UPPER MERION >> It’s been a season of transition for Upper Merion’s girls lacrosse team.
Like the school’s other sports programs, the Vikings are now members of the Pioneer Athletic Conference, which has been both good and bad.
On the plus side, Upper Merion has no preconceived ideas when it’s about to take on a new foe, like a Pottsgrove or an Owen J. Roberts.
There’s no sense of history, so the team doesn’t know if it’s playing a juggernaut or a program at its own level of talent.
On the negative side, the Vikings have been shocked and in some cases overwhelmed by foes such as Spring-Ford and Pope John Paul II.
Wednesday’s home game against Perkiomen Valley, a 19-14 loss, seemed to be going in that direction.
After taking a quick two-goal lead, Upper Merion soon found itself down by eight just before halftime.
But instead of folding its collective tent, Upper Merion fought back and closed the deficit to four goals by the break.
The second half brought more of the same, as the visiting Vikings re-stretched their lead to eight goals with 14:40 to play.
But once again Upper Merion battled back, pulled within four goals late in the half and could have, without a late card, had an opportunity to make it even closer.
“That’s been the good thing,” said Vikings head coach Angie Yanocha. “In the past, when we were playing an Upper Dublin or a Wissahickon, the girls kind of knew what to expect.
“They don’t have those same expectations this year. They know about some of the teams, like Spring-Ford or Owen J. Roberts, but they really haven’t experienced playing them, so there are no preconceived ideas.”
So the players don’t know they’re “supposed” to lose to some of their league foes, so they play loose and easy.
It didn’t work against Spring-Ford, who the Vikings lost to by double digits, but against Perk Valley, Upper Merion hung around, showed off its transition game and made it close at the end.
“I give credit to Upper Merion,” said PV head coach Lisa Clark. “Their transition gave us a lot of trouble, and I’m glad we were able to do enough to win.”
That didn’t seem possible throughout a good part of the first half, which saw Upper Merion jump out quickly, 2-0, then endure a 10-goal run by the visitors, which saw PV grab a 10-2 lead with 7:23 left in the first half.
But Upper Merion bounced back, scored five of the game’s next six goals and trailed by only 11-7 at the break.
At the outset of the second half Perkiomen Valley, again, put some distance between itself and the home team, stretching its lead to eight goals again when Anna Koniencki’s goal pushed PV into a 17-9 lead with 14:40 left.
But as they did in the first half, Upper Merion rallied, scored six of game’s final seven goals and made it a four-goal game until PV got the game’s final goal with 91 seconds to play.
“They gave us a tough game,” said PV’s Sydney Marasco, who, along with teammate Paige Tyson would finish with a team-high five goals. “They’re a good team, and we might see them later in the year.”
By then, the Vikings East might be better prepared to tackle Vikings West.
“This game showed me a lot,” Yanocha said. “It showed the kind of team we are.
“We got down a couple of times, but we bounced back and never stopped fighting.”
PERKIOMEN VALLEY 19, UPPER MERION 14
Perkiomen Valley 11 8 — 19
Upper Merion 7 7 — 14
First Half Scoring — 1. Upper Merion, Molly Weygand, 23:03; 2. Upper Merion, Francesca Lindelow (FP), 21:35; 3. Perkiomen Valley, Paige Tyson, 18:13; 4. Perkiomen Valley, Sydney Morasco, 17:35; 5. Perkoimen Valley, Morasco (Tyson), 17:02; 6. Perkiomen Valley, Morasco (Caitlin Leap), 16:10; 7. Perkoimen Valley, Maurer, 12:32; 8. Perkiomen Valley, Tyson (fp), 11:45; 9. Perkiomen Valley, Leap (Kat Kelley), 9:42; 10. Perkiomen Valley, Tyson, 8:52; 11. Perkiomen Valley, Maurer (Marasco), 8:06; 12. Perkiomen Valley, Marasco, 7:23; 13. Upper Merion, Quinn O’Malley, 7:09; 14. Perkiomen Valley, Riley McGettigan (fp), 6:25; 15. Upper Merion, Nahje McClure, 4:28; 16. Upper Merion, R. O’Malley (fp), 2:53; 17. Upper Merion, Allison Shuster, 0:23; 18. Upper Merion, Rella Staley, 0:12.
Second-Half Scoring — 19, Perkiomen Valley, Tyson, 24:48; 20. Perkiomen Valley, Anna Koniencki, 24:05; 21. Perkiomen Valley, Kat Kelley, 23:30; 22. Upper Merion, Shuster, 21:38; 23. Upper Merion, Weygand (fp), 18:29; 24. Perkiomen Valley, Tyson, 16:18; 25. Perkiomen Valley, Maurer, 15:56; 26. Perkiomen Valley, Koniencki, 14:40; 27. Upper Merion, Lindelow, 14:00; 28. Upper Merion, Quinn O’Malley (Weygand), 13:44; 29. Perkiomen Valley, Alex Blomstrom, 11:14; 30. Upper Merion, Riley O’Malley, 8:44; 31. Upper Merion, Weygand (fp), 5:37; 32, Upper Merion, LIndelow (fp), 5:04; 33. Perkiomen Valley, Koniencki, 1:31.
Goaltender Saves: Perkiomen Valley — Devon Fleischmann — 6; Upper Merion — Kate Frey — 7.