SPRINGFIELD >> As far as Angie Yanocha knows, the Upper Merion girls lacrosse team had never won a district playoff game.
On Wednesday, Francesca Lindelow snatched the ball off a draw and scored 53 seconds into overtime to give Upper Merion a 13-12 win over Mount Saint Joseph in an opening-round District One Class AA playoff game at Mount St. Joe’s.
The game-winning goal capped an unlikely comeback by the Vikings, who trailed by as many as four goals late in the first half and by two goals with 5:56 in regulation.
But Quinn O’Malley and Molly Weygand got the game tied with 3:26 left, then Lindelow did the rest in overtime.
The victory advances Upper Merion to Saturday’s second round where it will play Villa Maria, a 20-0 winner over Interboro.
“I’ve been around the lacrosse program for 17 years and I’ve only known the lacrosse team to make the playoffs three times,” Yanocha said, “and at no point did they come close to winning a game.
“I’m just so proud of this team.
“They showed heart, courage and determination in coming back when they could have just given up.”
The Magic broke out on top, using three goals by Kateri Krause to take a 7-3 lead at the 6:02 mark of the first half, then saw Natalie McNamara’s free-position goal to take an 8-4 edge 1:48 before halftime.
At the break, Yanocha challenged her team to rally, and the Vikings responded, closing the deficit to two goals just before halftime, and then taking a 9-8 lead with 20:03 left in the second half on a goal by Allison Shuster.
But the Mount was not done, and they quickly regained the lead on goals by McNamara and Gwynn Manchester with 14:03 left.
Lindelow tied it at 10 with 9:30 to play, but goals by Haley Cligget and Liz Meister restored the Magic lead with 5:56 left.
But Upper Merion wasn’t done either.
Quinn O’Malley and Weygand tied it with goals 40 seconds apart, and plenty of nails got bitten before regulation ended with the game still tied.
In the huddle before overtime began, Yanocha detailed the play the Vikings would run if they won the draw.
And when Weygand gained possession for the Vikings, that plan went into effect.
“We had talked about the play at halftime, and when we gathered before overtime we decided to run it,” Lindelow said. “It was the perfect way to end my senior year.”
As for the Mount, first-year head coach Jim Sheedy said the Mount got off to a slow start because of a lack of midfielders, but rallied as the season progressed.
“At the start of the season this team didn’t even have a coach,” said Sheedy, who played football at Archbishop Kennedy many moons ago. “My daughter plays, so I took the job here.
“We only had one midfielder when the season started, but the seniors stepped in and we got better and better as the season went along.
“I think we’ll be a pretty good team come next year.”
Top Photo: Upper Merions Rella Staley shoots over the head of Mount Saint Josephs Academy goalie Maddie Grass during their District 1-AA first round game on Wednesday, May 17, 2017. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)