By Mark Zimmaro
Photos & Video/Mark Zimmaro
FAIRLESS HILLS--Twenty is a nice, round, even number. But the Archbishop Carroll High School girls’ lacrosse team is already thinking about 21.
The Patriots continued their Philadelphia Catholic League dominance by winning their 20th consecutive girls lacrosse title with a lopsided 16-4 victory over Cardinal O’Hara on Friday on the turf at Conwell-Egan High School in Fairless Hills.
Although it has become a springtime tradition longer than the current players have been alive, Carroll had to wait 24 months to continue its streak due to the pandemic wiping out competition last year. It only gave this current batch of Patriots more of an appetite to restore the trend.
“We were just excited to get back into it,” said Carroll junior Kiley Mottice. “We missed all of last year, so we just wanted to get back into this game and do our best.”
Mottice, A University of North Carolina commit, played as if it was her last, scoring five times in the first half as Carroll pulled away early. Her fifth came with just under two minutes remaining in the half to give the Patriots a 9-1 lead. Teammate Emma Talego, A Loyola University commit, put an exclamation point on the opening stanza with the team’s tenth goal with just eight seconds before the halftime horn.
“I was just ready to play,” Mottice said. “Our entire team is so talented and we’re a family and we play for each other. We just really wanted to beat them and play our hardest for everyone since we lost (the season) last year.”
Joining Mottice among the high scorers of the day was senior Keri Barnett, who potted four goals. Barnett experienced her first PCL championship after transferring from Interboro High School during her junior year. She liked that championship feeling.
“It was awesome,” Barnett said. “At the end, it was just a great feeling to leave it all on the field. We played really well.”
Talego and Julia Basciano each scored twice, while Michaela Henry, Sarah Durham and Nicole Pawelec each added a goal for the Patriots, who went 12-0 against Philadelphia Catholic League teams, extending their winning streak to an incredible 252 games against divisional rivals.
“There’s definitely pressure there,” Mottice said. “But it just pushes us to work harder in practice and against each other every day, just to get prepared for the game and ready to play.”
Despite the final outcome, Cardinal O’Hara made them work for it. After falling behind, 7-0, Lexi Culp broke the ice to get the Lions on the board. O’Hara played physically to make Carroll earn its goals, but the Lions had trouble converting their chances and were unable to overcome the early deficit. They were able to scratch out three goals in the second half.
“Even though we weren’t on today, we definitely have the potential to beat them in the coming years,” said O’Hara junior Ellie Miller. “We can keep it close with teams like this, but I think we don’t have confidence in ourselves sometimes and that kind of showed today.”
O’Hara has been the runner up in the last four PCL championships and six of the last nine. The Lions were the only PCL team to score more than one goal on the Patriots this season, scoring five in the regular season and four more in the championship.
Culp accounted for two in the final game, Miller had one, and Rachel Familetti added another. The Lions will lick their wounds and attempt to break the streak in 2022.
“It makes me angry,” Miller said. “I really want to come out and show them that O’Hara is better than this and shut down their power over the Catholic League over the last 20 years.”
The Patriots have other ideas.
“I know we’ll keep it going,” Barnett said. “The younger girls are great and have really been stepping up. I have a good feeling that it will keep going.”