EXETER >> As reasons for missing the start of a game go, Downingtown East’s Tori Barretta offered a pretty sensible one Tuesday afternoon.
“I ruptured my spleen earlier in the season, so I’m still working my way back,” the senior attacker said.
If her performance is any indication as to the University of Maryland commit’s progress from the injury in what she reckons is her “sixth or seventh game back,” the prognosis is glowing.
Barretta scored six goals to go with one assist as East scored 12 of the final 13 goals in a 14-5 victory over District 3 champion Wilson in the first round of the PIAA Class 3A girls lacrosse tournament at Exeter High School.
Barretta’s entrance to the game roughly coincided with the Cougars’ run of goals. Wilson actually led 4-3 with 7:52 left in the first half thanks to three straight goals, including a Genevieve Strobel hat trick.
But East (16-8) replied with the final three goals of the half, two provided personally by Barretta, for a run that extended to 7-0 less than five minutes into the second half. Even with her abdomen taped and wearing extra padding, Barretta still provided the calming and authoritative presence in the attacking half opened space for her teammates and exploited the slimmest of openings for her own looks.
“I think Tori is such an amazing player and adds onto our team in numerous ways,” said Livi Lawton, who scored the first two goals of the night in Barretta’s stead. “She’s a great assister and great scorer and all around the field a great player and a great asset to the team.”
Barretta was limited through the District 1 tournament and missed one of the five games altogether for the Cougars, the district’s sixth seed, who advance to take on District 3 runner-up Manheim Township, a 16-9 winner of Pine-Richland, in Saturday’s quarterfinals. Barretta was injured in a collision during the crosstown rivalry game with Downingtown West April 6. She’s slowly worked her way back to form in parts of games, and Tuesday ranked as a big step in that recovery.
Part of the comfort, Barretta said, is getting a few minutes to settle into the game, watch her teammates work from the sidelines and then jump into the fray.
“I don’t let it get to me,” she said. “My team really helps me with staying in it, staying up and staying confident. … My team gets in the swing of things and I try to do the best that I can.”
Barrretta wasn’t responsible for the defensive adjustment the Cougars made, but it was pivotal nonetheless. Wilson (22-2), scored three consecutive times in 90 seconds, all off the same incisive circle cut through the scoring area fed from up top.
With Lawton and Elise Person in the midfield and veteran Allison Sheridan marshalling the defense, the Cougars adjusted. The result was just one tally, from Carly Pandit 10 minutes into the second half, in the final 33 minutes of the game.
“We just had to get our heads in the game,” Lawton said. “We just lost it for that three or four minutes when they kept scoring and scoring. Our defense came together as a team and talked about it and once we talked about it, we adjusted to it.”
Downingtown held Wilson to just four second-half shots in adeptly milking the clock. Emily Robinson made five saves in goal.
Emily Wurzel scored three times in the second half for Downingtown East, joining Lawton with a hat trick. Kira Flynn chipped in goal and an assist.
Downingtown East 14, Wilson 5
Downingtown East 6 8 — 14
Wilson 4 1 — 5
First-half scoring: DE—Lawton (unassisted), 22:31. DE—Lawton (H.Wurzel), 21:43. W—G.Strobel (O’Shea), 19:39. DE—Person (free position), 10:10. W—G.Strobel (J.Strobel), 9:28. W—G.Strobel (O’Shea), 8:58. W—Duffy (O’Shea), 7:52. DE—Barretta (free position), 5:53. DE—Barretta (free position), 3:04. DE—Lawton (unassisted), :20.
Second-half scoring: DE—Barretta (H.Wurzel), 23:03. DE—Barretta (unassisted), 23:19. DE—Flynn (unassisted), 21:35. DE—E.Wurzel (free position), 20:17. W—Pandit (J.Strobel), 17:31. DE—E.Wurzel (Barretta), 12:24. DE—E.Wurzel (free position), 10:05. DE—Barretta (Free position), 4:26. DE—Barretta (Flynn), 1:46.
Shots by half: Downingtown East 13-11—24, Wilson 9-4-13; Yellow cards: Downingtown East 1 (Richewein), Wilson 1 (Pandit); Draw controls: Downingtown East 9 (E.Wurzel 4, H.Wurzel 2, Lawton 2, Flynn 1), Wilson 12 (Appler 5, Magalotti 4, J.Strobel 3); Goalies: Robinson (DE) 5 saves, Kline (W) 5 saves.