By Harry Chaykun
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/23/16
Hailey Andress and Melina Avery have had a lot to talk about since the Agnes Irwin lacrosse team began preparing for the 2016 season.
Avery, who was in goal for Harriton High’s 2013 PIAA champions, has missed time during her playing career because of concussions. She took time off from her studies at Syracuse University this year and joined the AI coaching staff to work with the Owls’ goalies.
Andress, Agnes Irwin’s junior goalie, was hit by a shot during a practice session and suffered a concussion.
“I missed time from school, and I missed 10 weeks of lacrosse,” Andress said. “I learned from Melina that I should stick with it, but it took a long time.”
Saturday afternoon at the 16th Katie Samson Lacrosse Festival at Radnor, Andress turned back 16 shots and Laura Pansini scored seven goals as defending Inter-Ac League champion Agnes Irwin (8-4) earned a 14-8 decision over Great Valley (6-3), the fifth-ranked team in the PIAA’s District 1. The Patriots’ other losses had come to Inter-Ac leader Episcopal Academy and Conestoga, the top-ranked team in District 1.
“I did a lot of physical therapy and I had to go to ocular therapy,” Andress, who has committed to Cornell and would like to prepare for a career in bio-ethics, said.
Her coaches and her teammates did all they could to keep up her spirits while Andress was doing what was necessary to be able to return to the field.
“That really helped because it was so hard just watching,” Andress said. “When I came back, I never really was scared. I just found it so hard to concentrate.”
The Owls made it easy on Andress Saturday after falling behind, 2-0, in the first three minutes. Agnes Irwin scored the final four goals of the first half to claim an 8-3 halftime advantage, then scored four of the first six goals of the second half.
The Patriots’ Olivia Muscella cut into the Owls’ lead with her three goals before Pansini closed out the scoring with her final two tallies.
“We had a 15-4 advantage in getting to ground balls,” Agnes Irwin coach Jenny Duckenfield said. “And draw controls also were important.
“Hailey’s 16 saves also were a big part of the game for us, and (sophomore defender) Maria Pansini really helped lock down their attack. We’re happy with this win.”
Natalie Pansini chipped in with a pair of goals for Agnes Irwin.
“There’s always competition with us, especially when we’re playing in our back yard,” Laura Pansini, who will play next spring at Princeton University, said of the way she and her sisters go at each other in staying sharp for the lacrosse season. “We’ve learned to really work well together.
“We know that things will be getting intense for the rest of the season. Friday we have our rematch with (Episcopal Academy). That game means a lot to us if we want to win the Inter-Ac League again.”
Agnes Irwin 14, Great Valley 8
Agnes Irwin 8 6 – 14
Great Valley 3 5 – 8
Agnes Irwin: Laura Pansini 7G, Lila Barker 3G 2A, Natalie Pansini 2G, Sydney Wolfington 1G 1A, Emily Fryer 1G, Kristin Burnetta 3A.
Great Valley: Olivia Muscella 3G, Linnea Hughes 3G 2A, Ashlyn Smith 1G 1A, Tori Rubin 1G.
Saves: Mia Tornetta (GV) 10, Hailey Andress (AI) 16.