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Abington makes statement with 2OT win over Radnor

ABINGTON >> Abington senior Kiki Brashear is like any other high school kid, at least most of the time.

Put Brashear in a lacrosse goal however, and “Kiki The Beast” comes out. The Beast was most certainly there Friday afternoon when the Ghosts hosted Radnor in their regular season finale. Brashear came up big time and time again for her team, posting 11 saves.

The district playoffs start next week, but Friday’s game sure felt like the postseason as Cathy Staerk’s free position goal gave the Ghosts an 8-7 win in double overtime.

“I made sure I just focused on the ball and talked more,” Brashear said. “My defense crashes and I get the ball safe, that’s kind of my motto.”

It was far from a perfect victory, and Abington had a couple of harrowing late turnovers, but the Ghosts showed plenty of fortitude and resolve to pick up a potentially huge win on the eve of the postseason. Not only is Radnor a top program, but the win could be enough to propel the Ghosts to a first-round bye in the District 1 Class AAA tournament.

Getting there involved contributions from everyone, some clutch play on the attack, winning the key balls late in the game, a disciplined defense and some beastly goaltending. Four of Radnor’s seven goals came off eight-meter shots, otherwise the Abington defense made it tough going for the visitors.

Abington got off to a quick start, scoring twice in the first two minutes of the game. The Ghosts’ second goal was a nearly-field length run by midfielder Kaley Enhow after she collected a groundball.

Enhow said the game had a playoff feel.

“It was very nerve-wracking on the field,” Enhow said. “But I feel like we possessed the ball well and that helped us.”

After Radnor tied it 2-2 on a pair of free position goals, the teams traded scores and momentum the rest of the game. Radnor senior Julianne Puckette, who finished with a hat trick and an assist, made it a 4-4 game at the break thanks to her eight-meter take with 10 seconds left in the opening frame.

Abington coach Amanda Kammes said Brashear was able to pick up the pace of the game and that’s what allowed the senior goalie to start coming up with saves. Brashear said each game is different, sometimes the coaches give an in-depth analysis of an opponents’ tendencies and others, she picks it up.

Once she has the flow of the game, she’s able to follow the ball, direct her defense and let “The Beast” come out.

“I knew this was one of our biggest games in the season,” Brashear said. “I was hyped all yesterday. I had extra practice yesterday to make sure I had a beast game today. It’s why they call me ‘Kiki the Beast.’ They’ve been doing that since last year. It’s my personality and it makes me pumped up for all the games.”

Kammes also saw a very locked-in goalie during Thursday’s training session.

“I knew Kiki was going to have a day today, she’s had her game face on since before practice started yesterday,” Kammes said. “She didn’t talk to anyone, it was all business. You couldn’t tell if her pet fish just died or if she was totally happy. That’s how I like her.”

Lindsay Baer put the Ghosts up 5-4 with 18:50 left in the game, which then slowed down into a deliberate approach from both sides. Abington did possess the ball for long stretches, but Radnor still had its cracks, only to be denied by Brashear.

Puckette’s third goal came with 6:10 left and set off a relative scoring spree, with four goals coming in the next four minutes and Abington taking a 7-6 lead on Casey McCallister’s superb finish after a crease roll to the near post.

The Ghosts committed a couple of turnovers late in the game, both in Radnor’s end and as a result the visitors tied it on Hope Smith’s free position shot with 59 seconds left.

“It’s never going to be perfect,” Kammes said. “It’s how we respond to mistakes and continue having each other’s backs. I always tell them it takes everybody. It takes the bench, freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors, a goalie, coaches, it’s everybody.”

Abington won several key draw controls down the stretch and in the overtimes, with Enhow coming up with two and Sam McGee the other. Enhow’s win to start the first overtime allowed Abington to hold the ball for about a minute and a half before getting into a set.

The designed play was for McGee, but the senior wasn’t able to control the pass and Radnor came up with the ball with less than 20 seconds on the clock. Radnor stormed down the field and the ball found its way to Smith. Brashear slid to her left and tried to take up as much room as possible as Smith fired.

Smith’s shot clanged off the post and away from the net as the buzzer sounded to end the first extra session.

“I was watching the ball the whole time,” Brashear said. “I’ve been in so many overtime situations that I knew I just had to watch ball and focus on the ball to try and make the save. You get those nervous butterflies and you don’t want the shot to go in but when you get the stop, it’s a relief off your shoulders.”

McGee won the draw to start the second overtime and Enhow drew a call inside the semi-circle. On the restart, she found Staerk, who was fouled to set up the deciding eight-meter shot with 2:38 left.

“I wanted to get it right to her and hopefully she’d get a shooting space call or get fouled,” Enhow said. “She’s been clutch this season.”

Abington 8, Radnor 7
RADNOR 4 3 0 0 – 7
ABINGTON 4 3 0 1 – 8
Goals-Assists: R – Julianne Puckette 3-1, Hope Smith 2-0, Cate Cox 2-0, Nicole Massamino 0-1; A – Casey McCallister 3-0, Cathy Staerk 2-0, Lindsay Baer 1-2, Kaley Enhow 1-1, Sam McGee 1-0
Saves: R – Alexa Solomon 7, A – Kiki Brashear 11

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