By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/6/16
Livi Lawton said Team Philly played “like a family” during its runner-up finish in the Command Division (Classes of 2019 and 2020) last weekend at the Under Armour Underclassmen Games at Towson University.
“We were like family, we worked together as a team and we had no selfish players,” said Lawton, a 2019 midfielder/defender from Downingtown East who earned All-Tournament honors. “Even at the banquet Thursday we all sat together and we all became best friends.”
That camaraderie helped Team Philly stun Pool champion and previously-undefeated Baltimore, 7-6, in the semifinals. Team Philly later fell to New England, 16-7, in the title game.
All-tourney pick Emily Wills (Agnes Irwin) had three goals for Team Philly and Devin Whitaker (Episcopal Academy) scored the game-winner in the victory over Baltimore. Natalie Pansini (Agnes Irwin) had two goals, and Izzy Rohr (Episcopal Academy) scored once and had the caused turnover that led to the game-winner. Goalies Hayley Hunt (Penn Charter) and Mariah Sweeney (The Hill School) also stood out.
“We came out really hard against Baltimore in the second game,” said Lawton. “We knew we needed to win to get to the championship and we all knew Baltimore was undefeated and was essentially the best team in the pool and the tournament.
“It was amazing to win against an amazing group of girls like Baltimore.”
“When we lost to Baltimore the first time it was our first game and we hadn’t played together all that much and didn’t know each other,” added Pansini. “At the end we built chemistry and connected well. That helped us to win the second time.
“After each game we talked about helping each other. We all went to see the (Senior) All-American Game together. We all bonded and those connections off the field showed on the field.”
Rohr described the game-winning goal: “I chased down the Maryland girl. Shew saw me coming, but I came from behind her, made the check and ran it down the field and passed it and Devin scored the winning goal.
“It was better than if we had won the championship because they were the No. 1 seed. It was their first loss; it was the best feeling ever.”
Pansini admitted she was disappointed with the outcome of the title game, but felt the tourney was a complete success.
“I wish we could have done better in the championship game,” she said. “We didn’t really connect as well in the last game. I think we were a bit tired, but that doesn’t take away from what we learned and what we accomplished.
“It was amazing because when we lost to Baltimore the first time we really knew we could beat them if we did our best and connected. It all paid off and it felt amazing at the end to get the win.”
Rohr also said Team Philly began to jell as the tourney progressed.
“I think we learned how to communicate on defense with our slides,” she said. “We practiced and talked more and played music before every single game and learned to play together.
“When we played Baltimore the second time we came out with more anger than them. They may have been resting on their laurels and we came out with fire and passion.”
Why was Team Philly successful?
“We made a goal to play as a team and that helped us,” said Rohr. “Other teams didn’t have that dynamic. They usually had one player (taking the ball) and we transitioned it more and that set up a lot more girls.”
Team Philly was coached by Mark Pinkerton (Manheim Township coach, Xtreme Lacrosse), Colleen Magarity (Penn Charter coach, Triple H) and Dawn Cipolla (Parkland coach).
The Team Philly roster
Lindsey Barnes Berwyn, PA Academy of Notre Dame Defense
Rebecca Browndorf Dresher, PA Upper Dublin High School Defense
Olivia Dirks Wayne, PA Episcopal Academy Mid-Field
Lindsey Durkota Lancaster, PA Hempfield Mid-Field
Hayley Hunt Philadelphia, PA William Penn Charter Goalie
Kathryn Kelley Collegeville, PA Perkiomen Valley High School Mid-Field
Livi Lawton Downingtown, PA Downingtown East High School Mid-Field
Cassie Marte Collegeville, PA Spring-Ford High School Mid-Field
Isabelle McHugh Berwyn, PA Academy of Notre Dame Defense
Peyton Mottice Downingtown, PA Downingtown West High School Attack
Kara Nealon Garnet Valley, PA Garnet Valley High School Mid-Field
Regan Nealon Garnet Valley, PA Garnet Valley High School Attack
Natalie Pansini Villanova, PA Agnes Irwin Mid-Field
Kyra Place Enola, PA Cumberland Valley High School Mid-Field
Jillian Quigley Royersford, PA Spring-Ford High School Attack
Isabelle Rohr Malvern, PA Episcopal Academy Mid-Field
Lucy Svetec Lititz, PA Manheim Township High School Mid-Field
Mariah Sweeney Elverson, PA The Hill School Goalie
Kathryn Toohey Garnet Valley, PA Garnet Valley High School Mid-Field
Lindsay Walling Radnor, PA Episcopal Academy Mid-Field
Devon Whitaker Devon, PA Episcopal Academy Mid-Field
Emily Wills Maple Glen, PA Agnes Irwin Attack