By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/2/15
MIDLOTHIAN, Va. – Pennsylvania High School co-coach Kelli Romano said all tourney long that this team had a special “fire in its belly.”
That fire burned brightly today as Pennsylvania rallied from a 5-2 deficit with five unanswered goals to claim a 7-6 triumph over New Jersey for its first Brine National Lacrosse Classic title.
Maddie Major (Villa Joseph Marie, 2017 MF) scored the go-ahead goal and an insurance tally in the second half and Mia Tornetta (Great Valley, 2017, G) allowed just a meaningless tally with one second left as Pennsylvania completed a perfect tourney run (6-0).
“They had fire in their belly and they came with tenacity,” said Romano. “They never got down. We could have gotten down, but when it was time to get down they came back with more tenacity and rose up and got stronger.”
New Jersey, also undefeated coming in, used a 4-0 run – fueled by three tallies from Stefani Peluso (Immaculata, 2017 MF) – to seize a 5-2 lead late in the first half. But Nikki Stumpf (Fox Chapel, 2016 MF) scored on an 8-meter shot as the half ended and Pennsylvania dominated the second half.
First Natalie Kahn (Great Valley, 2017 ATT) scored her second goal to make it 5-4 and then Linnea Hughes (Great Valley, 2016 ATT) tied it with her second before Major scored twice. Tornetta made three saves in the second half.
“It feels great; this year we finally did it,” said Tornetta. “When they scored that goal at the end I said, ‘Let’s go’ and then (the buzzer sounded) and we’re celebrating and I was so excited.”
“We were down in the second half and we just knew we needed to pick it up and play the way we had been playing all tourney,” said 2017 midfielder Olivia Muscella (Great Valley).”We worked really well together. We were all very determined to get the ball and do good things.”
Also for Pennsylvania, Sophia Poppenberg (Quaker Valley, 2017) had three saves and Emily Kraus (Quaker Valley, 2016 ATT) scored once while Maggie Dobbins (Quaker Valley, 2017 ATT), three assists.
The PA team featured a strong mix of Philly players and a group from Pittsburgh that included Dobbins, Stumpf, Poppemberg, Maggie Dobbins and Aubrey Bouchard (Quaker Valley, 2016 AT). Quaker Valley was a state semifinalist that gave eventual state champion Garnet Valley all it could handle in the semis.
“We’re all so unselfish,” said Dobbins. “That’s the word I would use to describe our team and the one word that defines us.”
“I’m really excited because Pennsylvania hadn’t won here before and we really wanted to be the first team to win it,” said Buschella.
Pennsylvania 7, New Jersey 6
P: Kahn(2), Hughes (2), Major(2), Stumpf(1), Hughes(1)
Saves: Poppenberg(3), Tornetta(3)
NJ: Peluso(4), Ruskey(1), Sullivan(1)