By Anthony Caruso
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/6/15
MOORESTOWN, N.J. – Hannah Keating scored four goals and Hailey Andress posted 12 saves as visiting Agnes Irwin defeated Moorestown, 8-7, today in Philly-South Jersey battle of teams ranked in the STEPS Lacrosse North America Rankings.
The Owls, ranked No. 14 in the STEPS rankings and No. 3 in the region by Phillylacrosse.com, improved to 17-1. The No. 15 Quakers, who are No. 4 in Philly, dropped to 15-2.
“Our game plan was to control the tempo of the game,” Owls head coach Jen Duckenfield said. “We wanted to be very patient with the ball in the attacking end.
The loss is Moorestown’s first at home since the 2010 South Jersey Group 3 finals against the Shawnee Renegades. The have only lost two games since, to Ridgewood in the 2011 Tournament of Champions finals and last month at Ridgewood. In between the Quakers won 88 straight games.
“It is very special for us,” Duckenfield said. “Three years ago, our team was 2-18 and in the past two years, we’re now 39-3. We’ve definitely improved and every big win like this, especially to a great caliber team like Moorestown, it fuels the girls’ confidence.”
The Quakers were 0-for-7 in free positions shots on Andress.
“I had no idea during the game,” Andress said. “I was focused on each play. My teammates stay after practice every day to shoot 8-meters.”
Agnes Irwin appeared in command midway through the second half when it seized an 8-4 lead. But Quinn Nicolai (three goals) scored, followed by Annika Nissen and Alex O’Donnell.
With the time running out, the Quakers had a chance to tie after tallying three unanswered goals. However, Andress made several keys saves to preserve the 8-7 lead.
“I was scared out of my mind,” Andress said. “You just have to focus on the ball and forget about the scoreboard and how much time is left in the game. You have to block out the players and just focus on where the ball is going.”
Nicolai and Abbey Brooks had given the Quakers a 2-0 lead early on, but Kristin Burnetta made it 2-1 and Keating scored twice before the half to give the Owls a 3-2 lead. Right after halftime, Keating and Barker made it 5-2.
The Quakers responded with back-to-back goals by Nicolai and Nissen, before Keating scored her fourth and Lila Barker added two more,
“Lila is an incredible player,” Keating mentioned of the UVA recruit. “She’s always looking for the shot. She’s amazing to play with.”
Keating said her team was well prepared.
“Our goal was to work the ball through the midfield and the passes were on point,” Keating said. “We practiced fakes in practice, especially yesterday, then placing my shot.”
“When we went down 2-0, all I could think is what the heck did I schedule this game the day before my daughter’s graduation from Vanderbilt,” said Duckenfield.
Agnes Irwin 8, Moorestown 7
Agnes Irwin 3-5- 8
Moorestown 2-5- 7
Quinn Nicoli 3 goals
Annika Nissen 2 goals
Abbey Brooks 1 goal
Alex O’Donnell 1 goal
Jess Goralski 5 saves
Hannah Keating 4 goals
Lila Barker 2 goals, 1 assist
Kristin Burnetta 1 goal, 2 assists
Emily Fryer 1 goal
Hailey Andress 12 saves