Bishop Shanahan survives scare from Gwynedd Mercy in District 1 first round

WEST CHESTER — The Gwynedd Mercy girls lacrosse team trailed Bishop Shanahan by one goal with nine minutes to play in the opening round of the District 1 playoffs. If ever draw control was important, it was on this Tuesday at Kelly Field in West Chester.

Slightly shorthanded, the 25th-seeded Monarchs missed an opportunity to knock off the eighth seed. The Eagles collected the next two draw controls after Danielle Senour’s goal at 9:19 and scored to quickly reopen their lead. The 10-7 win ended the Monarchs’ season at 11-8 overall.

“Our coach used to say you never look for people that you need on that field, but we are down a defender and our draw control specialist,’ Monarchs coach Deb Lawlor said. “We brought up some young kids, they stepped up and did (not) miss a beat. That makes the Gwynedd coaching staff really proud. We hung in it.’

What could of been if junior Maddie Meagher did not get hurt a few weeks back against Upper Dublin. Her skill set at midfield might have been the needed asset to upend the Eagles. However, Kelsey O’Donnell controlled several face-offs and Shannon McFalls scored two second half goals and three total to secure the win. O’Donnell had a pair of goals and five others registered a single score.

“Maddie Meagher is probably out for the summer,’ Lawlor said.

Despite the double-digit output, sophomore goalie Gabby Tanner made 14 saves for the Monarchs and gave her team every chance to come back home with a win and their season still ongoing. She was confident in the club in front of her and being in the net for her first varsity playoff game did not crack her nerves.

“I changed from Lansdale Catholic and they really welcomed me,’ Tanner said. “They pick me up and made it easy. We have some really good played coming back next year and I really excited for next year.’

“(Tanner) did amazing,’ Lawlor said. “We are happy that she is going to stay with us for a little bit. We plan to be back in playoffs next year. We know what to expect and plan to get better and better.’

In the loss, Ashley Stefanowicz scored twice, while five others scored against the Eagles and their standout senior goalie Christina Decesaris, who defended the net at the most crucial times. Bridget Beck added a goal in the final minutes for the Monarchs, but it was not enough to overcome the speed of the Eagles and the 3-0 lead that allowed them to take in the opening minutes of the game.

“Our teams work together well, especially when we get down,’ Tanner said. “There is always some picking someone else up. These three-point games you can come back from. The game changes really fast.’

The Monarchs lose 10 seniors, but are encouraged and excited about the talent that will return next season.

“Not one time did we ever say this was over,’ Lawlor said. “We peppered the goal, but they had a great transition and we could not match that.’

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