Lions Come Up Short In Bayside Fi­nal

Sea­hawks de­fend con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship; Folker paces Queen Anne’s at­tack with four goals

Record Observer - - Sports - By CHRIS KNAUSS ck­nauss@star­dem.com

De­catur 9 — Queen Anne’s 7

CENTREVILLE — Lexie VanKirk scored on a free pos­ses­sion at­tack with 35 sec­onds re­main­ing as Stephen De­catur High’s girls’ lacrosse team earned its sec­ond straight vic­tory over Queen Anne’s County in the Bayside Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship game, Tues­day at Lions Sta­dium.

VanKirk at­tacked from the top of the scor­ing area and sent a left-handed shot into the left side of the net, past Lions goalie Emily Kar­baum, to break a 7-7 tie.

VanKirk had been fouled while at­tack­ing from the left side of the field to earn the free pos­ses­sion. Her team­mate Claire Porter added a goal with 12 sec­onds re­main­ing as the Sea­hawks de­fended their con­fer­ence ti­tle with a 9-7 vic­tory.

“Hon­estly, the plan was kind of to be smart,” Sea­hawks head coach Sara Braniecki said about the fi­nal minute’s ac­tion. “They’re go­ing to read the sit­u­a­tion. They’re go­ing to do what they need to do.”

Queen Anne’s, which never led, trailed 4-1 with 10 min­utes left in the first half be­fore bat­tling back, and tied the game three times in the sec­ond half at 4-4, 6-6, and 7-7.

The Lions dom­i­nated the sec­ond half. The dif­fer­ence was Sea­hawks ju­nior goalie Rachel Flovek, who has al­ready made a ver­bal com­mit­ment to play for Di­vi­sion I Tow­son Univer­sity. She fin­ished the game with 17 saves.

“Huge saves. Com­posed. It’s her pas­sion, show­ing out on the field,” Braniecki said of her goalie. “She was smart. She held the ball when we needed to hold the ball. She made the saves when we needed her to make big saves.”

“A cou­ple of their crease rolls, they tried to go high and dump it over me,” said Flovek, “but I feel like my height gives me an ad­van­tage with them try­ing to dump it over be­cause I can just go straight up.”

While Flovek shined at goalie, VanKirk led the Sea­hawks at the other end. She scored a game-high five goals. Porter fin­ished with three goals and Vic­to­ria Kerkovich net­ted one.

With the win, De­catur im­proved to 12-1 over­all. Abby Folker led the North Bayside cham­pion Lions (8-5) with four goals. Mckenna Blick, Emma Feaga and Madi­son As­cione each scored once.

Kar­baum was cred­ited with two saves for the Lions.

Porter scored on an at­tack started from be­hind the crease for a 1-0 Sea­hawks lead 1 minute, 40 sec­onds into the game. Two min­utes later, Folker coun­tered on a rush from 20 yards out with a right-han­der, low to the left side of the net, to tie the game at 1-1.

With 19:25 left in the first half, VanKirk pumped in a left-han­der on a free-pos­ses­sion at­tack, low to the left, for a 2-1 De­catur lead.

Kerkovich scored her goal on a fast break off an as­sist from Lo­gan Townsend with 14:42 left in the first half be­fore VanKirk crossed in front of the crease and slung in a left-han­der with 10:04 left to make it 4-1.

The Lions re­grouped af­ter a time­out and dom­i­nated the rest of the game, but strug­gled get­ting the ball past Flovek. Feaga scored off an as­sist from Tay­lor Shep­pard and Folker tal­lied on a free-pos­ses­sion play off a pass from Blick to cut the Sea­hawks’ lead to 4-3. Folker spun in­side the goal area and fired in a shot just be­fore hit­ting the ground to tie the game at 4-4 with 57 sec­onds left in the half.

But VanKirk re­gained mo­men­tum for De­catur 28 sec­onds later with a right-handed sidearm shot for a 5-4 lead at the half.

Af­ter an­other VanKirk goal with 15:26 left in the sec­ond half, Folker and As­cione scored in a span of 19 sec­onds to tie the game at 6-6.

Porter put the Sea­hawks back up 7-6 off a feed from VanKirk with 8:49 to play. Blick tied it for the fi­nal time, 7-7, with 5:05 left, scor­ing off a re­bound af­ter a save by Flovek.

“Great goalie play from De­catur,” Queen Anne’s head coach Pene­lope San­tos Bates said. “I counted 26 shots. That’s the name of the game right there.”

Queen Anne’s next will face North Caro­line on Thurs­day in the 2A/1A East Sec­tion II semi­fi­nals. Fol­low me on Twit­ter @csknauss Email me at ck­nauss@star­dem.com

PHOTO BY CHRIS KNAUSS

Queen Anne’s County High’s Madi­son As­cione (15) takes a shot in the first half de­fended by Stephen De­catur’s Christina Ro­mano in the Bayside Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship game Tues­day evening at Lions Sta­dium.

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