By Harry Chaykun
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/9/16
The weather conditions weren’t very good Saturday morning, especially when the snow began to accumulate on the Agnes Irwin field during the second half its contest with powerful Good Counsel (MD) in the Checking for Cancer Invitational.
Agnes Irwin senior Emily Fryer didn’t seem to mind.
“It’s great to be playing lacrosse,” said Fryer, who is headed to Brown University and who led Agnes Irwin in draw controls and groundball pickups Saturday. “Today was about playing with mental toughness. That was you can have fun regardless of the conditions.”
For Agnes Irwin, the conditions included facing one of the top teams in the country with a lineup shortened by injuries.
The visiting Falcons, coming off an emotional 9-7 win over Bishop Ireton Friday afternoon, earned a 12-5 decision, scoring six goals in each half. Good Counsel, ranked second in the STEPS Lacrosse Rankings, are 8-0 while the Owls are 4-4.
Last week Good Counsel won a monumental 16-14 contest over St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes, the No. 3 in the country. Coach Michael Haight said his team is still trying to find the focus it had in that game.
“The second half of our game (vs. Bishop Ireton) and the first half of this game weren’t the way we want to be playing.” Haight said.
Junior Taylor McDaniels, a North Carolina commit, led the Falcons with five goals and one assist and sophomore Chloe Johnson (Ohio State) chipped in with a pair of goals.
Fryer and Kristin Burnetta scored two goals apiece for Agnes Irwin.
“We did a good job in the first half of shutting down their attack,” Agnes Irwin coach Jenny Duckenfield said. “But we have to do a better job of getting to goal.
“You have to give Good Counsel credit for playing through the elements like they did. And we didn’t pressure the ball like we should (in the second half).”
A goal by Burnetta cut Agnes Irwin’s deficit to 7-4 with 15 minutes to play, but the visiting Falcons scored five goals in six minutes to put the Owls away.
The coaches and players understood the importance of the cause for which Saturday’s games were played.
“I lost my mom to cancer,” Duckenfield said. “That’s why I appreciate a team like (Good Counsel) coming up here and being part of this.”
Checking for Cancer was created eight years ago to benefit programs targeted to community support, research, education and awareness of prostate, colorectal and testicular cancers.
Haight recalled the days when his sister had major health issues.
“She had leukemia when she was young,” Haight said, “but she’s fine now.
“I’ve been coaching for 15 years, and I’ll come up here another 15 years if it means playing a game like this.”
Fryer said she was happy to do whatever she could to help those who are suffering from cancer.
“It’s great to play for something that’s helping somebody who can use your help,” she said. “Now we have to get back to getting ready for all the big games we still have left to play this season.”
Good Counsel 12, Agnes Irwin 5
Good Counsel 6 6 – 12
Agnes Irwin 2 3 – 5
Good Counsel: Taylor McDaniels 5G 1 A, Chloe Johnson 2G, Caitlyn Gunn 1G 1A, Grace DeRose 1G, Kendall Welch 1G, Halle Graham 1G, Taylor DeRose 1G, Alexis Rieu 1A, Ionnna Mantzouratos 1A.
Agnes Irwin: Kristin Burnetta 2G, Emily Fryer 2G, Laura Pansini 1G, Kacy Hogarth 1A.
Saves: Kiley Keating (GC) 11; Haley Andress (GC) 6.