The seniors who are part of the Germantown Friends varsity lacrosse program line up with posters created as tributes by their teammates. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

The seniors who are part of the Germantown Friends varsity lacrosse program line up with posters created as tributes by their teammates. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

The departing seniors were officially recognized before last Friday’s lacrosse match at Germantown Friends, then the Tigers quickly refocused and got down to business, turning out an 18-8 victory over visiting Hill School.

Schuyler Nissen, a 12th-grader who has signed with the University of Cincinnati, scored five goals, and the winners got four apiece from juniors Greta Meyer and Ava Schwemler. Freshman Sophie Smith scored twice and single goals by senior Claire Schmidt, junior Annie Tyson, and sophomore Emily Fichandler rounded out the total for the Tigers.

In goal, senior Dana Schulman made four stops in the non-league victory, which raised the team’s overall record to 13-2. The Tigers had already finished their regular-season Friends Schools League schedule with a mark of 7-0, locking up the top seed for this week’s league tournament.

Before Friday’s match, the Senior Day ceremony began with head coach Katie Bergstrom Mark honoring the two team managers, Oliver Fox and Julia Shreiber.

“They really add a whole other layer to what we’re trying to accomplish with their detailed recordkeeping,” the Tigers’ mentor said later.

There is an interesting class dynamic within the GFS program this year. The junior class features a number of high-powered scorers who are avid participants in club lacrosse programs, while few of the seniors are involved in club ball, and as a group they are largely defense-oriented.

In addition to Nissen, Schmidt, and Schulman, the 12th grade contingent includes Katherine Cusick, Caroline Myran, and Sydney Weigert. While Nissen will wield her stick for the Bearcats next year, Myran will also be playing at the next level, at Smith College.

“I love the fact that all six of our senior players are multi-sport athletes,” stated Bergstrom Mark, who is the school’s director of athletics. “Caroline and Claire each play three sports, and the other four play two sports for us. They all excel in other extracurricular activities; music, drama, you name it.”

It was one of the upperclassmen, Nissen, who opened the scoring less than 90 seconds into Friday’s contest. The Tigers took the next center draw, and Tyson quickly gave the home team a second goal off of an assist from Meyer. Soon after that, Bree Gorman got Hill School on the board, and after the teams exchanged goals, the Lady Rams (3-10 overall) were still very much in contention, only trailing 3-2 seven minutes into the action.

After that, GFS finished out the half with a 9-1 explosion that began with three consecutive goals, one by Nissen and two by Meyer.

As the second half got underway with the Tigers leading 12-3, Hill School’s hopes for any kind of meaningful rally quickly faded. Germantown pumped in another two goals during the first two minutes, with Nissen firing the first and then assisting Meyer on the second. For most of the remainder of the game, the hosts maintained a double-digit lead and the clock kept running even as goals were added.

The Lady Rams registered five of the last nine points for the afternoon, but GFS could afford to operate in maintenance mode while utilizing its reserve players.

After Gorman deposited Hill’s first goal of the day, the GFS defense didn’t allow her to score again. The Lady Rams received a hat trick from Libby Sitko and two goals from Kathleen Carmichael, while Brielle Smith made seven saves in goal.

Both the pre-game festivities and the game itself had gone very well for the Tigers as a group, and for the seniors in particular on their special day.

“They’re gritty and hardworking, and I loved coaching them,” Bergstrom Mark said. “I believe that they’re all going to go off and do really amazing things, because they have so much drive and spirit and leadership ability.”