ROSEMONT, PA – Last year it was “Stronger Together,” this year the Episcopal Academy Churchwomen are honoring the phrase “All In” as this season’s team motto.
“We say it before the game or to each other during the game. It really just resembles our unit this year. This year we are definitely ‘All in’ and it’s an all-in mentality, not one person can be out of it, even the sideline, our goalie, everyone has got to be in,” said EA junior defender Jayne Morley, who has committed to play for Harvard.
This past Thursday, that mentality was displayed in full-force as the Churchwomen defeated Inter-Ac rival Agnes Irwin 13-10.
“It was a huge win. We just played Notre Dame on Tuesday and this was just icing on top of the cake. We have so much more work to do, but this was really huge for our team and for our team’s spirit. It really defined our ‘All-in’ motto,” said Morley, who was graced with the task of defending AIS senior offensive attack and Loyola commit, Emily Wills.
While the Churchwomen left with the overall victory, the Irwins were the first to strike on the board off a quick goal a little less than a minute into the game from freshman Marissa White.
Agnes Irwin senior Grace Bartosh said the early goal by White got her team moving.
“At the very beginning when we scored that first goal, I was so excited because this is literally the biggest match-up of the year and this goes way back. Every single game between us and EA is so exciting and so fun because they are such a great team. It’s just such a deep rooted rivalry,” said Bartosh, who will be playing at Harvard University next season.
After White’s goal, EA settled in their offensive zone scoring three back to back goals from sophomore Sarah Groark, junior Devon Whitaker and senior Olivia Dirks. Agnes Irwin junior Julianne Carey snagged a quick pass from teammate Natalie Pansini to tighten the gap 3-2. After three more EA goals from Dirks, Caroline Burt and Alexa Capozzoli and an added Irwin’s goal from Carey, the Churchwomen entered the half with a healthy 7-3 lead.
In the second half, Episcopal Academy pulled away with goals from Dirks (3), Burt (2) and Whitaker who gave their team an added cushion of 12-5 with 13 minutes remaining in the contest. However, the Irwins were not ready to back down on their home turf. Wills (2), Carey, White and Pansini rallied to score five consecutive goals for the Irwins, cutting EA’s lead 12-10 with 1:37 to go.
“Once EA started taking control we had to bring the team together and say ‘Alright, we got this. Let’s stay calm,’ And we had to bring the intensity up because we were lacking it in the middle of the game. So, what we needed to do was amp up how hard we were playing because the team that wins is always the one that works the hardest,” said Bartosh. “Like we said last week, our team motto is ‘Work hard, play harder,’ so that’s really what we tried to do at the end. And then at the very end when we started to get our goals back and we were only down by two, it was such a big moment because we were so close and I’m just so excited for our next game between us.”
With 11 seconds left on the clock, Burt scored EA’s final goal to seal the 13-10 crucial road victory.
“It’s always a battle between us every year. Every team wants it just as much as the other one. We really came out strong and wanted it,” said Dirks, who tallied six goals overall in the Churchwomen’s victory.
Last year, the two squads split a share of the Inter-Ac title, with the Irwins ultimately topping EA 12-7 to win the Pennsylvania Schools Independent Athletic Association girls’ lacrosse championship. Each game between the two squads brings an added sense of confidence and wisdom.
“We need to take this loss into consideration because seeing them celebrate on our field, that hurts a lot because this is our field and we want to take pride in it. So we just need to get out in practice and keep working harder and changing our game plan and find something that’s going to work because there are so many talented people on our team and I just have so much faith in our team,” said Bartosh.
With the win EA remains undefeated at 7-0 (4-0 Inter-Ac), while Agnes Irwin moves to 8-2 (2-1 Inter-Ac). Looking ahead, Agnes Irwin will visit Springside Chestnut Hill tomorrow at 3:30 PM. Episcopal’s next league match-up will be against Germantown Academy on April 16 at 3:30 PM.
Alexa Capozzoli 1g
Sarah Groark 1g
Caroline Burt 3g
Devon Whitaker 2g
J. Morley 1gb
Olivia Dirks 6g
Gianna Cilluffo 6 saves
Marissa White 3g
Julianne Carey 3g
Emily Wills 2g
Natalie Pansini 2g