By Nelson Coffin
Special kudos are in order for the defensive units of both Glenelg Country School and St. Paul’s School for Girls for their fine work during an A Conference lacrosse thriller Thursday afternoon in Brooklandville.
Credit seniors Addison Schmidt, Liv O’Leary and Shay Ahearn, juniors Madison Sesay and Kennedy Williamson, sophomores Celia Pell and Caroline Rehder and freshmen Neve O’Ferrall and Josie Pell for pacing the Dragons’ stingy backline in front of senior goalie Avery Dyer.
Senior Shelton Sawers, juniors Lizzy Pirisino, Alex Pirisino and Laney Cornelius, sophomores Paris Colgain, Esprit Cha and Josie Hahn and freshman Madison Beale were the Gators’ stalwarts in front of sophomore Leah Wareheim.
Unfortunately for the St. Paul’s contingent, its otherwise excellent effort went for naught when Glenelg Country senior attacker Allie Bateman alertly took advantage of a momentary lapse in the backline to convert a perfect feed from Ahearn with 2:38 remaining in the second overtime to claim an 8-7 victory.
Bateman’s goal was the first for the Dragons (4-0, 3-0 conference) since Celia Pell tied the score at 7-7 with nearly 18 minutes left in regulation — a span of more than 21 minutes.
St. Paul’s drought was even longer, considering that sophomore attacker Maddie Scheffs’ tally that gave the Gators a 7-5 advantage came with just over 21 minutes to go in the second half.
“Both teams are really good defensive teams,” said Brian Reese, who shares Glenelg Country coaching duties with Paige Walton. “We got a lot of good looks today, but didn’t finish them.”
That is, until Bateman closed out the Gators (4-3, 2-2).
“A lot of times lately, when I cut through I’ve been keeping my stick up,” the Oregon recruit said. “I caught (the pass) with my left hand and went to my right (hand). I faked once and then put it in.”
The contest started like it would be a high-scoring affair, especially when the Dragons rattled off three goals in less than six minutes to bolt to an early 3-0 lead.
Senior midfielder Kate Sites sandwiched two goals around one by fellow Maryland commit Ahearn to build the game’s widest margin before the Gators retaliated with a 6-1 run to close out the first half with a 6-4 cushion.
Senior attacker Annie Ponsi netted St. Paul’s first goal, opening the floodgates for senior attacker Caroline Pearce, Alex Pirisino and Sawers to follow suit while giving the Gators a 4-3 lead with 11:03 left in the opening period.
Ahearn tied it less than three minutes later until sophomore attacker Maddie Scheffs and Cha put St. Paul’s back on top, 6-4, at the intermission with back-to-back tallies.
Sites cut the lead to one early in the second half before Scheffs produced the Gators’ final goal to restore a two-goal gap.
Pell contributed her first goal less than two minutes later and then knotted the score as well for the final time.
Having already fallen to Roland Park Country School in overtime, misfortune struck St. Paul’s again while the opportunistic Dragons continued to be one of the five A Conference teams with perfect starts in league play this spring.
“I don’t feel like we’re snake-bitten,” St. Paul’s coach Mary Gagnon said. “We just have to learn to put teams away. Defense wasn’t the problem. We shot 7-for-22 today. We’re generating enough shots, but we’re not putting them away.”