Bishop Shanahan holds off Southern Lehigh, advances to PIAA-2A quarterfinals

NEW TRIPOLI >> The Bishop Shanahan girls lacrosse team extended District 1’s dominance in the PIAA 2A Tournament — but it was dicey for a period of time.

The Eagles wiped out an early deficit and held off a second-half rally to edge Southern Lehigh, 11-10, on a breezy Tuesday at Northwestern Lehigh High School.

Shanahan (15-7-1) advances to Saturday’s state quarterfinals and will face District 7 champion Mars at a site and time to be determined.

One unexpected twist was the conditions — the smoke and haze from the wildfires in Canada enveloped the stadium and made breathing a little tougher than normal.

“That definitely hurt, said senior Annabelle Wiedel. “I know at halftime, a lot of people were rubbing their eyes, a lot of them were a little gassed, so I think that played a factor with the speed, but we found a way to power through.”

“It definitely affected our team a little bit,” added fellow senior Caitlyn Hubiak. “We played through adversity a lot this year and we definitely planned on winning this game.”

The Spartans (15-5), three-time District 11 champions, started out hot, scoring the first three goals by Reese MacIntosh, Jessica Mantz and Sara Tesche.

“We got a couple of ground balls and a couple of draws and we shot the ball well,” said Southern Lehigh coach Eric Tass. “But, obviously, they’re a real good team and they pulled ahead.”

The Eagles settled in and came roaring back, scoring six straight goals to take a 6-3 lead. Wiedel tied the game with a low shot along the ground that snuck past Spartans goalie Leah Alderfer.

MacIntosh scored with 6:57 left to beat the Spartans’ scoring drought and close the Eagles lead to 6-4. Elise Pezone tallied to make it 7-4 as the game headed to halftime.

Hubiak got the second half going for the Eagles by scoring to extend the advantage to 8-4.

Shanahan led 9-6, before Southern Lehigh started its comeback. Mantz scored to cut it to 9-7 with 13:37 remaining.

MacIntosh followed with a goal with 11:58 left, then seconds later, cashed in on a free position to knot the score at 9-9.

Wiedel helped Shanahan regain the lead by firing in a shot off a free position while a man up with nine minutes left.

“When I got the call, I thought, ‘Finally,’” said Wiedel. “I shot it as I hard as I could.”

Silvia Baptista provided a two-goal cushion by shooting high from in close to score with 7:42 left.

The Spartans closed the gap to one as MacIntosh recorded her fifth goal of the game with 6:05 left.

“It was a really great game,” added Tass. “We played hard. I just wished we could have got one more win for our seniors.”

Southern Lehigh had one last chance for the equalizer, but midfielder Gianna Mastrocola stole a pass with under a minute left and the Eagles held the ball to run out the remaining seconds.

Shanahan felt they were on the wrong end of some referees calls and things were compounded when they lost heralded defender Claire Fader for the last 11 minutes of the half due to a leg injury. They also slogged through the final 10 minutes a player down due to yellow card accumulations.

“Feels very good (moving to second round), playing through adversity and playing through refereeing,” said Shanahan coach Kacy Small. “I’m very proud of them.
“Fader is our MVP and a major part of our defense, so we had to adjust and somebody else had to jump into that role.”

The Eagles now prepare to go into the state quarterfinals hoping to add to the district’s streak of winning all five championships since Class 2A was established in 2017.

Bishop Shanahan 11, Southern Lehigh 10
Bishop Shanahan 7 4 — 11
Southern Lehigh 4 6 — 10
Bishop Shanahan goals: Wiedel 3, Hubiak 3, Pezone 2, Baptista, Benner, McCullough.
Southern Lehigh goals: MacIntosh 5, Mintz 4, Hafler.
Goalie saves: Sawicki (BS) 7; Aiderfer (SL) 5.

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