Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/19/19
FREDERICA, Del – Team Pennsylvania had redemption on its mind for both the North Jersey and the Southeast teams when the 2023 Girls’ Division playoffs arrived Thursday at the National Lacrosse Classic at the Delaware Turf Sports Complex.
After losing to both those foes in pool play, Team Pennsylvania routed North Jersey, 10-5, in the semifinals and then blitzed Southeast, 10-4, to take the team championship.
“The first game against North Jersey (5-3 loss) was called right at the start of the second half,” said Pennsylvania’s Claire Natoli (Central Bucks), noting that a storm caused a shortened game. “But the second day it was a redemption game because it seems they underestimated us.”
The Southeast had defeated Team Pennsylvania, 6-5, in the tourney opener. But in the final, Pennsylvania rolled.
“Our team worked very well together and we all trusted each other,” said Natoli. “We got excited before every game together and during the playoff games we were all prepared to redeem ourselves from the two games we had lost the day before.
I think that the team was so successful because of the positive enthusiastic coaching that we had with coach Kate Concheck (St. Francis-PA) and coach Annie (Morris).”
“Our team really turned it on in the playoffs,” added Kate Donovan (Mount St. Joseph). “I really think that this is because we started playing more as a team during the playoffs.
“The other teams had outstanding players, but we worked together to be an outstanding team. Most of our goals in the playoffs were assisted and included many players working together for each possession.
“I think that our team was very outgoing and friendly so it didn’t take a while before a group of random players became a winning team. Everyone on our team was very welcoming, and I think that it helped us play more fluently as a team.”
Natoli has played at the NLC three years and said the camaraderie makes it a special event.
“I think that this tourney has always been fun all three years I have done it,” she said. “Each year you get to meet new people, but also play with some of your teammates.
“This year I was lucky to play with eight other teammates of mine on Dynasty Elite and we mixed well with the rest of the girls who were super sweet and just fun to be around and play with.
“Playing at a high level of lacrosse is always fun and this tourney presents an opportunity to see all the competition that is out there. Everyone is so excited to be there and there is never a dull moment.”
“We turned it around in the playoff games by coming together and working as a team,” added Audrey Beck (Gwynedd Mercy Academy). “Our Pennsylvania team became more like a family by the end of the tournament.
“We worked hard together and brought the best out of each other. However, if it wasn’t for Coach Kara, none of this would have been possible.”
Grace Gannon, Dynasty Elite, Central Bucks South
Avery Russell, Xtreme, Palmyra
Megan Sanelli, Dynasty Elite, Methacton
Hadley Harbert, Dynasty Elite, Central Bucks East
Abby McCullough, Xtreme Lacrosse, Manheim Twp.
Anna Yanero, Hershey
Riley Poticher, Danville
Emily Hollinger, Dynasty Elite, Emmaus
Riley Troilo, Phantastix West, Governor Mifflin
Kaitlin Nieczpiel, Philly Blast, Strath Haven
Grace Decarolis, Philly Blast, Ridley
Kate Donovan, Dynasty Elite, Mount Saint Joseph
Avery Bickell, Dynasty Elite, Lower Merion
Audrey Beck, Dynasty Elite, Gwynedd Mercy
Emma Bradbury, HEADstrong, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy
Sarah Gowman, Xtreme, Twin Valley
Ella Koechert, Philly Blast, Ursuline Academy-DE
Claire Natoli, Dynasty Elite, Central Bucks