By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 10/31/22
It’s hard to ignore the Mid Penn Blaze’s dominance.
The stats are indeed impressive: a 3-0 record and a 44-8 goal differential Sunday at the Victory Events Fall Classic at the Proving Grounds, and in the past two tournaments the Blaze is 7-0 with a 109-18 advantage.
Mid Penn doesn’t draw from a traditional area of lacrosse; all the players are from Central Pennsylvania and few are from the same high school. But the players say the team’s camaraderie is the biggest reason for the success.
“I feel like we all push each other to be the best we can be at practice and that translates to the games when other teams push us,” said midfielder Cadyn Eismann (Lower Dauphin). “We react well under pressure because we face the pressure at practice.
“We also work together really well, we’re not selfish and we pass to anybody that’s open.”
The Blaze earned wins Sunday over VA One 2024 (13-4), Yellow Jackets D Rowan (15-2) and 315 Elite Lacrosse-NY (16-2).
“We just have a good group of girls and our chemistry on and off the field is strong,” said midfielder Lucy Pickle (Danville), who has committed to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. “I think that comes with playing together. We’ve almost all been in the club since the beginning and we knew where each other is going to be. We can anticipate that. Also, we are always working on our fundamentals.”
Midfield Morgan Lantz (Palmyra), who has committed to UMass-Lowell, believes the Blaze can compete with elite club teams. The squad will get its chance to play top clubs at the IWLCA President’s Cup in Dallas on Nov. 18-20.
“I think our selflessness makes us successful,” she said. “I think we can beat anybody if we really wanted to. At the President’s Cup, we want to improve and go undefeated.”
Eismann could easily play Division I lacrosse, but wants to focus on academics and enjoying the game.
“I just want a good school academically, lacrosse is a bonus,” she said. “I want to get a career out of it.
“I feel like on any given day we can be competitive with any team as long as we play our game. At the President’s Cup we’ll probably play teams we haven’t played before. We want to work on fundamentals and get better; that’s why we play.”
Mara Furneri said her Yellow Jackets North-Williams squad never showed panic when it gave up a lead in its final game Sunday to Dark Horse (MD) in the Victory Events Fall Classic at the Proving Grounds.
“Our success came from taking one play at a time,” she said. “In all three games we played as a team.”
Furneri, an attack from Ridgefield (CT), scored the go-ahead goal and added an insurance tally late in the game to help YJN claim an 8-5 victory and cap a 3-0 afternoon to win the unofficial championship of the 2025 A Division.
The Yellow Jackets had four different leads until Dark Horse (1-2) tied it, 5-5, with 8 minutes left on a man advantage. But Furneri scored with 5:45 to play and added another tally a minute later.
“I think we worked well as a team, we connected well with our passes and there was no selfish play,” said attack Leyna Schnetzer (two goals) of School of the Holy Child (N.Y.). “Even when they tied it, we didn’t get down on ourselves. I felt that didn’t happen in the summer when we lost a lot of leads. This time we were keeping our strength the whole second half .”
The Yellow Jackets also showed their poise in the final 4:30 by holding the ball the rest of the way, salting the clock before scoring in the final seconds.
“We were tired but we stalled really well,” said Schnetzer. “We really hadn’t practiced that, so it was nice to see.”
“We never gave up on rides and transitions,” said midfield/defender Haley Gilland of Ridgefield (CT). “We’d go into a double team and when we had the ball we looked for the open girl and pushed the fastbreak. And if we lost the ball, we stayed positive and got back on defense right away.”
Also for the Yellow Jackets North, Kami Boniello (Fox Lane-NY), Sophia Collins (Canterbury School-CT), Kayla McCarthy (Hendrick Hudson-NY) and Charlotte Marion (Pelham Memorial-NY) each scored once.
“Our ride really saved us today,” said Furneri. “I think today that worked to our benefit as opposed to our deficit as it had in the summer.”