Carroll’s defense shuts down Springfield in win

SPRINGFIELD — Archbishop Carroll lacrosse coach Lorraine Beers tries to gauge how well her Patriots are playing each season by challenging them with a tough nonleague schedule.

The defending District 12 champion Patriots haven’t lost a game against a Catholic League opponent since the playoff final in the year 2000. They welcome the opportunity to see how well they match up against some of the top teams in District One as well in their travels to other states in search of quality competition.

Despite a longer-than-expected trip down the Blue Route to Springfield’s Halderman Field Monday afternoon, Carroll put things together well in the second half and earned a 10-7 decision over Springfield.

Springfield (3-1), which has a very inexperienced squad after losing most of last year’s starters to graduation, was coming off a pair of victories during its Spring Break trip to Virginia. The Cougars scored four of the last six goals of the first half Monday and entered the halftime break up, 7-5, as senior Emily Santana (two assists) and sophomore Bridget Whitaker scored three goals and Santana set up soph Maggie O’Connell for the first goal of the game.

Whitaker’s third goal came 34 seconds before halftime. The Cougars didn’t score again as the Carroll defense, led by junior Lexi Kucia, senior Katie Kucia, Kerri Mountz, who is used to shutting opponents down in her role as the field hockey team’s goalie, Rachel Matey and freshman Katie Detweiler, set up a wall in front of sophomore goalie Maddy Ferrioli for the final 25 minutes.

“Team defense,’ was the way Lexi Kucia, who helped Carroll to the quarterfinals of the PIAA Class AAAA basketball tournament last month, described her team’s successful effort. “Everyone did their job. When Rachel went up to attack, Katie Detweiler came in and did a good job.

“This was a huge win for us.’

Santana, a Rutgers recruit whose strong play helped Springfield to the 2014 PIAA tournament final against Garnet Valley, scored her 200th career goal during the Virginia trip last week. She had to deal with Kucia’s concerted efforts on draws as well as when she went to goal.

“I knew I had to stop her on draw controls,’ said Kucia, who plans to play at the United States Naval Academy. “Then I had to really work to guard her when we were on defense.’

Kucia and her defensive mates limited Springfield to four shots at goal in the second half. Ferrioli stopped three and one went wide. Five turnovers after halftime also kept the Cougars from mounting the kind of attack they enjoyed in the opening half.

Senior Avery Murphy scored four goals in the first half for Carroll (3-0). She started the second half by earning an assist on a goal by Anna Murphy. Four minutes later, Avery Murphy turned a Cougars turnover into the tying goal, and she put the Pats ahead with just under 15 minutes to play.

Matey and Isabelle Schmitt closed out the scoring.

“We really want to go all-out and go after the state championship,’ said Murphy, who will head to Ohio State in the fall. “Each year is different, but we want to keep winning in the Catholic League and then go on after that.

“We became really close on our trip (to Florida last week). When you have the friendships we have on this team, you expect to be successful.

“It’s great to be able to get outside and play. We had our share of practices in the gym because of the weather.’

Schmitt, who is co-captain along with Murphy, will play at Delaware. She also credited Carroll’s trip to Ft. Lauderdale with helping this team grow together.

“We have some freshmen and new players who are learning to play as a team with our returning players,’ Schmitt said. “When we were in Florida last week, we only got to play one game. But we got in a lot of practice and (Beers) implemented some new plays for us on offense.

“(Ferrioli) is only a sophomore, and she’s getting so much better (in goal). A lot of our coaches were defensive players, and I think that’s helped.’

Having a sunny afternoon on which to play also was a big help Monday.

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