By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/5/16
Josie Ferri said it was important to prepare her Episcopal Academy lacrosse team for the rigors of the Inter-Ac League by scheduling some tough non-league games and competing in the highly-competitive St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes Spring Fling last weekend.
That strategy paid off Tuesday when host EA defeated Agnes Irwin, 11-10, on a goal by Taylor Lucey with 2:28 remaining in an Inter-Ac League matchup of the league favorites.
“We played very strong teams in preseason and over Spring Break to help prepare us,” said Ferri, whose team is 8-1 and 1-0 in the Inter-Ac and ranked No. 6 by Phillylacrosse.com. “Agnes Irwin (ranked No. 2) is tough; they are fierce competitors and have a great team so we wanted to practice against the toughest. That’s why we went down to St. Stephen’s last weekend.”
EA defeated both perennial Illinois state champion Loyola Academy and DC-region power Academy of the Holy Cross (MD) in Virginia. It also has defeated Canadian power Hill Academy, St. Ignatius Prep (CA) and Upstate NY power Victor this spring, losing only to DC’s Georgetown Visitation, 12-11.
The tough games probably helped on Tuesday, especially down the stretch when EA staved off a man-down situation for two minutes in the final 2:20 of the game.
Julia Hondros led EA with three goals, six draw controls, two groundballs and two caused turnovers and had the tying goal with 4 minutes to play after Agnes Irwin had been carded. Katie Crager had three goals and an assist, Corinne Zanolli had two goals and two draw controls and Lucey scored twice. Overall, EA won the battle of the draw, 15-8.
Lila Barker poured in six goals for the Owls (3-3, 1-1), while Laura Pansini had four goals and an assist.
“I think it’s a really key win and we’re excited about it, but we definitely have things we want to work on,” said Hondros. “We want to play EA lacrosse every game and want to perfect what we do. But it’s a great win for us.”
Hondros credited the EA defense for helping stymie the Owls in the closing minutes and getting a key stop and groundball in the final 10 seconds. Goalie Sidney Gagnon also had a clutch save in the final minutes.
“It was definitely a roller coaster,” Hondros said. “Our defense played lights out at the end; there were some really key defensive plays.
“Playing down a man is not easy. We had to work as a unit and slide well. We came up with the groundball at the end.”
Agnes Irwin coach Jen Duckenfield – whose team has been hit hard by injuries and is still missing 2015 Co-Player of the Year Hannah Keating (rehabbing from torn ACL) – credited EA for controlling possessions and the draws.
“Injuries have taken their toll, but we will regroup,” Duckenfield said. “We just have to keep working hard.
“We are playing some younger players – even a few 8th graders – but we had our opportunities and did not execute when we needed to.”
“We practice a six-man zone against yellow card (situations) so we were prepared and stayed tough,” said Ferri. “The defense anchored us the whole game. Our transitions and the draw were key as well.”
Ferri was pleased with her team’s grit.
“This year, we are strong, balanced, and connected,” she said. “We have been working hard on being selfless with the ball, playing together all over the field and being resilient when we are down,” said Ferri. “That has carried us. Today we knew we had to play like Villanova – and play until the last second. Literally, it came to the last six seconds.”
Episcopal Academy 11, Agnes Irwin 10
EA 4-7- 11
Olivia Dirks- 1g, 2dc, 1gb
Darby O’Grady- 2dc, 1gb
Lauren Brenner- 2dc
Julia Hondros- 3g, 6dc, 2gb, 2cto
Colby Gallagher- 1dc, 2gb
Claudia Becker- 1gb
Olivia Tuma- 1gb
Katie Crager- 3g, 1a
Corinne Zanolli- 2g, 2dc
Izzy Rohr- 1gb
Taylor Lucey- 2g, 1a
Sydney Gagnon- 5 saves
Lila Barker 6g
Laura Pansini 4g, 1a
Kristin Burnetta 2a
Camilla Gowen 5 saves