Sabres fall to Mal­lards in ESIAC cham­pi­onship

Worces­ter jumps ahead by five goals, holds off SSPP’s surges to net fourth straight ti­tle

Record Observer - - Sports - By DAVID INSLEY dins­ley@stardem.com

Worces­ter 16 — SSPP 12

BER­LIN — In weather more suited for wa­ter­fowl than hu­man­ity on Tues­day af­ter­noon, the team called the Mal­lards pre­vailed.

Worces­ter Prepara­tory School’s girls’ lacrosse team scored the game’s first three goals, and built a five-goal cush­ion be­fore weath­er­ing a pair of surges en route to de­feat­ing Saints Peter and Paul 16-12 for its fourth straight East­ern Shore In­de­pen­dent Ath­letic Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship.

“Yeah, this has def­i­nitely been a rainy spring,” Worces­ter sec­ond-year head coach Leigh Floun­lacker. “So it’s some­thing we’ve not been un­used to. But the girls played through it, and did a great job.

“We’ve had a great group of girls this year, really ev­ery year I’ve been with the team,” Floun­lacker added. “They’ve put so much ef­fort into this, and kept it up all year . ... With the weather we’ve had, I’ve said a lot of times this year, ‘It’s a good day to be a Mal­lard.’ They han­dled it really well.”

De­spite los­ing two of the first three draw con­trols, Worces­ter (13-4) took ad­van­tage of a pair of turnovers to take pos­ses­sion. Within five min­utes of the open­ing whis­tle, the hosts had built a 3-0 lead.

Kate Sovero, who led the Sabres (12-6) with four goals, got her team on the board with her first score com­ing in the game’s sixth minute. Sarah Bradley pulled Sts. Peter & Paul within one goal at 3-2, with a score three min­utes later.

But the Mal­lards replied within 90 sec­onds, some­thing they did four times in the first half, and three more in the sec­ond.

Julie Tal­bert, whose seven goals and two as­sists were game-highs, took a feed from Grace Tu­nis (two goals) and slung one into the net to make it 4-2.

Me­gan Hickey, named ESIAC CoPlayer of the Year af­ter the game with Worces­ter’s Leigh Lingo, made it a one-goal game again mo­ments later, though, scor­ing off an as­sist by Tay­lor Quade to make it 4-3.

Tu­nis, as­sisted by Tal­bert, re­sponded with a goal to make it 5-3, and Tal­bert, with a hand from Lingo, pushed the Mal­lards’ lead to 6-3.

Kar­lie South­comb (four goals) scored at the 11:34 mark, mak­ing it 7-3, Mal­lards, and Tal­bert struck again just over a minute later to put the Sabres in a five-score hole.

Sovero cut the deficit to 8-4 with her sec­ond goal. But Lingo, run­ning around the cir­cle from the right side, made a high­light-reel play, as she lost her bal­ance on the wet ground, fired

and landed in the mud as the ball skipped into the net for a 9-4 lead. The Mal­lards led 10-5 at half­time.

Down five goals at in­ter­mis­sion, Sts. Peter & Paul head coach Mike Morse em­pha­sized draw con­trol and ball pos­ses­sion.

“That was the key to it,” Morse said. “I think we did a lit­tle bet­ter job in the sec­ond half, but it came down to not hav­ing enough of both. Worces­ter did.

“I think early on, we won a cou­ple of draws [but] had some turnovers, that led to a cou­ple of goals — but in the end of the day we had to have draw con­trols and ball pos­ses­sion,” Morse added. “Worces­ter doesn’t really turn the ball over, so we had to do a lot of work to gain pos­ses­sion, [and] make good shots.”

The half­time pep talk worked. Win­ning the draw again af­ter the break, the Sabres ral­lied.

Caro­line Mur­phy scored off a Sovero pass to make it 10-6 with just un­der a minute into the sec­ond half. By the 20:20 mark, Madi Marciniak (two goals), Sovero, and Quade had each notched scores, pulling the Sabres with 10-9.

Worces­ter’s ri­poste to the Sabres’ thrust, though, was of equal strength.

Tal­bert scored at the 14:58 mark. Lingo struck 19 sec­onds later. Tal­bert and South­comb added goals in suc­ces­sion to make it 14-9 with just un­der 12 min­utes left.

“We were really hyped com­ing out in the sec­ond half, and some­times you get a lit­tle too ex­cited,” Floun­lacker said. “And Saints Peter and Paul came out and played really well af­ter half­time.

“We just had to set­tle down and do what we’ve been do­ing,” Floun­lacker added. “And they did that. They’ve been do­ing it all sea­son.”

Though the Sabres outscored their hosts 3-2 down the stretch, Worces­ter kept the game out of reach there­after.

De­spite the loss, Morse was al­ready look­ing for­ward to next sea­son.

“We lose three se­niors,” Morse said. “We’re still pretty young over­all. I think we can come back next year and we can play pretty well then, too.”

Notes: Worces­ter out­shot the Sabres 24-15 . ... Also named to the ESIAC All-Con­fer­ence team were hon­or­able­men­tion re­cip­i­ents Suzi Ford, Joey Smith, and Alice Agee from The Gun­ston School and Sts. Peter and Paul’s Ju­lia D’Alb­ora and Kelly Herte­lendy; sec­ond-team play­ers Brennan Paddy and Heidi Bar­cus from Gun­ston and SSPP’s Sovero, Marciniak, and Brit­tany Ran­som; and first-team hon­orees Hickey, Quade, Mur­phy, and Jen­nifer Dou­glas, along with Gun­ston’s Abigail Bar­cus and Nelly Stup.

PHOTO BY DAVID INSLEY

The Saints Peter and Paul High girls’ lacrosse team shared the reg­u­lar-sea­son ESIAC ti­tle with Worces­ter Prep by go­ing 3-1 against con­fer­ence foes. The team fin­ished as run­ner-up in the con­fer­ence play­offs Tues­day, los­ing 16-12 to Worces­ter Prep.

PHOTO BY CHRIS KNAUSS

Queen Anne’s County’s Tay­lor Shep­pard drives to the goal de­fended by Kent County’s Katie Jones (12) and Kayla Luhn (8) at Washington Col­lege, Tues­day evening.

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