Archive for April 11, 2012
Today’s Game of the Day
Brighton (N.Y.) at Alexandria St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (Va.)
Brighton is one of a new crop of lacrosse teams that have begun sending incredibly skilled players to the next level such as Danielle Spencer and Hilary Bowen. The Barons, oddly enough, have not won a state championship since 2004, but it’s not for lack of trying. They always seem to run into teams like Garden City and Canandaigua Academy in the final. Brighton finishes up a two-game road swing with a visit to St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes, a team which is also not shy about playing the best opponents.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Kathy Jenkins could have been content with how her Alexandria St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (Va.) girls’ lacrosse team responded against a Brighton (N.Y.) team which finished in second place in the New York State Public High Schools’ Athletic Association Class “B” tournament a year ago, running up a 6-3 lead by the 22nd minute on the way to a 6-4 halftime lead.
Instead, she latched onto a mental error that the Saints committed in the final minute of play.
“They were really unsettled in the last 38 seconds, and they needed to go into something, move the ball quickly, and hit that person, being aware of the clock,” Jenkins said. “We needed them to step up offensively; we were forcing things. We needed them to call some plays, which gets them settled.”
The lesson being taught, the Saints poured in five goals the first nine minutes after the interval, running out 16-7 winners. Carly Reed was magnificent, scoring nine goals. Her teammate, neighbor, and best friend Besser Dyson added four.
“She had nine?” Jenkins asked about her junior attacker, who is headed to North Carolina. “The thing is, we don’t really look at the stats. And we’re fine with her scoring that many, but we’re trying to get Carly to be a little patient; if she’s a second cutter, then they can hit you. And it worked well.”
The Saints coaching staff also has been trying to get Dyson involved more in the passing game, which worked out as well.
“We knew that the draws were important, and not to force the ball on attack,” Jenkins said. “When we cut, we did great.”
That last sentence is an understatement. As good as Jenkins’ teams have been the last four decades, there probably has not been as sophisticated a passing exhibition as there was in this interstate contest.
Early in the game, Dyson (who has made a commitment to Virginia) made a backdoor cut onto the elbow of the fan, and an cool flip pass from Michele Phillips at the edge of the arc found her in space for the goal. On another occasion, Phillips found teammate Lizz Lavie in the center of the fan. Lavie, recognizing that she had a defender converging into space in front of her, shortened her follow-through as she met the pass, sending the rubber sphere into the goal cage. Later in the game, UNC recruit Paige Patterson (who had a strong overall contest) slipped a weighted pass from a 90-degree angle into the heart of the Baron defense where Dyson couldn’t help but to score with a right-hand finish.
“Being young, it was hard for us adjusting after halftime when they put (Reed) in the post, and that hurt us a little bit,” said Brighton head coach Rich Curtis. “These are growing pains we are going through right now, starting a seventh grader and six or seven sophomores. We normally don’t come together as a team until about the second week of May.”
The exhibition was a contretemps to the way Brighton came out on defense. For a good span of the first term, the visitors flummoxed the Saints attack, although they never did have an answer for Reed.
“We didn’t have a lot of information on them,” Jenkins said. “but they are a New York team, and play very tough defense; they double and slide well, so it’s what I expected to see.”
The Saints, having yielded a pair of quick goals in the first half to tie the game 3-3, used its defense to press out to create turnovers, running the break in the midfield.
FULL TIME At the horn, the final score is SSSA 16, Brighton 7
48:00 Two minutes left and the Saints are up nine goals, a bit unexpected
46:10 The teams are back at even strength as the Saints ran off most of the penalty in the attack end
44:10 SSSA YELLOW Wyatt Whitley is off the pitch for two minutes, it is her first card and the team’s second
43:23 SSSA GOAL Phillips finishes a break off the draw!
43:14 SSSA GOAL Katie Austin goes up and over the goalie’s shoulder
42:08 SSSA GOAL Dyson finishes a well-weighted pass from Patterson and the Saints lead 14-7
38:05 SSSA GOAL Not to be outdone, Dyson gets her third
37:33 SSSA GOAL Reed has nine goals for the hosts; what a performance in such a big interstate contest!
36:41 BRI GOAL Hannah Calvelli brings it back for the Barons
36:49 BRI GOAL Eichner squeezes one from the crease and the deficit is five
33:56 SSSA GOAL Phillips with an unbelievable quick stick of a Lavie pass to the center of the fan; what anticipation! Saints lead 11-5
32:21 BRI GOAL Bowen picks the top corner; looks eerily like her sister
31:18 SSSA GOAL Dyson finishes a Lizz Lavie pass and the Saints lead 10-4
29:50 SSSA GOAL Reed from the doorstep and the lead is five
29:06 Timeout, Brighton
29:06 SSSA GOAL Reed finishes and the Saints now have an 8-4 lead!
28:41 SSSA GOAL Dyson takes a backdoor pass from Phillips
25:58 Brighton works it around, but drops the ball; Saints need to be smart here
25:00 The second half is under way
HALFTIME Brighton has not figured out an answer for Carly Reed, but the Barons have another 1:43 of EMO time
HALFTIME Time runs out before the Saints can run a play, and at the horn, St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes are up 6-4
24:54 Saints get the draw and move it into the attack end, but they seem to have lost track of time; Brighton’s pressure is keeping the hosts away from the arc
24:19 BRI FP and GOAL Harris finishes from the right hash; remember, in National Federation play, these yellows are nonreleasable
24:17 SSSA YELLOW Sophie Davidson is off for two minutes
21:59 SSSA GOAL Reed, on fire, gets her fifth straight and the Saints lead 6-3
20:26 SSSA GOAL Reed finishes a break started when Katherine Cavallo steals a pass and spirits the ball away
19:00 Both teams poking and prodding, but the defenses are clamping down with smart doubling and pressure
13:33 SSSA FP and GOAL Reed from the left hash; moments earlier, Paige Patterson had dispossessed Brighton on the attack end. Both of these young women are going to North Carolina
9:50 BRI GOAL Eichner pings the mesh off a rhythm cut; that could be there all day
7:38 BRI GOAL Meaghan Bowen finishes a cut; nice hustle on the end line by Lauren Smolensky to rescue the possession
6:44 Timeout, Brighton
6:44 SSSA GOAL Reed finishes a break and the lead is two
4:19 SSSA GOAL Carly Reed gives the Saints the lead back again
2:38 BRI GOAL MacKenzie Harris cuts and finishes an Emily Eichner feed
0:41 SSSA GOAL Besser Dyson takes a Michele Philips pass and it is a dream start for the Saints!
0:00 The game is on
PREGAME Brighton is in the navy uniforms with white trim, the Saints are in the white with green trim
PREGAME It is sunny out right now, with the temperature around 50 degrees. There has been spotty cloud cover today because of a layer of very cold air that is coming in at a low atmosphere, with gray clouds scattered around. There has been rain and even some snow in the D.C. metropolitan area today, so this is very reminiscent of the changeable weather of the Division II-III quadrupleheader this site attended in 2010 at Gettysburg College.
PREGAME Brighton is 2-1, with the lone loss to Pittsford (N.Y.), while the Saints are 5-2 with losses to Baltimore Bryn Mawr (Md.) and Vero Beach (Fla.) The losses between these two teams are against very strong teams
PREGAME Live from Alexandria, Va., we’re at the interstate match between Brighton (N.Y.) and Alexandria St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (Va.)