Downingtown >> Bishop Shanahan came out firing on all cylinders in a 15-6 win against a solid West Chester Rustin girls’ lacrosse squad Tuesday afternoon.
The Eagles (3-1) shot out to a 5-1 lead midway through the first half, and by halftime held a 10-3 advantage against the Golden Knights, who had entered the game with a 3-1 record and were ranked 11th in the latest PIAA District 1 3A ratings.
Shanahan is now ranked No. 2 in the PIAA District 1 2A rankings.
“We played a full game today, both halves, with the offensive and defensive units just taking care of their business,” said Shanahan’s fourth-year head coach Kacy Small.
The Eagles have nine seniors this spring, many of whom will be playing college lacrosse, including captains Michelle Warren (Rutgers), Darby Whalen (Navy) and Lila Ceribelli (Elon), as well as Liv Murphy (Temple), McKenna Billie (Millersville), Lauren Young (Cabrini) and Greta Wolff (Niagra).
“I think this is a really tight group – this is the first group of seniors I’ve had for four years,” said Small. “It’s nice to watch them jell together and have each other’s back, doing the things that we’ve been working on for four years and really starting to put it together after missing last year.”
The Eagles were 16-7 and advanced to the PIAA District 1 2A semifinal in 2019 before losing to eventual champion Villa Maria. After missing the 2020 campaign due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Eagles feature a bunch of hungry seniors this spring who are looking for one last big campaign.
“I think everyone on our team was so excited that we were going to have a season this spring that they’re enthusiastic [about] coming to practice,” said Whalen, who is considered the leader of the Eagles’ defense. “We practiced a lot during the [past] winter and fall. The other captains and I try to be positive, get everyone energized. We have a lot of talented players who do an amazing job of supporting each other upfield, who are always there for another pass in transition, and are always there on attack.”
“Darby is really the heart of our defense, so we usually go as she goes,” said Small. “She’s a great leader on the field throughout the game.”
Less than one minute into Tuesday’s game, Shanahan’s Paris Masaracchia intercepted a pass, and a few seconds later Ellie Udo fired home a shot to put the hosts ahead 1-0.
Three minutes later, the Eagles’ Sophia Lymberis scored the first of her three first-half goals, then following a Rustin turnover, Ceribelli tallied to give Shanahan a 3-0 lead just 5:20 into the game.
Rustin had some early success in the draw control, thanks to junior midfielder Ava Kane (a Rutgers commit), but some Golden Knight turnovers and goals by Warren and Murphy gave the hosts a 5-1 lead with 13:46 left in the first half.
“Ava won a lot of draws for us today, and we possessed the ball, but we had too many unforced turnovers and didn’t shoot the ball that well,” said Rustin head coach Mike St. Clair. “But we played hard, and we’ll take away the good things from today.”
After Rustin junior midfielder Skylar Bauer scored to cut Shanahan’s lead to 5-2 with 12:08 to go in the first half, the Eagles came back with three goals in the next 3 ½ minutes to take a 8-2 advantage. Ceribelli weaved through heavy traffic in front of the net to score the first goal; Lymberis fired one home from the right side two minutes later; then Warren scored on an 8-meter shot with 7:56 to play before halftime.
By halftime, Shanahan captains Warren and Ceribelli combined for five goals as the Eagles held a 10-3 lead.
Small said, “Michelle and Lila are just very talented players, they know their roles, and that’s something we’ve kind of been working on, with so much talent – that the players know their roles, that they never really think it’s just on one person. Both of them did really well today in helping the younger players be in the right spots and keep the system moving throughout the game.”
Billie was solid in goal, recording seven saves by halftime, and Shanahan began to win its share of draw controls, as Cerebelli, Masaracchia and Udo combined for 10 DCs.
“We have a lot of really talented draw [control] girls, so it’s kind of nice that when someone else [on the other team] is really doing well, that we can throw a couple of different draw girls in there,” said Small. “Our players made some really nice adjustments throughout the game, draw by draw.”
In the second half, goals by Warren (two), Masaracchia and Silvia Baptista gave the Eagles a 14-5 lead with 4:59 left.
For the Golden Knights (3-2), junior midfielder Lexi McClain (a Drexel commit) scored a hat trick Tuesday.
“We’ve been pretty much of a team effort this season, with spread-out scoring and some really good defense,” said St. Clair. “Katie Chisholm (Ohio State commit) has been the anchor of our defense, she’s a four-year starter who plays under control and does a great job, has a non-stop motor. Our midfielders really have worked hard, with Ava, Lexi and Skylar.
“Our girls have given us all they’ve got every game. We’ll watch the film from today, we have a lot to learn from it. We’ll clean up some of the things we made mistakes on, and hopefully finish the season strong.”
Bishop Shanahan 15, West Chester Rustin 6
West Chester Rustin 3 3 – 6
Bishop Shanahan 10 5 – 15
West Chester Rustin goals: McClain 3, Bauer, Kane, Ditizio.
Bishop Shanahan goals: Warren 4, Lymberis 3, Geribelli 2, Udo 2, Baptista, Masaracchia, Murphy, Whalen.
Goalie saves: WCR – Hionis 7. BS – Billie 7, Newman 4.
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