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Abington shakes off slow start, rallies past Souderton for 4th straight win

FRANCONIA >> Things felt off for the Abington girls lacrosse team even before the opening draw with Souderton on a cold and windy Friday afternoon.

“The vibe when we got here was really weird,” Galloping Ghosts coach Amanda Kammes said. “We got here at 3:00, the game started at 3:30, Souderton wasn’t even on the field yet, there was no warmup music, it’s freezing out and by no fault of our own, we came out in the that way.

“The mood really of the warmup, was how we came out of the gate there.”

Abington’s lack of energy had it trailing the host Indians by a goal at halftime of the Suburban One League American Conference contest. And less than five minutes after the break, the Ghost were down 6-3.

“I just think that we all thought we had it, like we had the win in the bag, because we watched their games and heard about their scores and we all came in here really cocky and just thinking, ‘Oh, it’s going to be given to us.’” Abington senior midfielder Cathy Staerk said. “And then it was a wakeup call at halftime when we were losing.”

The Ghosts finally found a spark down in that three-goal hole. Sam McGee tallied all or her four goals in the second half as Abington ended the contest on a 6-1 run to rally past the Indians and claim a 9-7 victory.

“Just a smidge of energy really helped us there. And that’s really what they needed, they needed just a little, one person to really spark our engine,” Kammes said. “And then usually they’re good about rallying around people, once some person, whoever it may be that day, gets us going, we usually start rolling a little bit. And you saw goal, goal, goal there.”

Lindsay Baer added three goals and an assist for Abington (4-1, 2-0 conference), which won its fourth straight. Staerk, who scored the go-ahead goal with 6:35 remaining, was satisfied with getting a win, but saw an effort that had plenty of room for improvement.

“Obviously, we want to win but our performance today was not good,” she said.  “And towards the second half it was a lot better than it has been but we’re not working together and we’re just starting to get the click in. We’re just starting to become a team, not work for our own selves.”

Riley McGowan had four goals to pace Souderton (3-2, 1-1), which had a two-game win streak snapped.

“I think there’s a little bit of panic and rushed play and it causes some turnovers sometimes. We’re really trying to work on them calming down and keeping their composure,” Souderton coach Nancy Offner said. “Overall, I think they played really a very good game. It’s worth keeping their heads high.”

The Indians scored third of the last four goals of the first half for a 4-3 lead at intermission. Strikes by Kaitlyn Mardi and McGowan made it 6-3 Big Red at 21:31 in the second half.

The Indians, however, could only find the back of the next just one more time — McGowan’s goal on a free position shot to make it 7-5 at 14:55 before Abington tallied the contest’ last four goals.

“I think we made a few mistakes. I think there were some unfortunate turnovers, things that happen in a lacrosse game,” Offner said.

Souderton is back in action Saturday as it visits Lansdale Catholic in a non-league game at 3:45 p.m. Abington hosts North Penn in an SOL non-conference matchup 7 p.m. Tuesday.

“We didn’t get a good warmup today and I think we just really started slow,” Abington junior defender Rebecca Morris said. “So I think next game we just need to come out with the mindset we’re going to start at our pace and finish the game at our pace.”

With Abington trailing 6-3, McGee scored back-to-back goals, the second coming in transition after Staerk’s strip and ground ball pickup.

McGowan put Souderton back up two but Baer collected her third goal of the game at 10:27, pulling the Galloping Ghosts back within one. McGee – a St. Joseph’s commit – evened the contest off a drive at 9:03.

Staerk provided the game-winner at 6:35 after coming from behind the net and bouncing a shot past Indians goalie Lauren Scott.

“Cannot say enough about Cathy, she has grown and matured as a young lady immensely in the last year and she’s probably playing some of her best lacrosse of her life right now,” said Kammes of Staerk. “Just very cool, calm, collected, she’s not doing anything flashy. She’s just doing all the little things that are honestly, like you said, helping us win down the stretch.”

McGee made it a two-goal lead 30 seconds later — taking a pass from Baer and ripping a shot into the net.

In the first half, Carly Doughty scored off a McGowan assist to make it 2-2 at 13:17 with a Sarah Goodwin free-position goal giving Souderton its first lead 3-2 at 12:24.

Kaley Ehnow had Abington back level 3-3 at 4:36 but McGowan’s goal off a Megan Walbrandt assist with 34.8 seconds left in the half made it 4-3 Big Red.

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