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GIRLS LAX: Agnes Irwin Fights Back for Co-Championship; SCH’s Reilly a True Leader; GA’s Smigiel hits the Century Mark in Final Notebook

By Marc Narducci Photos: Lennie Malmgren, 05/17/24, 5:00PM EDT


Final Inter-Ac Notebook (5/17)

Photos/Videos: Lennie Malmgren, Marc Narducci & Jack Verdeur

By: Marc Narducci

Agnes Irwin Crowned Co-Champs with Episcopal Academy

Agnes Irwin’s lacrosse team entered this Inter-Ac season with high expectations and rightly so, but the Owls sure didn’t look like contenders after their first two league games.

First there was a 10-6 loss to Penn Charter and then the Inter-Ac record fell to 0-2 with a 12-9 loss to Notre Dame Academy.

At that point, Agnes Irwin had two ways to go. The Owls chose to move upward.

“We were 0-2 in the Inter-Ac and I don’t think we played to our full potential and I am just really proud of this team that they were able to kind of weather that storm and they had the grit and resilience and the belief in each other to battle back,” Agnes Irwin coach Lauren Wray said.

Battle back is an understatement.

With no margin for error, the Owls won their final eight Inter-Ac games, including two pulsating victories over Episcopal Academy. That made Agnes Irwin and Episcopal Academy co-champions, with 8-2 Inter-Ac records.

The fortunes for Agnes Irwin truly changed with an 11-10 triple overtime win at Episcopal Academy on April 18.

“Especially for our seniors, that was one of our favorite memories that we have all ever had as a team and I think the one thing from that game, we all believed in each other…,” said junior midfielder Blair Fox, a Virginia commit.

The rematch came with Tuesday’s 9-8 home win over Episcopal Academy before a large crowd.

Again, Agnes Irwin had to show some resiliency after being down 5-3 at halftime.
The key was a 4-0 third quarter on two goals by senior Ella Springer (Johns Hopkins) and single scores by junior Caroline Chisholm (Boston College) and Fox that gave the Owls a 7-5 lead entering the fourth quarter.

“It is such a game of runs so we knew we could make some adjustments at halftime, and I think each time we played them, we did a good job of controlling the draws,” Wray said.

Leading the way the draw department was Fox, who had seven draw controls, in addition to scoring a goal.

“I think we were really confident on the draw,” Fox said. “And I think we came in today knowing what we were going to do.”

It wasn’t just Fox. Junior Mairyn Dwyer (North Carolina) had four draw controls and Chisholm added three.

Leading 8-7, the Owls extended the lead to 9-7 on a goal by Springer with 4:27 left.

Springer was a force all game with three goals and one assist.

“We knew we had so much potential and so much talent and we just weren’t meshing as a team,” Springer said about the early-season struggles. “So, we put it together, we started playing as a team, we talked about getting that extra oner pent, putting more effort forward and turning it around.”

Agnes Irwin vs. Episcopal Academy - PSD Highlights by Marc Narducci

Chisholm, who might have as hard of a shot as anybody in the Inter-Ac, also scored a hat trick. In addition to Fox’s one goal, Dwyer added two goals and one assist.

Senior Maggie Mullen (Richmond) made six saves, Classmate Elle Brady (Villanova) and junior Rowan Lawrence (Denver) each had an assist. Junior Naomi Kim had two caused turnovers and junior Emma Tayloe (Navy) had one caused turnover and two ground balls.

“It’s an awesome feeling,” Springer said. “We’ve been looking forward to this game forever.”

As for Episcopal Academy, the only consolation is that the Churchwomen earned a share of the Inter-Ac title with Agnes Irwin.

“It feels good that the hard work over the course of the season this year has led to being a banner in our gym,” said EA coach Josie Tomaino. “Obviously we wanted to win it outright and not share and having this been our only loss earlier in the season, we wanted to upend that, and not being able to do that today was tough.”

Junior Kate Dente (Princeton) led the EA offense with three goals and one assist. Junior Maura Irish (Notre Dame) had two goals and one assist. Senior Sydney Richter (Georgetown) added one goal, two assists and two draw controls.

There could be a third meeting between these powerhouses.

Both teams are entered in the Pennsylvania State Independent Athletic Association (PAISAA) state tournament.

Episcopal Academy is the top seed and Agnes Irwin is seeded second. The championship is 4 p.m. Thursday, May 23 at Villanova.

AIS Junior Blair Fox talks about Agnes Irwin's turning point in the season - PSD Video by Marc Narducci

AIS senior Ella Springer talks about two epic showdowns against Episcopal Academy - PSD Video by Marc Narducci

The big winner in this second classic this year between the co-champions, was again Inter-Ac lacrosse. It’s difficult to imagine too many leagues around the country that could produce this type of high-caliber play in a conference game.

This is nothing new as the Inter-Ac has set such a high standard and it was reached again during both games between two of its titans.

A clinching win for Agnes Irwin

Two days after the second win over Episcopal Academy, Agnes Irwin clinched a share of the Inter-Ac title with an 11-9 win over Springside Chestnut Hill Academy.

Senior Molly Chorin (Harvard) led the way with four goals and three assists. Fox had 11 draw controls in addition to one goal. Senior Elle Brady (Villanova) and junior Catie Holmes (Maryland) each scored twice. Springer and Chisholm each had a goal and an assist. Mullen made six saves, while Dwyer had an assist and three draw controls.

"The Inter-Ac title this season speaks to the incredible hard work and resilience this team has shown all year," Wray said. "Each student-athlete has demonstrated determination and selflessness - always putting the team’s success first. It has paid off and I’m just very proud of each of them."

In the previous week, Agnes Irwin defeated Notre Dame, 12-6 as Dwyer had four goals and Brady added a hat trick. Fox had a goal and four draw controls and Chorin added one goal and three assists.

Agnes Irwin vs. Springside Chestnut Hill - PSD Highlights by Lennie Malmgren

Brady and Springer each had a hat trick in a 16-5 win over Germantown Academy. Fox had a goal and nine draw controls, including the 200th of her career.

Fox didn’t know she earned the draw control milestone until immediately being congratulated by her teammates.

“I had no idea, and my teammates are literally the best people in the world, they just started screaming,” Fox said. “It was awesome.”

SCH’s Reilly plays until the final whistle

It was an early season game against Penn Charter and Springside Chestnut Hill Academy was struggling.

The combination of youth, plus some early season injuries had made it difficult in the early going for SCH.

Yet even though the Blue Devils would lose by 12 goals, senior midfielder Alex Reilly kept applying the pressure.

“She just doesn’t stop,” SCH coach Noelle Powell said. If it’s not on the field, it’s watching film, it’s encouraging her teammates.”

This season Reilly has been among the top players in the highly competitive Inter-Ac and beyond.

Besides the hustle she displays, Reilly, is a skilled midfielder, able to score, dish and defend. Most of all, she plays until the last whistle is blown, regardless of the score.

Springside Chestnut Hill senior midfielder Alex Reilly #23 - PSD Photo by Jack Verdeur

“We have had our ups and downs and I have been focusing on continuing to grow every single game,” Reilly said. “We play in such a tough conference that it helps build the younger girls and show what it is like to compete against really good competition.”

Earlier this year, Reilly hit a personal milestone, scoring her 200th career goal. It’s even more impressive since she draws so much defensive attention.

“She is just primed for the next level, she’s just incredible,” Powell said. “She is one of the best athletes, one of the best kids I’ve ever coached in my career and it’s a pretty extensive career.”

In addition to lacrosse, Reilly has been a standout in soccer, a four-year starter who helped lead the Blue Devils to PAISAA state titles in her sophomore and junior seasons.  

In both sports she plays with dogged determination.

Reilly is headed to the University of Virginia. She committed to the Atlantic Coast Conference school early in her junior year.

“I knew the minute I stepped on campus that I wanted to go there,” she said. “The academics, athletics, coaching staff, and everything about it I loved.”

In college, she will compete against her sister Cece, who was also a standout at SCH and is currently a sophomore at Atlantic Coast Conference foe Louisville.

Springside Chestnut Hill senior Alex Reilly #23, who is headed to play at the University of Virginia, scored her 200th goal this season - PSD Photo by Jack Verdeur

“We grew up always playing together with our dad and she is a lefty, and I am a righty and the three us always practiced together and it was so much fun playing with my sister,” Reilly said.

Their father, Tom Reilly, was a soccer player at Wake Forest, but he played lacrosse growing up and shared his passion for the sport with his daughters.

This year especially, Reilly has had little free room on the field, the subject of so much defensive attention.

“Getting all the attention has made me work harder to get the ball,” she said. “I think next year I won’t be getting face-guarded and all that attention will allow me to move more freely.”

Still, it has made her a better player.

“I have been able to adjust and my teammates around me have done a great job when I am face-guarded,” she said.

One of the highlights this season was a 15-14 OT win over Notre Dame Academy in the game Reilly scored career goal No. 200.

“I was excited after the fact and to be able to win and get 200 goals was very cool,” she said. “I wasn’t able to do it without all my teammates.”

And throughout her career, she has helped make her teammates better, and provided a great example of how to compete, regardless of the score.

Hard-fought battle for SCH

In the above-mentioned 11-9 loss to Agnes Irwin that clinched a share of the Inter-Ac title, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy made the Owls work hard for the win.

SCH trailed 10-8 entering the fourth quarter.

Senior Sarah Scollin (Gettysburg) and classmate Madison Freeman (Villanova) each scored a hat trick for the Blue Devils. The other goals were scored by eighth grader Devon Donato, sophomore Kass Magarity and Reilly, who also had two assists, two draw controls, four caused turnovers and two ground balls. Senior Elizabeth Pearcy (Coast Guard Academy) had four ground balls, while freshman goalie Molly McCann made four saves.

Penn Charter ends Inter-Ac schedule with a convincing win

Penn Charter, which finished third in the Inter-Ac, ended its league schedule with an 18-5 win over Germantown Academy. Senior Grace Walter (William & Mary) and sophomore Harbor Campbell, each scored five goals. Senior Aditi Foster (Northwestern) had a hat trick, while also contributing six assists, two ground balls and five draw controls. Eighth grader Makenna Myers had 10 draw controls.

Walter scored six goals and Foster added five goals, four assists and six draw controls in a 15-6 win over the Hill School.

Milestone goal for GA’s Smigiel

Senior Lucia Smigiel (UConn) achieved a major milestone in Germantown Academy’s 12-10 win over Springside Chestnut Hill Academy in an opening round PAISAA game

Smigiel scored five goals, including the 100th of her career. She also had one assist and one ground ball. Senior Cate Luviano (Brown) added four goals, one assist, eight draw controls and nine ground balls. Classmate Maggie Borek (Navy) had two goals and one assist, while Maggie Luviano had five draw controls and four ground balls. Junior Sadie Hess made eight saves.

In a 16-3 win over Cardinal O’Hara, Germantown Academy took early control by outscoring the Lions, 8-2 in the first quarter.

For the game, Smigiel had four goals and four draw controls. Borek added three goals and three assists. Three players had two goals – Cate Luviano, Siena Paone and senior Gigi Ippoldo (William & Mary). Hess made 13 saves.

In a 16-5 loss to Agnes Irwin, Ippoldo had three goals and one assist, while Maggie Luviano had six draw controls and Hess made 18 saves.

Smigiel and Borek each had two goals in GA’s final Inter-Ac game, an 18-5 loss to Penn Charter.

Germantown Academy senior Lucia Smigiel #21 scored her 100th career goal in win vs. SCH - Photo courtesy of GA Athletics

Germantown Academy junior Sadie Hess also made her 450th career save this season - Photo courtesy of GA Athletics

Notre Dame Academy update

Notre Dame Academy had 11 different players score in a 19-3 non-league win over Cardinal O’Hara.

Maeve Seeger led the way by scoring a hat trick. Scoring two goals each were Cate Fox, Eloise Murphy and Kendall Moore. Sophomore Keira McHugh had one goal, three assists, six draw controls and two caused turnovers.

In a 12-6 loss to Agnes Irwin, freshmen Riley Davis and Abby Sims each had two goals, while McHugh contributed a goal and three draw controls and Seeger added a goal.

During a 9-8 victory over Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, Davis had four goals and four draw controls. The other goals scores were Fox, McHugh, Sims, Anya Dunn and Reese Reilly. Morgan Kelly made six saves.

McHugh and Davis each exploded for six goals, while Seeger scored five in a 22-11win over Council Rock North.

Final 2024 Inter-Ac Standings:

Agnes Irwin 8-2

Episcopal Academy 8-2

Penn Charter 7-3

Springside Chestnut Hill Academy 3-7

Germantown Academy 2-8

Notre Dame Academy 2-8