By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/27/16
Episcopal Academy dominated the draw and held Agnes Irwin scoreless for the game’s first 32 minutes Thursday en route to an 8-5 victory in the Pennsylvania Independent School Athletic Association championship at Cabrini College.
Julia Hondros helped EA (23-5) win 12 of 14 draw controls overall and snatched nine herself while Taylor Lucey and Katie Crager each scored two first-half goals as EA won the rubber match of the series with the Inter-Ac League champion Owls (19-6).
“Coming in we both knew we had strong teams; we knew it was who wanted it more,” said Hondros. “There’s a lot of hype, but we try to play our game. We came out strong. That was a goal of ours and we executed perfectly. The defense played lights out.”
EA led, 4-0, at the half and Hondros made it 5-0 early in the second half. Agnes Irwin’s Kristin Burnetta (two goals) finally scored 6:59 into the half and later the Owls pulled within 7-5 on a Burnetta tally with 1:35 left that capped a 3-0 spurt. But a charging call on transition gave EA possession.
Once EA took the early lead on goals by Crager and Lucey, EA managed to use the clock and work its offense slowly and effectively.
“We talked about taking advantage of every opportunity,” said Ferri. “Our slogan today was ‘Take it or make it.’ All game we were taking the opportunities we saw, or creating them ourselves. The girls did an outstanding job of reading the situation and reading the defense in every set. Overall, our game plan was to control the tempo; we would have loved to push it, but it was very hot out today and we needed our middies to play solid defense in both halves.
“The mids did an excellent job playing hard for all 50 minutes, but our attackers Taylor Lucey and Katie Crager put four goals in early on and that’s what gave our defense some breathing room.”
Agnes Irwin coach Jen Duckenfield credited EA and especially Hondros. “Julia Hondros was really strong on the draw, and that’s what won this game,” she said. “They did a great job.”
Hondros was ready for the task at he draw. She used her amazing reach to snare many from the air as Agnes Irwin tried to counter with different foes at the draw.
“It’s all about strategy and how you respond to the challenges presented,” said Hondros. “Agnes Irwin switched (players) five or six times; my goal is to get it in front of me to get a clean drop.
“This is the best way I could ever imagine going out, especially after losing last year. There is no other feeling like it.”
EA goalie Sydney Gagnon (six saved) said her team executed well all day, but also played with the passion to win.
“I think overall we wanted it more than they did,” she said. “It came down to passion. We’re a talented team and they are a talented team. This was three years in the making for us. We had so many roadblocks. It feels so good, especially since it’s our senior year.
“I’m just in disbelief right no. It feels so good to finally accomplish everything we set out for.
EA senior defender Claudia Becker said her team had a strong game plan.
“The preparation was key,” she said. “We had a Plan A, a Plan B and a Plan C. We knew what we wanted to do and we came out strong and kept the pace the entire game.
“It was well earned. What we said before the game was that it was a culmination of all of our work. Putting it together just feels great.”
“We knew we had it in us,” added Crager. “It was a matter of winning the little battles all of the field. That’s how we knew we we could win today.”
Concluded Ferri: “Julia took over and controlled the draw; the draw is key in the game of lacrosse. I am extremely proud of every player on this team though. Regardless of their role this year, each player has had a “WE not ME” mentality and that type of mindset always leads to incredible team success. They have all worked so hard and so selflessly this entire season. They certainly earned and deserve this win.”
Duckenfield said the loss could not detract from her team’s season. Despite a plethora of injuries, Agnes Irwin won its third straight Inter-Ac title (second straight outright) and had wins over Moorestown, Great Valley and Massachusetts power Lincoln-Sudbury.
“Hats off to my defense; they did a great job,” said Duckenfield. “We broke their stall, our attack just wasn’t clicking.
“I am still so proud of my kids. With our injuries and what we accomplished this year. I am really proud of them.”
Episcopal Academy 8, Agnes Irwin 5
Taylor Lucey 2g, 1a
Katie Crager 2g
Corinne Zanelli 1g, 1a
Julia Hondros 1g, 9 DC
Lauren Brenner 1g
Grace Norley 1g
Sydney Gagnon 6 saves
Laura Pansini 1g
Kristin Burnetta 2g
Lila Barker 1g, 1a
Kate White 1g
Hailey Andress 9 saves