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Hotham, Strath Haven settle in and breeze past Marple Newtown

Strath Haven’s Margot Hotham fires home one of her three goals Thursday in the first half of a 15-5 Central League win over Marple Newtown. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)

NETHER PROVIDENCE >> In the teeth of a stiff wind and inhospitable early spring conditions Thursday, the mistakes piled up early for Strath Haven and Marple Newtown. On a day not conducive to comfort of any kind, both girls lacrosse teams took time to get settled into their sets, hoping to string together passes and enjoy extended possessions.

It took 15 minutes for the Panthers to be the team to succeed in that department. And when Haven took control, it had its midfield to thank.

Strath Haven’s Emily Raech, left, steals the ball from Marple Newtown goalie Christina O’Rangers in the first half Thursday. Raech was able to pick the ball up and score in a 15-5 Panthers win. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)

Margot Hotham, Chloe Brennan and Gillian Brennan scored three goals each as Strath Haven pulled away for a 15-5 Central League win. Haven went on a 7-1 run in the last six and a half minutes to blow open a 5-3 game.

Hotham completed her hat trick of unassisted goals with 4:53 left in the first, making it 8-3 Haven. With the Panthers still getting their bearings in their offensive sets against the aggressive sticks of Marple, it often fell to Hotham to generate offense in transition. When the senior Temple signee gained a head of steam in the middle of the field, there was no stopping her bombing runs on goal.

“I saw opportunities that my teammates gave me, so I was like, we’re close, let’s take it,” Hotham said. “And I think that just got us more into the groove and made us get that little lead, and we were ready to go once we got that.”

Chloe Brennan did much of the same, adding an assist on Olivia Memenger’s second goal at 5:55. Chloe Brennan registered a natural hat trick in 3:02, and Gillian Brennan’s tally with nine ticks left in the first half made it 12-4 at the break. She added three assists.

Chloe Brennan also helped the Panthers control the center circle with six draw controls. Sophie Haase added five DCs.

Hotham’s danger in the open field not only capitalized on turnovers aplenty. It opened passing lanes when Haven pulled the ball out and worked it around the attacking zone. That balance — between quick-strike athleticism and composed, methodical offense — is what the Panthers spent the first half trying to establish.

“I think we’re super quick to fix our errors,” Chloe Brennan said. “This year especially, I think we work really well all together. If something’s wrong, everybody helps to fix it.”

Strath Haven’s Chloe Brennan, left, looks to pass the ball out of the defensive zone in the first half under pressure from Marple Newtown’s Katie Nunan. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)

Despite missing four starters due to illness and other absences, the Tigers hung tough early. Kailey Cristello’s third goal at 8:38 of the first kept them within 5-3. But the Panthers’ depth eventually wore Marple down, as did the compounding errors as bench players acclimated to new and expanded roles.

Kristen Rutecki added two goals, including a second-half tally set up by Cristello. Kylie Gioia set up Cristello’s first two goals, Shannon McCarthy corralled seven of the Tigers’ eight draw controls and Christina O’Rangers made eight saves in goal to keep it close.

But with so many absences, victories were confined to the moral.

“We always look for the open passes and the open girls,” Cristello said. “Especially when you don’t have your core unit, you kind of have to pay more attention to those things. But we know where each other are and where to throw the ball, so that’s good to have.”

The step forward is more tangible for Strath Haven. Off last year’s berth in the PIAA Class 3A tournament, the Panthers face the task of replacing several key contributors. But the taste of states heightens the hunger to return for more.

“I think we came into this season knowing that we lost a few players and that we needed to build the team from there,” Hotham said. “But I think we’re really hungry this year and we’re really excited to see where it takes us.”

Also in the Central League:

Radnor 18, Ridley 6 >> Ellie Mueller and Molly May scored five goals each, the former adding eight draw controls, and Cate Cox paired three goals with four assists as the Raiders rolled.

Haley Adam led Ridley with a hat trick, and Corrine Stratton added two goals.

Garnet Valley 19, Haverford 6 >> Madi McKee pumped home four goals and corralled 12 draws, and Riley Delaney, Kamryn McNeal and Regan Nealon each posted hat tricks for the Jaguars. Cam Faith was the orchestrator with five helpers to complement her goal.

Sydney Corcoran led Haverford with a pair of goals.

In the Del Val League:

Interboro 15, Academy Park 10 >> Morgan Reed scored seven goals, and Keri Barnett added four goals and an assist for the Bucs. Marissa Mea supplied two goals and two assists.

Riley Street potted five goals for AP, and Shayna Flory added a hat trick.

Chichester 14, Penn Wood 1 >> Lina Dinh and Mackenzie Sendek each tallied hat tricks for the Eagles.

In the Catholic League:

Cardinal O’Hara 18, Conwell-Egan 3 >> Rachel Familligetti scored six goals, Julia Feraiolo added four and Anna DeRita (two goals) and Sammy Donnelly combined for five assists. Jackie Deuber-Peterson made seven saves.

In the Ches-Mont League:

Avon Grove 21, Sun Valley 3 >> Anna Brown scored two goals, Abby Seasock also tallied and Alexis Colasante made 10 saves for the Vanguards.

In nonleague action:

Springfield 19, George Walton Comp 11 >> Dana Carlson and Belle Mastropietro scored four goals apiece, and Olivia Little tallied a hat trick for the Cougars against the team from Georgia. Julie Schickling, Olivia Pace and Megan Cull scored twice each.



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