TOWAMENCIN >> Boyertown’s girls lacrosse team knows when the moment is big, it can turn to Hannah Mitchell.
Mitchell delivered on both ends of the field Saturday morning at North Penn, scoring the game-winning goal then getting back to force a late turnover. The Bears held off North Penn’s late rally and got back on the bus heading home with a 12-11 victory.
After North Penn erased a three-goal deficit with five minutes to play, Mitchell nailed the game-winner with a few ticks more than a minute left on the clock.
“She played very, very well today,” Boyertown coach Pam Wernersbach said. “She stepped in when we needed her to and she was kind of feeling it, so we let her in there and she made some great plays.”
After a back-and-forth start, the Knights opened up a 6-4 lead on Kristen Varilla’s goal with 6:30 left in the first half. However, North Penn’s turnover problems continued to hurt the Knights all game long and they couldn’t keep their lead.
Amanda Diachynsky scored with 2:37 left in the first half to knot the score and it remained that way into the break. Not that Boyertown was lacking confidence in the first half, but the Bears knew they were rolling going into the second half and got goals by Kylie Webb and Sydney Fox in the first six minutes to take their first lead since early in the first half.
“We panicked and made some mistakes, we had so many turnovers today and again, it’s consistency,” Knights coach Heather Mellow said. “We’re still getting there, things are improving but that many turnovers, I think we had close to 20, that’s going to beat you up right there.”
Bri O’Donnell, who scored four goals for North Penn, put home her second to cut the Boyertown lead in half briefly before Diachynsky put it back up to two goals with 17:35 left in the game.
Over the next 10 minutes, neither team scored but Boyertown owned the run of play. The Bears spent most of that timespan in North Penn’s half and buzzing around the eight-meter. It was crucial for Boyertown because it allowed the Bears’ midfielders to stop running up and down the field and make North Penn’s mids chase the ball around over and over again.
Knights goalie Kate Winstanley came up big many times, making 15 saves to keep her team in the game.
O’Donnell scored with 7:24 left to end the scoreless spell, but Hailey Heimbach responded with a tally for an 11-8 lead with exactly five minutes left.
“Three goals in our game isn’t that big of a hole, even with five minutes left,” Mellow said. “You can score a couple goals in 30 seconds. (Kaitlyn Phifer) who scored the first goal was the one that lit the fire and they all realized this was in reach.”
Phifer’s goal with 4:32 left started a 3-0 North Penn run over the next two minutes of play with Julia Keffer’s fourth tally knotting the score 11-11. Despite giving up the lead, Boyertown didn’t panic and just kept playing for its next chance.
“If you have the ball, you should be able to win the game and that’s another thing as a team, they’re starting to understand,” Wernersbach said. “We’re doing better with it. North Penn is a tough team and we have to be ready for these tough teams. I love being in games where we have tough competition and the kids have to step up and challenge themselves.”
North Penn had a free-position shot with 1:32 left that it wasn’t able to put away, leading to Boyertown recovering the ball and going the other way where Mitchell finished off the huge swing in momentum.
“You just can’t make mistakes, or that many of them, and think you’re going to win,” Mellow said. “We’re going to have to figure out how we can cut back on the errors.”
Boyertown 12, North Penn 11
Boyertown 6 6 — 12
North Penn 6 5 — 11
Goals-Assists: B – Maddy Siejk 4-0, Hannah Mitchell 2-0, Hailey Heimbaugh 2-0, Amanda Diachynsky 2-0, Sydney Fox 1-0, Kylie Webb 1-0, Hayden Hallman 0-1; NP – Julia Keffer 4-0, Bri O’Donnell 4-0, Kelly Macnamara 1-0, Kaitlyn Phifer 1-3, Kristen Varilla 1-0, Victoria Brauehle 0-1.