By Harry Chaykun
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/30/19
Episcopal Academy was playing with a purpose when it hosted Agnes Irwin in an Inter-Ac League game Tuesday afternoon.
“One of our goals was to win the league championship,” senior Olivia Dirks said.
It took a goal by junior Caroline Burt with 22 seconds for EA, which trailed at one point of the first half by four goals, to claim a 12-11 decision and take a major step toward clinching the Inter-Ac championship.
EA (16-0) is 9-0 in the Inter-Ac, two games ahead of Agnes Irwin and Notre Dame Academy. EA has league games remaining with Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, Germantown Academy and Penn Charter.
Senior Lindsay Walling, who has missed the entire season while recovering from surgery to repair a torn knee ligament, explained that there was another purpose behind her team’s comeback effort that resulted in a victory.
“We played this game for Mary,” Walling said, referring to Episcopal Academy second grader Mary Andersen, an 8-year-old from Newtown Square who became an honorary member of the EA team Tuesday.
“Mary has leukemia, but she’s in remission now. She decided that for her Make A Wish she wanted to design a fashion print for Lilly Pulitzer. It was on display at King of Prussia Mall last weekend, and some of us from the team went up to see it.”
The print features Mary’s favorite things, including unicorns, the colors pink, purple, and blue, as well as daisies in honor of Children’s Hospital’s Daisy Days, and daffodils, symbol of the American Cancer Society.
“We were talking to Mary’s mom and found out that lacrosse is her favorite sport,” Walling said. “So we decided to invite her to this game and dedicated the game to her.”
Mary got to stand on the sideline with Walling during the contest, went with the players and coaches as they held their post-game meeting, and was given a special shirt as a memento of the occasion. She recently appeared on Good Morning America, and her print design is available at Lilly Pulitzer stores across the country, with a portion of the proceeds being donated to Children’s Hospital.
Agnes Irwin fell behind, 2-1, early in Tuesday’s game before scoring six of the next seven goals to gain a 7-3 advantage after only eight minutes had been played. Freshman Marissa White needed just over two minutes to get three goals, and she helped set up a score by ninth grader Cate Parsells.
Devon Whitaker and Olivia Dirks, who both finished with three goals, started the EA comeback, by both scoring twice, and freshman Alexa Capozzoli put the home team ahead to stay two minutes before halftime.
“We tried to come out fast,” Dirks, who chipped in with seven draw controls, said. “When we got behind, we knew we had to focus on our game plan. Even when we went up (by three goals), we knew that might not be enough.”
Capozzoli added EA’s first goal of the second half, then Burt sandwiched a pair of scores around a goal by Agnes Irwin’s Julianne Carey, who also had an assist as well as seven draw controls.
Natalie Pansini got goals less than three minutes apart for AI, and Emily Wills got the tying score with 2:37 left in the second half.
On the ensuing draw, a yellow card against Episcopal gave Irwin possession, but that lasted only a minute before an errant pass resulted in a turnover.
“They started face-guarding (Dirks) in the second half, so we had to make some adjustments,” Burt said. “We were working the ball for that last shot after we got it back. When I thought I had the opening, I just went for it. I took the ball left-handed and made a low shot.”
It was the kind of special play she will remember for a long time, especially because she gave Mary Andersen a very special memory on her very special day.
Episcopal Academy 12, Agnes Irwin 11
Agnes Irwin 7 4 – 11
Episcopal Academy 8 4 – 12
Agnes Irwin – Marissa White 3G 1A, Emily Wills 3G, Natalie Pansini 2G 1A, Julianne Carey 1G 1A, Brynn Ammerman 1G, Cate Parsells 1G.
Episcopal Academy – Olivia Dirks 3G 1A, Devon Whitaker 3G, Caroline Burt 3G, Alexa Capozzoli 2G, Sarah Groark 1G.
Saves – Paige Crowther (AI) 11; Gianna Cillufo (EA) 8.