Upper Dublin overcomes slow start, tops CB East

UPPER DUBLIN — For nearly the entire first half Wednesday, the Upper Dublin High girls lacrosse team was showing its age.

The team that counts only four regulars with varsity experience was being outplayed, outhustled and outgunned by Central Bucks East, and trailed by four goals with less than 90 seconds left before the break.

But suddenly the Cardinals caught a second wind, began spreading their attack around and just as quickly all the wind seemed to leak out of the Patriots’ balloon.

While East went scoreless for nearly 13:30, the Cardinals scored seven unanswered goals to grab the lead.

East got its mojo back, but after tying the game, the Cardinals got a Julie Cross free-position goal with 2:52 left to pull out an 11-10 victory.

“We have a brand-new team, really,’ said Cardinals head coach Dee Cross, “and we got beat pretty badly (18-7) by C.B. West the other day.

“So to come back today, after being down early and with three freshmen on the field, I’m really proud of our effort.’

Early on, however, it was the Patriots who had things their own way.

Katelyn Stout and Kaitlyn Mikalic each scored twice as the visitors rolled to their 7-3 advantage.

Upper Dublin’s only offense was provided by Cross, who scored three times while fighting through continual double and triple teams.

While Julie Cross was raising her level of play, the Cardinals and their coach knew they needed contributions from everyone to get back in the game.

“Yes, Julie is one of those players who has experience,’ Dee Cross said, “but we tell our team we don’t want her to do everything.’

“We have such a young team,’ Julie said, “that I feel I have to step up my game.

“But it’s all about confidence for us. We have to build confidence in ourselves so that everything doesn’t have to run through me. And I have faith in everybody on this team. And they all have to feel they’re big parts of this team.’

A Cross goal at the 1:07 mark of the first half pulled the Cardinals within one. But more importantly, Jill Kenney’s goal, when she swept in the rebound off a shot from Hannah Reape, set the tone.

Of the Cardinals’ next five goals, just one was scored by Cross, as two goals from Elizabeth Balboa and one each from Reape and Maddy Templeton helped push Upper Dublin into a 10-7 lead.

The home team’s run, said East head coach Kelly White, was the result of a young Patriots team still learning about the varsity game.

“We’re a young team, we’re growing and we’re trying to build,’ White said, “and it was a question of maturity.

“We still have to learn that you have to play a full 50 minutes.’

As the young Cardinals did earlier, the Patriots scrambled back into the game. Goals by Bella Ridolfi, Riley Donnelly and Stout within a 3:42 span midway through the half, pulled the visitors even.

But while both sides had their share of chances, the only goal the rest of the way belonged to Cross, whose free-position shot was the difference.

East pressed hard in the game’s final frantic seconds, but Upper Dublin goaltender Sarah Gallagher stopped both Maggie Vetter and Stout from in close in the final minute, and the Cardinals were able to run out the clock.

“From where we are to where we were, the girls have made a ton of progress,’ White said. “We’re going to have our growing pains, but these girls want more, and I think they’ll get there.’

“When I started at Abington, we had the same thing,’ said Coach Cross of her young Cardinals. “We just need to build up the program again.

“All the girls want to learn, and that’s what we’ll do, teach them one game at a time.’


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