WORCESTER >> There was a lot at stake Saturday afternoon when North Penn’s girls lacrosse team traveled to Methacton for a seemingly innocuous non-league, nearly-end-of-the-season game.
Sitting at No. 30 in the latest District 1 rankings, which determine postseason seeding, the Knights were hoping to solidify that standing with a win over the Warriors.
Bri O’Donnell scored seven goals and Chloe Novak and Julia Keffer each kicked in a goal and an assist as North Penn bested Methacton, 11-8, setting the stage for what should be a very interesting week of watching and waiting for the district pairings to be finalized.
North Penn should make the field, but there’s no guarantee, despite Saturday’s result.
“We really wanted this game,” said North Penn head coach Heather Mellow. “We needed it for district (seeding) purposes.
“It doesn’t guarantee we’ll get in, but today we were hungry. We played fairly well today.”
The Knights did, indeed, come out flying. And with O’Donnell and Novak leading the way, built a 4-1 lead at halftime.
O’Donnell got it started with a free-position goal at the 21:12 mark, Kristen Varilla doubled the lead a little over 9:00 later, and the visitors would not look back.
“That first half we had motivation,” said Novak, who acted as spokesperson after O’Donnell dashed out of the postgame huddle and sprinted to the parking lot in order to get to a previously scheduled communion ceremony.
“(Mellow) did a good job preparing us for the game.
“Execution was the key. We knew we had to possess the ball, and that’s what we did.”
But if North Penn was impressive in the first half, it flat-out boggled everyone’s mind in the first half of the second. O’Donnell and Co. went to work. And with 10:00 remaining in the second half, the North Penn lead was 10-2, and the host Warriors were reeling.
“We’re exhausted,” noted Methacton head coach Laurie Markle. “We’ve played four games a week for the past three weeks, including being out in that horrible rain (Friday) night until 7:00.
“We played with a lot of inconsistency early, and North Penn jumped on us. They were getting more possessions off the draw and taking advantage.”
But suddenly, chasing eight goals with 10:00 to play, it was the Warriors who caught fire.
Jackie Cerchio keyed a five-goal run with two goals and two assists as the Warriors pulled within 10-7 with 4:26 to play.
“We finally got going, but we were just down by too many goals,” Markle said. “And when North Penn needed a possession at the end, they got it.”
“We looked to Bri and she came through for us as she has all year,” Mellow said. “She’s been a clutch player for us all season long.
“When we need to get it done, she usually gets it done for us.”
O’Donnell snapped the Warriors run with a goal at the 1:13 mark — after North Penn successfully melted down a chunk of the clock — and the postseason looked a bit more realistic for the Knights.
“I don’t know if this will get us in,” Mellow said. “But if so, we’re really looking forward to it.”
As for Methacton, the loss didn’t knock the Warriors out of playoff consideration. But they most certainly will not get their desired spot in the top 16.
“We were shooting for a home game,” Markle said. “That’s probably not going to happen now, so we’ll just look forward to the challenge of the playoffs.”
LAX-ENDS: North Penn goaltender Michelle Dyck finished with five saves. … Sara Hughes led Methacton with three goals, while Cerchio had two goals and three assists, Daria Lucchesi had a goal and an assist and goaltender Addie Frey made eight saves. … Methacton is looking at another busy week coming up with the PAC-10 Championships, a non-league game against Upper Dublin and its district opener all slated in the next six days.