By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/16/17
Jessica Goralski said being a part of Tuesday’s Friends’ Schools championship for Friends’ Central was a perfect ending to a season of major change.
“I love it here; the people here are amazing,” said Goralski, a Stony Brook signee who starred at South Jersey power Moorestown the past three years and transferred to City Avenue for her senior year. “It’s hard switching in your senior year. A lot of people would frown on that but it was the best decision I ever made in my life.
“I love playing with this team.”
The feeling is mutual for the Phoenix players. Goralski had 11 saves and six groundballs as the host Phoenix (12-3) defeated Germantown Friends, 10-3, for its third straight title.
There were plenty of standout performances for Friends’ Central. Senior Lorna MacFarlane had five goals and fellow senior Sophie Berger (one goal) fed her for three of those goals. Hannah Posencheg (one goal) paced the defense and one of many key freshmen, Brynne Menen, scored twice.
Friends’ Central scored four straight goals to close the first half with a 6-1 lead.
Goralski, who played with Team Philly in the Under Armour Underclassmen Games, is one of the top goalies in the region. She has fit in nicely at Friends’ Central.
“I went into it like it was any other game; I knew the defense would have my back,” said Goralski, who was the starter on a Moorestown team in 2014 that went 26-0 and finished ranked No. 2 in the nation. “Winning always feels great.
“It feels really really good. I really feel the love on this team! I think all of us contributed 110 percent. I really feel like this was a team win.”
Besides Menen, other freshmen that contributed offensively today were Aliza Sall (one goal) and Thea Volpp (two assists).
“Our coach (Jody Mayer) told us to play the same way we know how; there was no new offense or defense put in,” Berger said. “We just wanted to play all out. We told the younger girls the nerves would go away.”
MacFarlane said the few upperclassmen have blended well with the younger players.
“It was a struggle in the beginning; it’s hard to have freshmen having such big roles,” she said “But they are all so talented and once they got comfortable with the speed of the game and and the way we play as a team it was pretty easy. We all trust them a lot. I think it’s awesome they are able to come in as freshmen and make such a big impact.”
It didn’t hurt to add Goralski to the team. MacFarlane said her teammates were thrilled to learn a goalie with such a big name was transferring in last summer.
“I guided her in the summer on the student admissions committee,” she said. “I had heard of her. I think the entire team Googled her to see her highlight tape and we were super excited to add such a huge game changer.
“She is always communicating and is super loud. She sees the field very well. We were so excited going into the season knowing we had such a talent coming in. Today we kept them to three goals, which is amazing.”
Germantown Friends (9-6) got two goals from Natalie Harrity, one tally from Curran McLaughlin and standout goaltending from junior Corin Grady (12 saves, three groundballs, one INT).
GFS coach Kate Bergstrom, whose team has reached the Friends Schools finals in nine of the last 10 years, has had to rally her girls since losing top scorer Celia Meyer (2018 Colgate commit) to a fractured ankle three weeks ago. The Tigers started four freshmen on attack and have a freshman (McLaughlin) leading their midfield
“Celia contributed to about 80 percent of our offense through goals and assists and the girls have really picked it up,” Bergstrom said. “They just decided – especially our goaltender Corin – that they were going to move on without Celia.
“We had to work so hard to get the ball up the field that we didn’t have that last oomph on our shots. Today had eight starters that were freshmen or sophomores. We are super excited about this young crew.”
Friends’ Central 10, Germantown Friends 3
Friends Central 6-4- 10
Germantown Friends 1-2- 3
Lorna MacFarlane 5g
Sophie Berger 1g, 3a
Brynne Menen 2g
Aliza Sall 1g
Thea Volpp 2a
Hannah Posencheg 1g
Jess Goralski 11 saves, 6 GBs
Natalie Harrity 2g
Sophie Smith 1a
Curran McLaughlin 1g
Corin Grady 12 saves, 3 GBs, 1 INT