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In overtime, Springfield exacts a Little revenge on Archbishop Carroll

Springfield players embrace Olivia Little (20) after she scored an overtime goal to lead the Cougars to a comeback win over Archbishop Carroll, 14-13, at the Proving Grounds Monday afternoon. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)
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CONSHOHOCKEN >> It may have been a nonleague game shoe-horned into the twice-a-week gauntlet of the Central League, a blustery Monday afternoon in a spring that hasn’t yet fully defrosted.

But as Alyssa Long sprinted 30 yards to tackle the pile surrounding Olivia Little, the sophomore knew that Monday didn’t feel like just another out-of-conference exercise.

Springfield’s Olivia Little, left, tries to run past Archbishop Carroll’s Amber Germer Monday afternoon. Little’s fifth goal was the game-winner in overtime of a 14-13 victory for the Cougars in a rematch of last year’s PIAA Class 3A final. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)

“It definitely means a lot,” Long said after Springfield was done celebrating a 14-13 win over Archbishop Carroll in a rematch of last year’s PIAA Class 3A girls lacrosse final. “We lost to them by one, state championship, and lost to them by one on our field (in the regular season last year). And we definitely didn’t forget that coming into this game. We wanted it like it was the state championship to us. We wanted that win really badly.”

It wasn’t just the final result, sealed when Little scampered out from behind the cage and blasted home a shot at 2:12 of the extra session. It was how the Cougars got there, trailing from the midway point of the first half until Long tied matters with 1:52 to play at the Proving Grounds.

While Monday’s collision was separated by 10 months and about 50 degrees Fahrenheit from the one-goal classic that Carroll claimed, 9-8, in the final at West Chester East last June, the history loomed large for both teams. And though plenty of teams will get a say in the matter, postseason fate could do a lot worse than bringing these two teams together again, if Monday was any indication.

“All these games, win or lose, they always give us more competition and get us better for playoffs,” Carroll midfielder Katie Detwiler said. “These are the type of teams we’re going to see. Obviously today didn’t really turn out how we wanted it to be, but it’s going to keep preparing us for the future.”

Sandwiched between the vivid past and the portentous future in this rivalry was a scintillating present adorned with a thousand fine details. Like Little’s resolve, muted after scoring the opener but providing four of her five markers after half. Yet her most important intervention could’ve been when she picked off a Carroll pass and head-manned an attack that led to Belle Mastropietro’s goal that made it 12-11.

PHOTO GALLERY: Springfield vs. Archbishop Carroll

Or the sight of Rachel Matey, Carroll’s do-everything midfielder who controlled the center circle with nine draw controls going down in a heap with 2:30 to play, such a concerning fall that the laser-focused Detwiler froze to check on her. After being helped off the field barely putting weight on her leg, Matey was back in a matter of minutes, the heavy tape job on her ankle smartly accessorizing one on her wrist.

Springfield (7-2) trailed 8-4 heading into the final minute of the first half before Long and Dana Carlson scored to reduce the deficit, but goals from Madison Henry and Amber Germer out of the gates restored Carroll’s four-goal cushion. That edge persisted into the final 15 minutes, when Sydney D’Orsogna picked up a groundball and buried it for 11-7.

Progress occurred once the Cougars made headway on draws. Carroll finished with a 17-12 edge, thanks to Matey and Detwiler (six DCs). But Springfield won 10 of the final 17 draws, despite Erin Gormley, who tied Long with a team-best four DCs, exiting with 22 minutes left after her second yellow-card infraction.

“Once we got into our groove, started winning some more draws and not letting Rachel Matey, who’s really good, get her draws, then we started winning, we started to get a little momentum,” Long said.

Springfield’s Alyssa Long, center, tries to run past the pursuit of Archbishop Carroll’s Rachel Matey, left, and Katie Detwiler Monday. Long scored the equalizer with 1:52 left in Springfield’s 14-13 overtime win. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)

Carlson started the comeback in earnest when Mastropietro found her at 13:39, followed by Little whittling the lead to 11-9. D’Orsogna — who joined Germer, Henry, Gallagher and Alex Cabahug-Almonte with two goals apiece — stemmed the tide momentarily with 10:14 left. But Little (five goals, two assists) and Mastropietro (goal, two assists) each scored from free-position shots after turning Carroll over, a testament to their patience and defensive tenacity.

“We wanted it,” Long said. “We know we had to go into our ‘black defense,’ which is chasing the ball, doubling. We’re going to leave a girl open, we know that. But we had to work really hard, so maybe they got a goal or two from our leaving them open, but we made up for it.”

“We wanted to make sure the ref could see the three seconds in the eight-meter,” Little said. “We were trying to pull everyone out and have a couple of people behind so that we could draw that three seconds and we could either get a free-position or at least get another man open inside.”

Cabahug-Almonte pushed Carroll (4-1) back up two with 3:30 left off a feed from Detwiler, who tallied two goals and three helpers. But Olivia Pace’s second goal, then Long’s bombing run to the cage knotted the score with 1:52 left.

The Cougars won the ensuing draw and patiently probed for an opening. Mastropietro got the only look, bouncing wide, and regulation ended with Carroll’s Keri Daly causing a turnover. But in overtime, Pace secured the draw and Little adjusted. A pass into the mixer filtered back behind the net, and Little called her own number, letting fly a shot that was worthy of the win, the revenge … and maybe a little more?

“We find ourselves getting in a little bit of a hole in the beginning of games, it’s happened a few times this year,” Little said. “It’s exactly what happened against Garnet Valley (a 10-8 loss last Thursday) — we got too far behind too late in the game and we didn’t have enough time to come back. But here, I think we really battled back and we knew what we really needed to work for, so that’s what we worked towards.”

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