By Harry Chaykun
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/9/17
Last year’s Checking for Cancer Invitational at Agnes Irwin School had to be halted during the third game because of snow.
Saturday afternoon, Vrginia power Bishop Ireton came to Agnes Irwin for the girls’ feature game, but the contest was halted 18 minutes into the first half after Ireton coach Rick Sofield took his team off the field following a goal scored by a player whose name was not in the official book.
The controversial tally would have cut Irwin’s lead to 6-5. Sofield said the player’s name was in the Checking for Cancer program, and after a discussion, he decided to forfeit rather than continue with the score at 6-4.
“The rules have to be the rules and they have to be enforced,” said Agnes Irwin coach Jenny Duckenfield, whose team is now 5-1. “They had the option of taking the goal off the board and continuing the game, but they chose not to do that.
“This was Checking for Cancer. It’s a little disappointing that there wasn’t more sportsmanship shown. We were looking forward to a good game against a good team.”
Sofield was also disappointed and gave this statement later Saturday night:
“We drove 3 hours for a charity event because we promised a home-and-home (the teams played last year at Ireton) and I felt it was not a safe and sound environment for my players. It was very disappointing, but I felt it was not a safe environment for the team to compete.”
The game itself featured two teams that are perennially ranked among the nation’s top teams. Madison Mote, a junior midfielder who is committed to Notre Dame, had scored one goal and added an assist for Bishop Ireton (6-4), which came into the game with a three-game winning streak and has lost tight games to powers Notre Dame Prep (14-12), Georgetown Visitation (10-6) and Manhasset (8-7). Agnes Irwin was coming off a tough triple overtime loss (13-12) to Inter-Ac League rival Episcopal Academy.
Lila Barker, who is headed to the University of Virginia, scored three goals, Maria Pansini had a goal and an assist, and Emily Wills and Sydney Wolfington also got goals for Agnes Irwin. Freshman Natalie Pansini claimed eight draw controls as the Owls owned an 8-3 advantage in the circle.
“They didn’t have an answer for Natalie,” Duckenfield said. “She was so strong on the draws.”
Pansini, who played as a fourth grader in a program Duckenfield conducted five years ago, is in her second varsity season at Agnes Irwin.
““We’ve really worked on draws in practice,” said Pansini. “We know how (winning) draws can help you win games.
“The other day we let things get to us (in an Inter-Ac League loss to Episcopal Academy). We had to get back to keeping our focus on playing the way we know how to play.”
Barker had one assist but did not get a goal in the triple-overtime loss to EA.
“We were worried too much about the rivalry and not about playing together in that game,” Barker said. “Today we did a better job of working with each other.”
Agnes Irwin 6, Bishop Ireton 4 at Checking for Cancer
BI forfeited after 18 Minutes of play
Lila Barker 3G
Nat Pansini 1G/1A 8DC
Em Wills 1G
Sydney Wolfington 1G
Hailey Andress 3 Saves