Springside Chestnut Hill’s Kitty Morrissey (left) and Germantown Academy’s Caroline Haynie battle for control of a center draw in last Tuesday’s Inter-Ac League contest. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

In last Tuesday’s Girls Inter-Ac League lacrosse duel at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, the host Blue Devils were up 9-8 at halftime, and again led the Patriots of Germantown Academy early in the second half, 10-9. After that the score was tied three times before the Pats put together a pivotal three-goal run and ultimately prevailed, 17-14.

Junior Hanna Bogorowski, who switched over to GA after spending her freshman year at Mount St. Joseph Academy, pumped in a game-high six goals for the visitors, who improved to 6-1 overall and 4-1 in league matches. Another member of the Patriots’ powerful junior class, Emilie van Blarcom, fired in five goals, and SCH freshman Mikaela Watson also finished with five, accounting for all but one of the Blue Devils’ five points in the second half.

Senior Kitty Morrissey led the hosts in the first half, when she scored all of her four goals. Each squad had five players find the net; GA got three from sophomore Allie Cannon, two from junior Cooper Hall, and one from junior Jennifer Stack, while SCH received two each from senior Taylor Wrubel and sophomore Francesca Fabiani, and one from sophomore Sinéad Brierley. In goal, freshman Elsa Rall made 15 stops for the Devils, and at the other end Germantown sophomore Allie Carrigan had 11 saves.

Asked about her team’s primary assets this season, longtime GA coach Ginny Hofmann quickly responded, “The speed and the even scoring. We’ve had up to nine people score in a given game. There’s not just one or two players for the other team to stop; anybody can pick it up for us. Also, our defense has been pretty good at stepping up and keeping people out of the eight-meter arc. Our goalie, Allie, can make tough saves, and she’s quick enough to run the ball out if we need her to.”

Although Springside Chestnut Hill saw its overall record slip to 3-5 last Tuesday, among the five setbacks were two losses in overtime and another by a single point in regulation. In the league, the close games for the Blue Devils (1-3) have included the GA bout, a 12-10 victory over Agnes Irwin, and an OT defeat at Penn Charter.

Inter-Ac powers Episcopal Academy and Notre Dame are not as dominant this spring as they have been in recent years. GA started its season with a one-goal win over Notre Dame (12-11), and the Patriots’ lone loss, against Episcopal, also was a single-goal affair (9-10).

“There’s a lot more parity this year, which makes it very exciting,” Hofmann said. “You have to be ready for every game.”

GA’s Hall, one of the many talented 11th graders for the Patriots, is a Wyndmoor native whose mother, the former Christine Fleming, was a highly accomplished player at the old Springside School.

“I think we’re all really pumped up this season,” the junior midfielder said. “We’re just excited to go out and play every game, no matter who the opponent is.”

A strike by Hall and two goals by van Blarcom pushed GA ahead 3-0 in the first five minutes of Tuesday’s tilt, then Morrissey helped get the home team on the board on a strange play where the ball was shot and deflected and then rolled across the line. Wrubel rushed the Patriots’ cage to bring SCH within a point at 3-2, but Bogorowski’s first bulls-eye touched off a three-goal spurt that spread the score to 6-2 with just under 13 minutes to go in the first half.

After that, Morrissey drove to the cage and converted to spark a resurgence for SCH, which out-pointed the Patriots, 7-2, in the remainder of the first half. Morrissey found the net two more times during this spree, and there were single markers by Watson, Fabiani, and Brierley to give the Blue Devils their first lead, 8-7 with two-and-a-half minutes to go before halftime.

From a free position, Bogorowski evened it up for Germantown, but with just over a minute remaining, Wrubel scooped up the rebound of a shot by Fabiani and stuffed the ball in to give the hosts a 9-8 edge at the break. On the goals by Watson and Fabiani, assists were earned by freshmen Megan McCool and Natalie Schwartz, but for the most part, the Blue Devils scored on solo efforts, mainly in transition.

Watson fired three of her four second-half goals right after winning a center draw, including one that gave SCH its final lead, 10-9, after GA’s Stack shot the icebreaker for the second period. GA tied it up and the score seesawed to 12-12 with only a little over five minutes elapsed.

From just off the crease on the left, Bogorowski (assisted by Stack) nudged the Patriots in front, 13-12, with 16:48 left to play. A little over three minutes later GA fired wide of an open net, and then van Blarcom had a shot saved by SCH’s Rall. On her next attempt, van Blarcom cashed in off an assist from Bogorowski, who then drove the middle to ring up her fifth goal of the day. The visitors now led 15-12 with under 11 minutes left.

Rall made some more difficult stops after that to help keep the Devils from truly falling out of contention.

Her classmate, Watson, went down off the draw to recoup a point for the Devils, then with an SCH player in the penalty box, Bogorowski nailed the top right corner to complete her double hat trick. The numbers on the field evened up with a yellow card on Germantown, and Watson scored the Devils’ last goal of the day with 4:41 on the clock, making it 16-14.

With under two-and-a-half minutes left, another penalty on SCH left the home team short for most of the remainder of the game. A deflected ball shot by Cannon bounced into the Devils’ den with one second on the clock for the 17-14 final.

One of the Patriots’ two seniors, Catherine Perlmutter, had left the field with an injury during the first half. She is headed to Dickinson College to play field hockey, while the other senior co-captain, Caroline Haynie, will pursue lacrosse at Lehigh University. Haynie, the daughter of former GA boys’ coach Ted Haynie, was in the center circle for GA on a number of draws, having to battle significantly taller SCH rivals.

So far, the Patriots’ success has left Hall excited not only about the rest of this season, but about 2014, as well.

“We have so many good juniors that I think we’re just going to keep getting better,” she said. “A lot of the girls play club lacrosse and improved a lot over the summer.”

Despite the setback, SCH could be encouraged by the way that Watson stepped up in the second half. Naturally blessed with size, strength, and speed, this ninth grader has worked hard to develop her skills, and when she fully realizes how dominant a player she can be, it will present a frightening prospect to all of the Devils’ opponents.