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Gwynedd Mercy cruises past Villa Joseph Marie in District 1-AA 1st round

LOWER GWYNEDD >> After two comfortable wins over Villa Joseph Marie in the regular season, the Gwynedd Mercy girls lacrosse team found itself in a tight battle with its Catholic Academies rival late in the first half of Wednesday afternoon’s District 1-AA first-round contest.

Maddie Major staked the visiting No. 15 seed Jems out to a 2-0 lead and even after the No. 2 Monarchs responded with four straight goals, Villa Joe hung close — a Sam Del Viscio strike cutting GMA’s lead to 7-6 with 6:41 left until halftime.

“I think definitely in the first half we had our heads a little too high,” Gwynedd Mercy’s Kendall Seifert said. “And we definitely needed to just play our game and just focusing on settling and making the right plays. And, yeah, definitely I think we were a little too ahead of ourselves.”

Seifert and Bridget Beck helped the Monarchs reel off a 4-0 run to build a cushion just before the break and in the second half Gwynedd Mercy rolled, outscoring the Jems 9-2 to pull away for a 20-9 victory.

“As soon as we got possession, we were fine. If Villa Joe got possession they were coming at us and we weren’t able to successfully stop those two key players (Major) and (Del Viscio),” GMA coach Deb Lawlor said. “But so we had to readjust and we did.”

Seifert finished with a game-high six goals and also had a pair of assists while Beck had five goals and dished out four assists for the Monarchs, who advance to hosts No. 7 Upper Moreland — a 22-7 winner over No. 10 Jenkintown — in the district quarterfinals Saturday. Winner clinches one of the four PIAA berths in the District 1-AA tournament. This is the first season the PIAA has two classes for girls lacrosse.

“It’s definitely exciting because it’s good for our school to be able to show that we can succeed in sports,” Seifert said. “And it gives us more confidence for years to come to see how far we could of gone last season before.”

Danielle Senour added four goals, an assist and was strong in the draw circle for the Monarchs while Hailey Durkin chipped in a pair of goals.

Major led Villa Joseph Marie with five goals. Del Viscio scored four times.

“So the first half we gave it to them and I was really proud of my team. We really stuck with them cause we knew we had a chance so we wanted to give our 100 percent,” Major said. “And then something happened in the second half. That always seems to happen to us, we always just give up a little but we’re always trying our hardest.”

Gwynedd Mercy had an 11-6 lead in the first half before a Del Viscio goal at 56.7 seconds left put the margin at four at the break.

But the Jems would not get any closer after halftime. Beck scored back-to-back goals to make it 13-7 at 18:14. After a Seifert tally, Beck scored again off a Senour assist to extend the GMA advantage to 15-7 at 13:10.

“It was a little scary at first, but we definitely picked it up,” Seifert said. “We knew we had to pick it up and we just put our minds to it and did it.”

Major snapped the 4-0 run 10 seconds later but the Monarchs continued to dominate possession and posted three straight goals — the last two by Seifert for an 18-8 lead at 9:37.

Del Viscio collected her fourth goal to cut Villa Joe’s deficit to nine before Gwynedd Mercy posted the contest’ final two goals.

“We did a nice job in pacing because of the heat,” Lawlor said. “The goal was to let our middies to kind of catch a little bit before we picked up the pace. And I thought they played really smart. I allowed them to figure that out on their own because they’re the ones in those shoes at that point and Hailey Durkin did a wonderful job.”

After Major gave the Jems a 2-0 lead at 22:22 in the first half, Seifert and Senour pulled the Monarchs level while another Senour goal at 18:04 gave Gwynedd Mercy the lead for good. Emma Fiore put GMA up 4-2 at 17:31.

The two teams traded goals until Senour gave the Monarchs an 8-6 lead at 4:22 then Seifert connected with Beck at 2:45. Beck assisted on Seifert’s strike 35 seconds later then scored on a free-position shot for a 11-6 GMA advantage.

(2) Gwynedd Mercy 20, (15) Villa Joseph Marie 9
Villa Joseph Marie           7 2 —   9
Gwynedd Mercy              11 9 — 20
Villa Joseph Marie Goals-Assists: Maddie Major 5-0; Sam Del Viscio 4-0.
Gwynedd Mercy Goals-Assists: Kendall Seifert 6-2; Bridget Beck 5-4; Danielle Senour 4-1; Hailey Durkin 2-0; Brie Daly 1-0; Lizzy Ferguson 1-0; Emma Fiore 1-0.



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