LOWER GWYNEDD >> Kendall Seifert turned in quite the performance Saturday morning.
The Gwynedd Mercy Academy attacker played like she had a clone or two on the field, but only because No. 14 in white seemed to be everywhere at once. Seifert, a junior, filled up the book with seven goals, two assists, four ground balls and a general presence that helped spur the Monarchs.
No, Seifert didn’t have any clones on the field but one was more than enough as GMA topped Upper Moreland 15-5 in the District 1-AA girls lacrosse quarterfinals.
“I could not stop smiling,” Gwynedd Mercy coach Deb Lawlor said. “I felt like I was watching her senior year in college, that’s what she looked like. Ground balls, shooting, checking, rides, defense, you can’t ask for more.”
The Golden Bears played better than the final score indicated, but the Monarchs made sure that Upper Moreland was going to have to play from behind the entire way. GMA’s defense was excellent and it forced UM into plenty of turnovers, most of them the dangerous live-ball variety.
If it wasn’t turnovers, it was rebounds. Bears goalie Cheyenne Grumm couldn’t have played much better, making 18 saves but her teammates weren’t able to pick up the ground balls off her saves, letting GMA pounce on the second chance opportunities and turn them into goals.
“We didn’t have our best show today,” Bears coach Kim Frantz said. “We weren’t able to get out of the funk with that and that’s what hurt us. We didn’t come hard in the beginning and we knew with Gwynedd, we had to. Gwynedd was also very good at capitalizing on our weaknesses.”
GMA has a pair of excellent seniors in Hailey Durkin (Fairfield) and Danielle Senour (Drexel) and they certainly did their part with Durkin scoring five goals while Senour had two goals and two assists, but Saturday’s game was about Seifert. The junior embodied the Monarchs’ transition attack, going right down the field with purpose and heading right for the goal.
When Upper Moreland was calm, they moved the ball and set up a couple of great goals. Too often though, an errant pass or pressure caused a turnover and had GMA going the other way, the Bears’ defense backpedaling and not set.
“We knew we had to pick up the intensity and we knew we had to come out strong,” Seifert said. “We knew because it was such a big game, we played as hard as we could and I think everybody’s energy fed off each other.”
GMA scored the first two goals of the game, but Upper Moreland hung tough for most of the first half, trailing just 5-3 with 8:16 left in the opening frame. Seifert scored with 1:46 left, setting off a 3-0 run to close the half for an 8-3 edge and the Monarchs just kept scoring after the break.
The No. 2 seeded Monarchs scored the first seven goals of the second half, going up 15-3 before the Bears pulled two back in the final six minutes. UM senior Sydney Bachmayer scored four goals in her last high school game including the last two of the game. Bachmayer, the school’s all-time leading goal scorer, will be continuing her career at West Chester.
Seifert, who had three scores by the half, had a natural hat-trick to start the second half with her team’s first three goals.
“We were focusing on our rides and picking up all the balls that go down and being able to transition off them is a big thing because we have to capitalize every time we have it on attack,” Seifert said. “Being able to capitalize on every ball from the defense is big because if we don’t, they can get it and come back against us.”
Emma Fiore was also a force for Gwynedd, coming up with eight draw controls.
The Monarchs will host Radnor in the district semifinals Tuesday. They are also automatically qualified for the state tournament.
“We weren’t thinking that word (states),” Lawlor said. “We were game to game, 100 percent. It’s the first time in my seven years we’ll be heading there. It’s just super-exciting for us and we’re at the perfect time for the level of play we’re playing now.”
Gwynedd Mercy Academy 15, Upper Moreland 5
UPPER MORELAND 3 2 – 5
GWYNEDD MERCY ACADEMY 8 7 – 15
Goals-Assists: UM – Sydney Bachmayer 4-0, Emma Meakin 1-0; GMA – Kendall Seifert 7-2, Hailey Durkin 5-0, Danielle Senour 2-2, Bridget Beck 1-2.