By Harry Chaykun
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/12/21
Archbishop Carroll used a 6-0 run to open the second half to key a dominant 25 minutes as it toppled Strath Haven, 14-6, today to claim the PIAA Class AA girls’ lacrosse championship at West Chester East.
Keri Barnett scored all of her four goals in the second half for the District 12 champion Patriots (20-4) and Kiley Mottice, Julia Basciano, Machaela Henry and Emma Talago each scored twice.
“We had to tell them not to let things get in their heads,” Beers said of her players’ first-half difficulties. “We couldn’t keep playing like that. This was a great group that worked hard all year. We lost some early games, but those games made us better.
“I had a great group of seniors, and I will miss them. But they also had some younger players helping them, and that was important.”
Strath Haven (19-6-1), the District 1 runner-up, had taken a 4-2 halftime lead with the aid of clutch shooting by Devon Maillet (four goals) and brilliant goaltending by Erin Spaulding, who had seven saves in the stanza – six on 8-meter shots.
The Patriots took control immediately in the second half as Mottice scored 38 seconds after the draw and Henry tied it two minutes later. Barnett then scored her first on a 2-man advantage as the Panthers got called fr a fourth yellow card.
The Panthers had to play all but the first two minutes of the second half short-handed after an accumulation of yellow cards. The three first-half cards were called on checks to the head and neck. The fourth card was for a dangerous propel.
Barnett converted again to make it 6-4 and Nicole Pawelec and Basciano added goals to make it 8-4 before Maillet stopped the run. The final four of those six goals came after SH’s fifth yellow card left the Panthers playing with five defenders against seven Carroll attackers in the restraining zone.
Carroll also dominated the draw in the second half, winning 75 percent of the possessions.
Barnett made it 9-5 and after Danielle McNeely cut it to 9-6, Henry, Talago and Sienna Golden scored to make it 12-6.
With Henry, Karli Dougherty, Ella Wright and freshmen Sienna Golden and Chloe Bleckley heading up the winners’ defensive unit, Strath Haven was outshot, 17-3, in the second half.
Dougherty, who took part in losing efforts in a state championship basketball game as a sophomore and a state field hockey final as a senior, realized that having the chance to go home wearing a gold medal was worth the wait.
“After what happened in the other sports, this has been great,” Dougherty, a Drexel University commit, said. “The mindset all week was that we would come here today, stay strong and keep fighting.
“We had some lows in the first half, but in the second half we were finding cutters and doing things as a team. I remember being here four years ago when I was in eighth grade and Carroll won and I told myself that I was going to have the chance to be a part of this by going to Carroll.
“To play for (coach Lorraine Beers) you know you will be on a winning team and a team that has a chance to win states. That’s what really meant something. We knew today we had one game to go to play as a team, and that’s what we did.”
“We told ourselves we were better than that,” Barnett added of the first-half struggles. “We knew we had to play better.”
Talago, who set up teammates for three goals and scored twice, admitted that at times it was tough to ignore the distractions Saturday.
“We had to get things together and put things like all those cards and what the refs were doing aside,” said the junior. “We told ourselves at halftime that the bottom line was that we had 25 minutes left. And everyone knew it was the last 25 minutes for the seniors.
“No one wanted to let them down.”
Maillet did not focus on the fouls, but preferred to take positives from the game and the season.
“We were unlucky and they were very hard to defend 1v1, they are so deep,” she said. “Our goalie probably had her best game; she was amazing and our defense played so well together.
“We gave it all we had and left it on the field. As long as I worked hard, I’m OK with that. I love these girls, they are family to me.
“I think we grew as a team and I think we (finished) as a very different team. We just got so much better because we we got used to each other.”
Carroll did not score for the first 16:45 of the game as Spaulding and Haven’s defense stood out. Mottice finally scored to make it 3-1 and Talego cut the deficit to 3-2 before Maillet gave the Panthers a 4-2 lead before the half.
This is Archbishop Carroll’s second PIAA title; the Pats won the AAA championship in 2017. Strath Haven previously lost in the 2009 and 2012 finals (one class in those years).
PIAA AA Championship
Archbishop Carroll 14, Strath Haven 6
Strath Haven 4 2 – 6
Arch. Carroll 2 12 – 14
Devon Maillet 4G
Danielle McNeely 1G 2A
Grace Kelly 1G
Erin Spaulding 11 saves
Keri Barnett 4G, 2A, 3DC
Emma Talago 2G, 3A
Kiley Mottice 2G, 1A, 2CT
Julia Basciano 2G,1A
Machaela Henry 2G,4DC
Nicole Pawelec 1G
Sienna Golden 1G
Brooke Wilson 3DC, 2GB
Karli Dougherty 4CT, 4GB
Sophie Kvetan 2 saves