RIDLEY >> First their star was hurt. Then a yellow card forced them to play the last 9:18 of regulation down one player. In overtime they played 9-on-11 because another player got another yellow.
All of that was before rain turned the field into a Slip ’N’ Slide.
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Ridley experienced a season’s worth of troubles and anxiety in its lacrosse season opener Saturday, as it let a five-goal lead get away in a 15-14 overtime loss to West Chester Henderson.
The way the Green Raiders dominated a chunk of the game you wouldn’t have believed they trailed, 3-0. Coach Jill Davis was still trying to sort out what actually happened, including the injury to senior Emily Johnston, who was helped off the field with a bruised knee after scoring eight goals to spark the Green Raiders to a 13-8 lead.
“I think we’re looking at hopefully just a really bad bruise right now,” Davis said. “I don’t think it’s going to be season-ending, but we’ll keep evaluating how she is. But yeah, that was a big loss for us. And obviously having to play man-down the last nine minutes and then two men down in overtime was not easy.”
With just four seniors in the lineup, the Green Raiders were learning how to get out of each other’s way in the first half. But Johnston got them on the scoreboard and soon after, she and Hanna Crowley went on a tear. The duo scored two goals each in a four-goal flurry to turn a 4-1 deficit into a lead for the next 29 minutes, 48 seconds.
When Johnston was sandwiched in a crowd of Warriors with 14:12 left in regulation, Davis sprinting out on the field and signaling for the trainer, you figured the Ridley star was done for the day.
When Davis and the trainer carried Johnston off, you wondered about the worst-case scenario.
“I feel very bad for her,” said Haley Adam, who scored two goals for Ridley. “I hope she gets better because we do need her. She is one of our key players in the midfield. She is a senior and we’d like to have her this year.”
All of that said, the Green Raiders still had a 13-8 lead when she exited and were ahead by four goals when they collected their fourth yellow card, mandating playing 10-on-11 the rest of the game.
It didn’t take the Warriors long to recognize their advantage as they got the ball to Lilly Siskind, who scored three of her seven goals in a feeding frenzy that brought the visitors the victory.
Adam got the only Ridley goal after Johnston left. Adam nearly won the game in regulation but her late 8-meter shot was turned aside by Ann Lalicker.
The flip side was that Mary Kate Cowan, who took over in goal at the half, weathered a barrage of point-blank shots to give the Green Raiders a chance to win. In the overtime Ridley lost another player to a yellow card. Siskind eventually converted in the sudden-win overtime.
“There’s a lot of unfortunate circumstances that were out of our control to an extent,” Davis said. “I just keep telling our girls we have to control what we can and just play our hearts out to the very last whistle. The one thing I can say is our girls kept fighting. To have to lose this game in overtime, playing man-down for the last nine minutes of the game, I mean they showed a lot of heart.
“Does this hurt? Yeah. This hurts like crazy but we’ve just got to learn from it and move forward. We have a big game Tuesday night opening up in the Central League against Strath Haven so we’re just going to learn from this and move forward.”
Moving forward without your star isn’t something the Green Raiders would wish on anyone. Davis, however, thinks the young roster took some big steps together despite the loss. So do some of the players.
“We’re an aggressive team,” Adam, a sophomore said. “We have a lot of heart. So once we go man-down, we never give up. Ridley is known for never giving up. When we were man-down we got together as a group and we were like, ‘Guys, we are not giving up on this. This is our game.’ But some things didn’t go our way and sometimes things happen. Sometimes you don’t want it badly enough. We did want it bad. It just didn’t go our way.”
Said Davis, “Two men down in overtime, that’s tough.”
In other nonleague girls lacrosse action Saturday:
Springfield 15, Parkland 6 >> Olivia Little scored four goals, Kristen Methlie, Bailey O’Brien and Bridget Whitaker three each to lead Springfield to victory. Whitaker won seven draw controls in support of goalie Julianne Clemens, who stopped seven shots.
Agnes Irwin 22, Hill School 2 >> The Owls got off to a solid start and never looked back, Em Wills leading the attack with five goals. Teammates Lila Barker and Sydney Wolfington registered five points each.
Notre Dame 10, Holton Arms 9 >> Makenzie Irvine scored four times, and Claire Gola paired three goals with two assists for the Irish. Kelly Coyle handed out four assists to go with a goal for Notre Dame.