(Photos and Video by Kathy Leister, James Quinn, Colleen Claggett & Zack Beavers)
BY MARC NARDUCCI
This was a regular season game played with championship intensity and for good reason - the girls’ lacrosse title in the Inter-Ac was on the line.
Episcopal Academy Friday’s game at defending champion Agnes Irwin 8-1 in league action. Agnes Irwin was 7-2. An EA win, would clinch at least a tie for the title. An Agnes Irwin win would create a tie for first place.
On Friday, in a game that began to a slight drizzle and ended with the sun kind of shining, visiting Episcopal Academy started fast and held off a late Agnes Irwin charge to earn a 9-7 victory.
That clinched at least a tie for the Inter-Ac title for EA, which would win it outright with a victory over either Germantown Academy or Baldwin, two teams it has beaten by a total of 19 goals the first time.
For Episcopal Academy senior Bella Piselli this was a long time coming.
As a freshman she was a starter on Episcopal Academy’s Inter-Ac championship team. Her sophomore season was canceled due to COVID and last year Agnes Irwin was champion.
“Cap and I have been looking forward to this since freshman year and we said we’re not leaving the scene out another Inter-Ac championship under our belt,” she said, referring to fellow senior Alexa Capozzoli, who was also a starter as a freshman. “Getting the younger players to buy in was really big for us and they were really eager, so we knew that we needed to give everything in our last season.”
In this game Episcopal Academy gave everything, but so did Agnes Irwin.
Episcopal Academy jumped to a 3-0 lead and played the front-runner the entire game. The lead would expand to 9-4 in the second half before Agnes Irwin made a valiant comeback.
Not only did Agnes Irwin cut the deficit to 9-7 when Cate Parsells scored with 2:52 left, but the home team also would again gain possession and apply plenty of pressure. In short, Agnes Irwin never stopped fighting.
“We fought back, got it to two with (just under) three minutes left,” said Agnes Irwin senior Marissa White, who was sensational, scoring five goals. “It was huge for us that we kept putting on the pressure.”
White and her teammates knew what they were up against. Episcopal Academy’s only Inter-Ac loss was 13-12 to Springside Chestnut Hill Academy. (In a rematch earlier this week, EA beat SCH, 19-7).
In their earlier meeting, Episcopal Academy defeated Agnes Irwin, 10-6 on March 24.
“EA is our big rival, we played them in the beginning of the season, and we have grown a lot since that game and improved a lot, so we were definitely ready to play this game,” White said. “We prepped all week and were really excited for the game but unfortunately it didn’t go our way, but I still think we played strong and fought back in the end.”
No doubt about that, but EA also had plenty of fight.
This is an EA team with a good combination of youth and experience. The leading scorers in this game give evidence to this fact. Piselli, a Villanova commit, had three goals for the winners as did freshman Quinn Whitaker.
Getting off to a quick start, which included a 7-4 halftime lead, was huge for EA.
“That quick start helped us ease into the game and just get control and take some deep breaths and play how we know how to play,” said Whitaker, who performed like a seasoned veteran.
In addition to her hat trick, Piselli had six ground balls and three draw controls. Whitaker added two ground balls and one draw controls.
Lex Ventresca added two goals, one assist, two ground balls and one caused turnover. Capozzoli added one goal, two draw controls and three ground balls.
Franny Gallagher had one ground ball and one caused turnover. Avery Le added two ground balls. Kate Dente contributed one draw control and two ground balls. Maisy Montgomery had one ground ball and Sydney Richter had two draw controls and two ground balls.
Grace Holland made seven saves.
Since both teams were fighting for first place, Piselli said she felt like this was a championship game.
“One hundred percent,” she said. “We said from the beginning that this is the biggest game this season. If we win this game, we win the title.”
And that is what Episcopal Academy did.
Both teams played with tremendous urgency, but it was Episcopal Academy which prevailed in winning one of the toughest divisions in Southeastern PA.
In the aforementioned 19-7 win over Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, Capozzoli had five goals and three ground balls, Whitaker added four goals, one assist, seven draw controls, Piselli had three goals and two assists and Maura Irish and Ventresca each had two goals. Sydney Richter had 12 draw controls. Holland made eight saves.
Capozzoli, Ventresca and Brooke Stocku combined for 14 goals in Episcopal Academy’s 19-4 non-league win over Germantown Friends. Capozzi had six goals, Ventresca added four goals and two assists and Stocku had four goals and one assist.
Inter-Ac standings (through Friday May 13)
Episcopal Academy 9-1, 18-2
Penn Charter 8-3, 16-5
Agnes Irwin 7-3, 9-6
Springside Chestnut Hill Academy 7-4, 13-4
Academy of Notre Dame 3-7, 4-12
Germantown Academy 2-8, 6-8
Baldwin School 0-10, 3-12-1
William Penn Charter has a talented team that has shown the ability to compete with anybody on its difficult schedule. Besides the Inter-Ac schedule, which is difficult enough, the Quakers have played a challenging non-league schedule.
Two recent games are an example.
Penn Charter lost to two quality teams by a goal each, 10-9 to Archbishop Carroll and 9-8 in triple overtime to Sacred Heart.
For instance, Carroll is the leader in the highly competitive Philadelphia Catholic League.
"We had a great game against Carroll,” said Penn Charter coach Colleen Magarity Kelly, whose team was tied 5-5 with Carroll at the half. “We went down two times in the game by 3/4 goals and we were able to fight back and showed a lot of great things both on defense and offense. We had our opportunity to tie up the game in the last two minutes and just were not able to seal the deal.”
Darcy Felter, the North Carolina commit, led the way against Carroll with four goals, two assists, seven draw controls and two ground balls for Penn Charter. Charlotte Hodgson added three goals and two assists. Maddie Shoup had one goal, one assist and two draw controls. The other goal scorer was Bea Buckley, who also had two ground balls. Kayla Joyce made eight saves.
Against Sacred Heart, Felter led the way with three goals, one assist and three draw controls. Maddie Shoup had three goals, two assists and two caused turnovers.
“The Sacred Heart game was an exciting triple overtime game and we technically should have ended in a tie after two, but because they traveled very far we played the extra overtime,” Magarity Kelly said. “That game was a defensive battle in tough weather conditions.”
Also, against Sacred Heart, Hodgson had one goal and four draw controls. Gracie Shoup had one goal, two assists, two draw controls and one caused turnover. Grace Walter contributed one assist and Alex Glomb had one caused turnover, while Joyce made seven saves.
“We are trying to learn from these games and help us grow and become strong and more prepared for the state playoffs next week,” Magarity Kelly said. “I was very proud of the team and the way they played against a very strong Carroll team and Sacred Heart team."
Penn Charter also scored a 16-4 win over Notre Dame. Hodgson led the way with five goals, two assists, three draw controls and one ground ball. Walter had three goals, one assist, one ground ball and one caused turnovers. Felter and Maddie Shoup each had two goals and three assists, while Buckley added two goals and two assists.
On Friday, the Quakers defeated Baldwin, 23-6. Felter had four goals and five draw controls while Maddie Shoup had four goals and five draw controls. Hodgson had three goals, three assists, while Gracie Shoup had two goals and six assists. Walter contributed three goals and two assists and Buckley had two goals and two assists.
Earlier this season Springside Chestnut Hill Academy goalie Lucy Pearson recorded her 200th career save. Now late in the season Pearson approached another milestone when she earned career save No. 300 in a 19-7 loss to Episcopal Academy. SCHA trailed 8-6 at the half.
Pearson, who is headed to Stanford, made the 300th save on her third stop of the game. She would finish with eight saves.
Emma Bradbury had three goals, three draw controls one caused turnover and two ground balls for SCH. Madison Freeman had two goals and one assist and the other goal scorers were Alex Reilly and Cece Reilly.
In a 12-6 win over Academy of Notre Dame, Pearson made seven saves. Bradbury had three goals, two assists and seven draw controls. Madison Freeman had two goals, one assist and five ground balls. Sarah Scolin, Cece Reilly, Alex Reilly each had two goals.
In a 23-6 loss to Penn Charter, two Baldwin players had hat tricks. Clara Page, the senior Cal-Berkeley commit, made the most of her shooting, with three goals on three shots. Junior Katie Reed had three goals on six shots. Page was 3 for 7 on draws and Reed was 4 for 11. Page also led Baldwin with five ground balls, while Reed had four.
During Notre Dame’s 12-9 win over Germantown Academy, junior Katie Onderdonk was at her best. She had four goals and eight draw controls, continuing an outstanding junior season.
“Katie is a true workhorse, she never gives up,” Notre Dame coach Austin Martin said. “She sees the field extremely well and is able to communicate with her teammates on how to best execute on the offensive side of the ball.”
Onderdonk is a true two-way player.
“Defensively she is strong and has a quick step to be able to stay with attackers as they drive to cage,” Martin said. “Katie is able to communicate with her teammates between goals to be able to make adjustments to better the team on the next set, both offensively and defensively.
Also, against GA, Kylee O’Donnell had four goals, two assists and three draw controls. Aly Maguire
scored twice and Cate Fox and MK Dwyer added single goals. Erin Sweeney made nine save.
During a 16-4 loss to Penn Charter, Onderdonk had three goals and five draw controls while Anya Dunn added the other goal.
In Friday’s 12-6 loss to Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, Dunn, Onderdonk and O’Donnell each had two goals, while Maggie Sullivan made five saves.
Thirteen different players scored in Agnes Irwin’s 20-5 win over Baldwin. Elle Brady had four goals and two assists. Marissa White totaled three goals while Mairyn Dwyer and Quinn Woolard each had two. Maggie Mullen made nine saves and had two caused turnovers.
Germantown Academy had a competitive game before falling 12-9 to Notre Dame. The score was tied 5-5 at halftime.
Emma Goodwin led the Patriots with three goals. Mia Raven had two goals and one assist while Maggie Borek scored twice. Heidi Cross and Lucia Smigiel each had a goal and Sydney Wanner added one assist.
Sadie Hess made nine save.