Schulze’s 5-goal effort rallies North Penn past Hatboro-Horsham

HORSHAM — As her team gathered up its gear and started to the bus, North Penn lacrosse coach Heather Mellow had a message.

“Guys, all of our wins can’t be like this,’ she said. “I can’t take it.’

Syd Lear promised her coach this would be the last time, but if it means the W’s keep coming, the Maidens might be alright with a few more nail-biters. In their latest bit of dramatics, the Maidens overcame an awful start and used a five-goal effort by Emily Schulze to rally past Hatboro-Horsham 9-8 Wednesday night.

On a wet and cold night, Schulze ran like a machine, scoring the game-winner with 4:57 left then kept the ball away from the Hatters to run off precious time from the clock. Goalie Michelle Dyck had a couple of critical stops and North Penn’s toughness prevented that bad start from spiraling into a disaster.

“That was an outstanding comeback,’ Mellow, the first-year North Penn coach, said. “I was so proud of them for not throwing in the chips and saying ‘ I’m done.’ They did an outstanding job and I couldn’t have been more proud of them.’

The Hatters, who hadn’t lost to North Penn (2-0) since 2010 coming into the game, got off to a rolling start. Hatboro-Horsham (1-1) won the initial draw control and swung it out to Carly Daley, who zoomed up the left side and in for a lightning-quick goal. Kaitlyn Wallace then ripped off the next three goals for a quick hat-trick and before nine minutes had elapsed, North Penn was down 4-0.

Wallace (four goals) had put the Maidens on their heels, but Dyck had a much-needed stop to stem the tide enough for Brianna O’Donnell to go down and get North Penn on the board with 12:08 left in the half. Dyck, who had seven saves in the win, got help from her defense, which locked down after the slow start.

“It’s pretty big for us,’ Dyck said. “We’re doing a lot of good things this year with defense and we’re working well as a unit. It’s just us having to work as a unit and it’s really good, the communication is up, I think we’re all happy with the new atmosphere we’re in.’

The first goal was crucial for North Penn, especially after it got blown out by the Hatters last year. Chloe Novak added a free position shot goal with 10:54 before the break to halve the Hatter lead, though Casey Swezey (goal, assist) quickly restored the three-goal edge.

Regardless, Schulze called the first North Penn goal the turning point as it got the Maidens believing. Then Schulze really instilled that belief with a pair of goals at 6:27 and 5:30 that got the Maidens within one at halftime.

Schulze’s continual motion set up her first tally while she scored off a slick Lear assist on the second.

“Last year it was a hard game, we got pretty much blown out,’ Schulze said. “But we came into this thinking they lost a lot of seniors, we lost a lot of seniors so we just needed to come in hard. Yeah, we got down 4-0 but we still had that adrenaline going and we said we’re not giving up from the beginning, we said it on the bus, if we even go down 6-0, do not give up, just keep fighting.’

The rally to one at half had North Penn believing while the Hatters were looking to settle down and rediscover the intensity they had used to start the game. Hatboro-Horsham did settle in behind goalie Maria Sims (nine saves), who didn’t let the Maidens tie the game before the break.

“They were going to the ball more and even the girls were saying, they were a little bit more aggressive,’ Hatters assistant coach Laura Swezey said. “They looked a little bit more hungry. We were hustling but not hungry, we weren’t as intense as they were.’

The Hatters have a young team, but also one with a solid main core. Syd Rausa restored a two-goal lead on a free position shot early in the second half, but the lead didn’t last long.

Schulze scored two straight, the first on a free position shot, to level the score at 6-6 with 17:54 left. With 15:11 left, Jenn DeLongis gave the Maidens their first lead on an O’Donnell assist and Hatboro-Horsham took a timeout to calm down.

North Penn actually added to its lead however, when Schulze sprung O’Donnell on an outlet and O’Donnell ran the rest of the way for the score.

With 8:01 left, Wallace swept in for her fourth tally and not even two minutes later, Gwyn Acker scored on a Rausa assist to tie the game up with 6:48 left.

“With lacrosse, it can just change on a dime,’ Swezey said. “The momentum was going their way. We started to foul more, we would slide and foul. They were coming back and the frustration sets in but we did calm down and tie it back up.’

North Penn had already responded from a four-goal deficit, so a tie game wasn’t anything to fret over, especially with Schulze coming back after a short rest on the bench. The dynamo attacker had one more run in her, slicing in and scoring with 4:57 left to put her team up 9-8.

“All I thought was when we get to the draw, I need to get this ball,’ Schulze said. “Take it down, do whatever I could. I didn’t have to get the goal, one of my teammates could have got the goal, but I just had to get the ball so we could win it.’

It was chilly, the field and air were damp and she had been going full-speed from the beginning of the game. Yet, even after scoring five goals, Schulze still had one more job to do.

With nearly five minutes left on the clock, the attack began the taxing job of keeping the ball away from the Hatters. She didn’t hold it for all 4:57 and she didn’t run five miles in that time, it just seemed like she did.

But with the promise of a win that’s eluded her for her entire career, Schulze dug down and found that last well of energy.

“I just have it in me,’ Schulze said. “I have the energy. I get tired but I tell myself to push to the end and never give up. Even if there’s 16 minutes left on the clock, I have to push to the end.’

As Schulze left the field, Mellow jokingly told her attacker to make sure she iced “pretty much your entire body.’ Mellow said the girls have embraced playing for each other and they seem to feed off each other’s energy, but especially Schulze, who has emerged as a leader.

“Each game we go into, we’re fighting,’ Mellow said. “These girls have so much heart, so much fight in them this year. I love it. It’s where I come from, it’s my background.’


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