SPRINGFIELD — Erin DeStefano has more than 100 goals on her résumé and was Springfield’s leading scorer last season.
Thus it was slightly unusual to see DeStefano held without a goal in the first half of the Cougars’ 17-5 victory over Cardinal O’Hara Tuesday. But the senior attack had plenty of help from her friends.
Jaclyn Guille netted a hat trick, while Kylee O’Donnell and Devin Buggy each recorded two goals in the opening 20 minutes. By halftime Springfield was well on its way to a 2-0 start to the season.
“It’s about doing the little things, starting with the draw control to get possession so that my attackers can do the rest,” said DeStefano, who had three second-half goals. “It’s a team effort, which I think is the most important thing. If everyone can work on the little things, our team can be really good.”
Springfield has the talent to improve upon a 16-win campaign. Last year’s team played in the District 1 Class 3A final and advanced to the PIAA tournament. Several of those Cougars, including defensive stalwarts Lexi Aaron (two assists) and Anabel Kreydt, recently returned to the lacrosse team after a long basketball season. All-Delco midfielder Mia Valerio, the starting point guard on the basketball team, is temporarily sidelined due to an ankle injury.
“The basketball girls really help a lot because they have more varsity experience like Anabel, Lexi and Mia,” DeStefano said. “They help everyone stay focused and be patient on the field.”
“Right now we’re just trying to get back into the swing of things,” Springfield coach Keith Broome said. “We had a good game with West Chester Rustin on Friday and they were missing basketball players. Playing O’Hara today, we had lost to them last year and the year before. This is a town rivalry game so it’s really good to come out and win. … They graduated a lot from last year and we only graduated one starter, so we have a lot of kids back and we have a couple of young kids who stepped up really well.”
O’Donnell, a sophomore transfer from Academy of Notre Dame, has been excellent. She finished Tuesday’s game with three goals and two assists.
“Erin chose to not score early, but many of the other kids did, which is a good thing,” Broome said. “We’ve had a hard time with that goalie (Mackenzie Hand) in the past. We hit her a lot last year and it was nice to score on her today.”
Hand made 14 saves for the Lions (0-1). Springfield’s starter Maddy McBride finished with seven saves and back up Geena Augello had three in the second half. DeStefano, Buggy, Guille and O’Donnell all registered three goals. Maddie Kane scored twice.
O’Hara is under the direction of first-year head coach Jen Armstrong, who replaced Jen Duckenfield. The Lions qualified for the PIAA Class 2A quarterfinals last spring.
Several of Armstrong’s players are lacrosse novices or up from JV while others, including Natalie DiBlasi and Greta Miller, work their way back from basketball season. Armstrong, a Boyertown native who previously coached at Swarthmore College and Daniel Boone High School, was satisfied with her defense’s performance in the second half. One of her lacrosse newcomers, defender Mia Travia, had one caused turnover and a groundball.
Reigning Catholic League Player of the Year Claire Natoli led O’Hara with two goals and three draw controls. Honor Breen, Carley Smith and Maddie Sharkey (three groundballs) each scored once.
“Because of injuries and basketball, we have five kids that are JV kids playing varsity that are ninth-grade beginners,” Armstrong said. “Our backer (Travia) literally picked up a stick for the first time two weeks ago. We are playing against Springfield and they are challenging for the state championship this year. For the first five goals in this game, I was a little nervous because I thought it might be a blowout, but then our girls settled their nerves and they started to play better. … I’m really proud of them that they hung in there the whole time and kept at it.”
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