Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/14/16
No, that is not a typo.
On Friday night, Abington made a statement as it prepared for the postseason, defeating two-time defending state champion Garnet Valley, 9-7, on its home turf.
With the win, the Ghosts not only served notice that they are peaking at exactly the right time but also made Ghost coach Amanda Kammes – who had this date circled on her calendar since taking over the helm – look like something close to a genius for boldly predicting all season that her team was building for its season finale against the team she used to coach as an assistant.
Skeptics smiled and nodded – certain it was nothing more than coach talk as Kammes repeatedly pointed to the Ghosts’ road trip to Delaware County for a date with the Jaguars.
“I’ve been talking with the kids about this game since December,” said the first-year coach, an assistant at Garnet Valley during its 2011 and 2012 state title runs. “I know these Garnet Valley kids really well – I know the kids that are on the team since they were in fifth and sixth grade.
“It was kind of a homecoming for me. I’m excited and I’m extremely proud of the kids for playing such a composed, well-executed game – and that’s honestly what it was. They just executed today, but there’s a lot of lacrosse left to play if we so choose.”
Abingtonm which finished second in the Suburban One American at 8-1, closed its season at 15-3. Garnet Valley, No. 6 in the Phillylacrosse.com Rankings, finished 13-4-1, and 1-3-1- in its last five games.
Last year the Jaguars went 2-4 in their last six regular-season games – and then won the PIAA title for the fourth time in five years.
The key to Friday’s win for Abington, according to Kammes, was execution.
“We had a game plan going into the game, and the kids followed it beautifully,” Kammes said. “They were composed, they played together, they outworked Garnet Valley on both ends of the field for the entire 50 minutes.
“This is what we’ve been working on and waiting for all year, and I knew that we had it, quite honestly. There’s a lot to be said for peaking at the right time, and this is the time to do it.
“Our defense literally shut them down. We executed to a ‘t,’ we were very disciplined. We didn’t get any yellows, and Garnet Valley, I think, had four yellows. I can’t even explain it. They were composed, cool, calm and collected like we’d been here before even though we haven’t.”
The Ghosts took a 6-3 lead into halftime and led by as many as four coming down the stretch.
“We were playing for each other, we weren’t playing for ourselves, which is something Amanda has stressed a lot this season,” junior Sam McGee said. “I have to credit her with so much of the success of this game because we really just trusted her, we had faith in her and her coaching.
“She said that they play a packed-in eight (defense), so you have to bring it out and make them come to you. We just pulled it out, and we capitalized on the opportunities we had.”
Capitalizing hardly sums up a night that saw the Ghosts connect on 9-of-12 shots.
“Our team was just different tonight,” McGee said. “I think we saw it coming when we beat Wissahickon (16-3), and we were like, ‘Wow, we played awesome, we can do this.’
“We really struggled this season with not playing the whole game. We’d play a really good first half, a really good second half. I think this game was the full 50, and I think that was the difference maker.”
McGee – despite being the focal point of the Jaguars’ defense – led the Ghosts with four goals to go along with four draw controls and one caused turnover. Casey McCallister also came up big with three goals, two assists and two ground balls.
“Casey McCallister has been struggling a little bit down the stretch, and she had a great game,” Kammes said. “She was very composed, didn’t do too much, did just enough.
“McGee was face guarded the entire game. She played that role well. We prepped for it, we talked about it and expected it. She became an off-ball cutter and set her teammates up and was very patient.”
Mikki Raymond and Rachel Morris each added one goal. Raymond also had two caused turnovers, two ground balls and five draw controls. Jules Greco had a pair of assists while Cathy Staerk added one assist, one caused turnover, one ground ball and one draw control. Emma Garg had one draw control, and Lindsay Baer had one ground ball.
Abington goalie Kiara Brasher was credited with seven saves in the win.
“We’re playing the highest competition we possibly can be playing,” McGee said. “The defending state champions – we just beat them.
“It’s important just from an experience standpoint because we’re not a Central League team. We’re from the Suburban One. We’re not used to that all the time, so Radnor and this game were really important for us to play well. I think we really did. It’s going to mess up LaxPower (rankings). Everything is going to move around.”
“The LaxPower rankings are going to be interesting,” Kammes said. “It’s been a wild week in District 1, and it’s not over.
“It’s going to be a really interesting seeding meeting. I’ll be real interested to see where we end up with this win.”
Abington 6-3 9
Garnet Valley 3-4 7
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