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Second half surge pushes Souderton past Hatboro-Horsham

HORSHAM >> It’d be tough to find a better 20 minute stretch of play than the one Souderton’s girls lacrosse team put together Wednesday night.

The Indians were doing alright for the first 30 minutes of their game at Hatboro-Horsham, but trailed by four scores with 20:10 left in the Hatters’ Senior Night contest. It didn’t happen in one big swoop, but Souderton started clawing back into things, then turned it into a wave.

With seemingly every player on the field chipping in, the Indians surged through the closing stretch of the game, picking up a 15-11 victory while ending the game on a 9-1 run.

“The girls just really pulled together and played together as a team,” Souderton coach Nancy Offner said. “That was the team we’re used to seeing and we were happy to see them come together when we needed to.”

Wednesday’s game featured two teams likely to qualify for the District 1-AAA tournament next week. Souderton (12-6, 6-3 Suburban One League American), which wrapped up regular season play with the win, was 19th in Monday’s most recent update while the Hatters (8-7, 5-4) were 22nd. The top 24 teams make the field.

The result spoiled the night for Hatboro-Horsham’s five seniors although one, Penn State recruit Kaitlyn Wallace, did all she could with five goals and two assists.  Wallace scored three straight goals bridging the half and assisted on a fourth as the Hatters opened up a 10-6 lead with 20:10 to play.

Things didn’t go Hatboro-Horsham’s way much after that but the Hatters were still in the game when Wallace netted her fifth score to make it 12-11 with 7:41 to play. It was like the teams had flipped roles from the first half-hour of play, with the Hatters making mistakes and Souderton playing with confidence after it was Souderton turnovers that had allowed Hatboro-Horsham to build its lead.

“They want to make the postseason and they knew what this game meant to us,” Offner said. “We needed to calm down some. Hatboro has some unbelievable speed and some unbelievable talent on their team and that intensity they were playing with, it caused us to panic a little bit and pass things away. We had to get them to calm down and play their game and not only react, but take some control of the game.”’

Souderton struck first on a goal from Sarah Goodwin but the Hatters came back with the next three scores. Senior Olivia Tice got the Hatters on the board with a sharp finish after Wallace made a long run and found her classmate off a restart.

The Hatters wouldn’t trail again in the first half after Gabby Acker made it 2-1, but the Indians did manage to come back a tie it 6-6 late in the first half. In the meantime, Hatboro-Horsham seized momentum and took a 5-2 lead when Gwyn Acker intercepted a pass and found freshman Audrey Leibfreid with 17 minutes left.

After Souderton rallied to tie it 6-6 with three minutes left in the half, Wallace scored twice in a two-minute span for an 8-6 lead the Hatters took into the break and built up to a four-goal edge five minutes into the second frame.

Anna Annella kicked off a 6-0 run with 19:14 to go and five different scorers had at least one goal as the Indians reversed the script.

“Our whole season has been like that,” Offner said. “We have a lot of talent on this team and a lot of people who have been able to score for us. They’re putting in the effort, they’re not selfish in their play. They work together and when the see an open girl, they pass it in.”

Kate Mardi tied it 10-10 on a free position opportunity with 15:34 left. A yellow card on the Hatters with 13:46 proved costly as Souderton scored twice on the advantage to regain the lead and extend it to 12-10.

The key to the run was the draw control. Wallace had been coming up big for her team in the circle until Souderton’s McGowan took charge and kept coming up with the ball. Hatboro-Horsham also started committing turnovers it had avoided in the first half.

“Riley was winning them, but we were coming up, hustling and getting to the ball,” Offner said. “We’ve really had trouble  on the draw control the past couple games. We’re really trying to get them to focus, get to the ball and come up with the ball and tonight they were able to do it.”

The Hatters were unable to stem the tide, but their defense was also playing shorthanded. Starting goalie Arielle Hammer was sidelined after being injured in the team’s game against Abington earlier in the week.

After Wallace made it a one-goal game, the Indians pressed the issue and got a goal from Maddie Knight to extend their lead. Souderton struck twice more in the final 3:30 to put away the win.

SOUDERTON 15, HATBORO-HORSHAM 11
Souderton 6 9 – 15
Hatboro-Horsham 8 3 – 11
Goals-Assists: S – Riley McGowan 4-0, Sarah Goodwin 3-2, Maddie Knight 2-0, Anna Annella 1-2, Carlie Doughty 2-1, Kate Mardi 3-1, Liz O’Hara 0-1, Ceci Puente 0-1; HH – Kaitlyn Wallace 5-2, Audrey Leibfreid 2-0, Gwyn Acker 1-1, Gabby Acker 1-1, Lindsay Coats 1-0, Olivia Tice 1-0

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