By Harry Chaykun
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 3/18/14
The Agnes Irwin lacrosse players would look at Phelps Field often during the winter.
The Owls knew that the new turf playing surface would be their home this season, but there were times when they wondered if they would ever see green instead of a constant blanket of white – as in snow.
“We came close one day to going out there with our shovels,” said Bridget Chakey, one of coach Jen Duckenfield’s two senior players.
Tuesday afternoon, the field was clean and Agnes Irwin hosted defending Friends School League champion Friends’ Central to open its 2014 campaign. The Owls used a strong second-half run to earn a 20-7 decision. AI led at halftime, 6-4, gave up the first goal of the second half, then got eight scores in the next seven minutes.
Sophomore Hannah Keating tossed in eight goals, with five coming in the second half and three during the 8-0 run that gave the host team a 14-5 advantage with 15 minutes to play.
“We started off a little rusty,” Keating said. “We’ve worked into getting used to each other.”
Friends’ Central, which has plenty of new faces in its lineup, earned a 14-11 decision over Agnes Irwin in the semifinal round of the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Tournament last May.
“We all remembered that game,” Keating. “We know this is just the first game, and we have to keep thinking about one game at a time.
“We are young, but we have players who were on this team as eighth graders last year. It’s good to start off like this.”
Chakey, signed with Syracuse, also recalled what it was like getting knocked out of the 2013 state playoffs.
“We were so close to beating them last year,” she said. “We were hoping to set a tone for this season with this game today.”
Chakey’s passing helped set up a pair of Keating’s goals.
“She and I clicked out there,” said Chakey, who also made five groundball pickups. “We worked together here in our gym enough this winter, and that really helped with getting to know each other a little better.”
Sophomore Laura Pansini chipped in with three goals and one assist, and Kristin Burnetta and Lila Barker both scored twice for Agnes Irwin, which outshot Friends’ Central, 32-15, and had only nine turnovers to 21 for the opposition.
The Owls lost the draw control battle in the first half, 8-3, but had a 12-6 advantage after the break.
“We put Sarah Nicholson on the draws and she did a fantastic job,” Duckenfield said. “Laura Pansini and Emily Fryer helped us control the midfield, and we had an eighth-grader, Maria Pansini, defending Emma Dahle and she did a fabulous job.”
Dahle scored on her first two shots, added a goal late in the first half, then got only one goal in the second half, the score that stopped Agnes Irwin’s 8-0 run.
“(Friends’ Central) was doing a great job on the draws until we started using Sarah Nicholson,” Duckenfield said. “We know they have some new people, and we’re so young, with seven sophomores out there as starters. We’ll keep working on things.”
Duckenfield’s next chance to see the results of her team’s work efforts will come Saturday morning, when Conestoga, a Central League and District 1 contender, pays a visit. Next week, the Owls will take on Downingtown West, then Inter-Ac League play begins with an April Fool’s Day match with Episcopal Academy.
Friends’ Central 4 3 – 7
Agnes Irwin 6 14 – 20
Friends’ Central: Emma Dahle 4G, Lorna MacFortune 2G, Jesse Rubin 1G, Emily Tedesco 1A.
Agnes Irwin: Lila Barker 3g, 3gb, 2ct; Kristin Burnetta 2g; Bridget Chakey 3g, 4a, 8gb, 1ct; Emily Fryer 1a, 4gb, 3dc, 4ct; Hannah Keating 8g, 1a, 2gb, 1dc; Sarah Nicolson 3dc
Alicia O’Neil 2gb, 1dc; Laura Pansini 4g, 2a, 3gb, 3dc, 2ct; Maria Pansini 3a, 2gb, 2ct; Morgan Pergolini 1dc; Sarah Platt 3gb, 1dc, 1ct; Elizabeth Spitz 1gb, 1dc; Kate White 1gb, 5ct
Saves – Friends’ Central: Elise Foster 3, Anne Pizzini 7; Agnes Irwin: Caroline Roncalli 7