniors were great this year in creating a true team bond, and it’s made us want to succeed for each other.”
“Our team is deep, and every player on our team is committed and contributes in every game,” added Meyer. “Our Coach (Katie Bergstrom) has worked to maximize the impact of the player’s abilities – in particular, our attack has really developed this year by trying new things and being smart and controlled.
“I think each member of our team has embraced her particular role in our plays and transitions, and that has been instrumental in our success this year.”
The Tigers will host Springside Chestnut Hill on Monday in the PAISAA State Quarter Finals at 4:30. Friends’ Central plays at Germantown Academy.
Germantown Friends 10, Friends’ Central 8
Germantown Friends 3-7- 10
Friends’ Central 7-1- 8
Schuyler Nissen- 2 goals
Claire Schmidt- 3 goals
Grayson Melby- 1 goal
Greta Meyer- 3 goals
Ava Schwemler- 1 goal, 1assist
Sydney Weigert- 1 assist
Dana Schulman- 4 saves
Emma Dahle- 3 goals
Abby Crowley- 1 goal
Emily Tedesco- 2 goals
Sophie Berger- 2 goals
Miranda Mastrocola- 1 assist
Anne Pizzini- 7 saves