By Derek Toney
There’s something about inclement weather that brings out the best in the Mercy lacrosse team.
The top-seeded Magic won a second straight B Conference championship with a 15-9 victory over second-seeded Park at U.S. Lacrosse’s Tierney Field in Sparks on Saturday evening behind sophomore attacker Bailey Krahl, who totaled five goals and and four assists for Mercy (12-3 overall).
Last year, in a steady rain at Spalding’s Whittles Field, Mercy defeated Friends for its first title since 2011.
Saturday, the Magic and Park (12-4) had to wait two hours because of lightning and rain in the northern Baltimore County area.
“We got to sit in the locker room, going back and forth, ‘are we going to play tomorrow, are we going to play Monday,?’ “said Mercy coach Brian Casserly. “The kids were getting antsy and frustrated. We did everything we could to keep them loose. They’re in the locker room listening to music, watching Netflix, trying to stay engaged.”
“Going inside was a real setback, but we really made the best of it,” said Krahl. “We had a 10-minute warmup and just (kept) using our opportunities on the field. We worked as a team, not one-v-one show.”
The Magic should’ve left Sparks late Saturday evening singing Queen’s classic “We Are The Champions,” after an efficient offensive effort, all starting with senior Kaitlyn Kozlowski’s nine draw controls. Kozlowski also tallied.
Senior Katie Yeagle added a hat trick for the Magic (12-3).
Mercy ran off six unanswered goals between late in the first half and early second half to repeat as league champions.
Senior midfielder Riley Rumbly pitched in with three goals and junior Ada Clare Tempert scored twice. The 15 goals Saturday matched Magic’s second-highest output of the spring.
“We did a really good job of moving the ball and making sure we found the open person,” said Yeagle.
The Magic captured the lead for good after back-to-back goals from Krahl broke a 5-5 deadlock. Following a nice stop-and-clear by sophomore goalie Mckenna Shay, Mercy converted in transition as Yeagle finished a pass from Krahl.
Leading 9-5, the Magic opened the second 25-minute session with an unassisted tally from Tempert off a fake ball flip, and Rumbly completed her hat trick off a helper from freshman Michaela Burnett. Yeagle made it 15-6 with an unassisted goal, her 100th career tally.
“We have a lot of weapons on offense, a bunch of kids who can score,” said Casserly. “We wanted to take the best opportunities that we can and get good shots on goal.”
Freshman midfielder Becca Frank had three goals for Park, and Sydney Lowe added two goals and an assist.
Tied at 1 before the delay, the Bruins led 2-1 and 3-2 before Mercy methodically pulled away.
“We had a seven-minute stretch where we unraveled a little bit, part of that is on me, I was trying to find the right defense to protect a little bit more. Kids weren’t quite sure where to be,” said Park coach Robin Lowe. “I thought we settled back in. It was a really physical game and that played to their advantage.
“Getting here [championship] was unbelievable with the group of kids we had from the start of the season,” the coach added. “I’m really proud of what they accomplished.”
With nearly its entire roster back, Mercy had to confront the burden of championship expectations.
The Magic also had a host of injuries, and didn’t return to full strength until last week.
“Dealing with a little bit of adversity then we got clicking and rolling. Our kids do all the heavy lifting. We (just) point them in the right direction,” said Casserly. “They overcame all that stuff and just played hard all season and didn’t complain. They really wanted this.”
And not even the weather could stop Magic.
“It’s a great way to end my senior year,” said Yeagle, one of five seniors. “I’m sure my senior teammates feel the same way.”