NEWTOWN SQUARE, PA –With approximately 1:24 remaining on the clock and the game tied 11-11, parents, fans and students in attendance this past Tuesday could foresee another impending overtime between the Episcopal Academy and Agnes Irwin School girls’ lacrosse teams.
EA junior Caroline Burt had other plans. The Yale commit scored for the Churchwomen with 21.8 seconds remaining to give Episcopal a 12-11 edge over the Irwins.
For any other team, 20 seconds would seem far-fetched to score a goal. However, AIS senior Emily Coyne managed to gain possession, pass to Natalie Corkran who found an open Emily Wills who took a last second shot on goal at the final buzzer.
It went slightly to the left of the post.
“This win is so special. It’s probably right at the top in terms of wins because we knew to get to our goal of winning the Inter-Ac outright, this was the game that was going to determine that. So this win really helps us to move forward and stick to our goal of winning the Inter-Ac outright which would be super awesome,” said senior and Penn State commit Olivia Dirks, who tallied three goals for EA.
The first half of the game was a lot of back and forth action, however for the majority of the quarter the Irwins had the upper hand. Up till the 14-minute mark, Agnes Irwin held a healthy 7-3 lead off goals from Julianne Carey, Brynn Ammerman, Marissa White (3), Cate Parsells and Wills. After a brief EA timeout, the Churchwomen came out firing. Junior Devon Whitaker scored two back-to-back goals for EA, which was followed by two consecutive goals from Dirks. Freshman teammate Alexa Capozzoli added in the final goal of the half to give the Churchwomen an 8-7 halftime lead.
Coming into the second half, the Churchwomen tallied another two goals in the opening five minutes from Capozzoli and Burt. Then Wills and Burt traded goals for AIS and EA before Natalie Pansini scored two straight for the Irwins to tighten the gap 11-10. Wills added in what would be the Irwin’s final goal to tie the game.
During the halftime intermission, Wills could visibly be seen standing in the center of the Irwin’s circle offering words of advice to pump up her teammates. After the game, Wills was emotionally proud of her teammates and all of their hard work they put in this season.
“Honestly, this team is full of the most hard-working girls I’ve ever played with in my life. It’s something that I’m going to cherish forever. I’ve never met someone that I could make such a terrible mistake, and in turn they will be like ‘it’s fine, it doesn’t matter.’ They are like my sisters, they are the 32 sisters I’m never going to have again and I’ve loved every minute of it,” said Wills, Agnes Irwin’s senior co-captain who will be playing at Loyola next year.
While the two squads would normally meet again in the Pennsylvania School’s Independent Athletic Association state tournament, both Agnes Irwin and Episcopal will opt out this year due to the rescheduling of the school’s J-terms. After the game during the team handshakes, there was a friendly exchange between EA senior Izzy Rohr and AIS senior Emily Coyne. “Next time we will be playing on the same team,” said Rohr. To which Coyne replied, “Thank God!” Both seniors will be taking their talents to the University of Pennsylvania next season.
EA senior co-captains Olivia Dirks (L) and Izzy Rohr (R) - PSD Photo by Zamani Feelings
Because EA has won both of the match-ups against the Irwins, this game would more than likely mean the Churchwomen would win the Inter-Ac title as long as they win one out of their next three games, which are against Springside Chestnut Hill, Germantown Academy and Penn Charter. The Churchwomen garner an impressive 16-0 record this season. While each member of EA’s team would collectively attribute their success to one another, there are two individuals that have achieved tremendous success during their tenure with the program, senior co-captains Olivia Dirks and Izzy Rohr. During their careers, Dirks has notched 200 goals, 200 points and 500 career draws and Rohr has caused 100 turnovers and won 200 draws.
EA’s team motto this year is “All-In,” and that includes being all inclusive with the EA community. Coming away with the victory meant more to EA in this game than just winning another Inter-Ac match-up.
Gracing the Churchwomen’s sideline was a new teammate, second grade student Mary Andersen. Mary was diagnosed with leukemia and was granted a wish through the Make-A-Wish Foundation to create a special design print for Lilly Pulitzer. During Mary’s trip to the Lilly Pulitzer headquarters at the King of Prussia Mall, members of EA’s girls’ lacrosse team went to show their support for Mary after learning about her love for lacrosse.
“Mary created her own Lilly Pulitzer design. A few of our teammates went to King of Prussia and helped her do that,” said Dirks. “She’s such a cute little girl and we wanted to support her with our team and bring her into our lacrosse community because she wants to play lacrosse when she’s older. So, we wanted to make her feel welcome, cheer her on and make her feel so special today.”
EA girls' LAX celebrate their victory with honorary teammate Mary Andersen - Photo courtesy of Episcopal Academy.
Mary’s print is called “Magical Mary” which features a unicorn, her favorite animal, and two flowers daffodils, which are the symbol of the American Cancer Society, and daisies in support of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Daisy Days annual fundraiser. Mary’s design also showcases the script “Mary’s Wish by Lilly Pulitzer” hidden amongst the whimsical print. A portion of the proceeds from each “Magical Mary” sale will be donated directly to CHOP, as part of Mary’s wish.
Looking ahead: AIS will host Springside Chestnut Hill on Friday, May 2 at 3:30 p.m. EA will host Springside at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 7 in their next Inter-Ac game.