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Maloney, fast start help Mount St. Joseph top Gwynedd Mercy

LOWER GWYNEDD >> A hot start helped the Mount St. Joseph girls lacrosse team claim Catholic Academies victory on a chilly Tuesday afternoon.

The Magic jumped out to a 4-0 lead just 2:50 into their contest with host Gwynedd Mercy, then used a three-goal spurt to lead by six in the second half before claiming a 9-6 victory over the Monarchs.

“I think we were all just ready to play today and we were excited and once we got that first goal, it was like, ‘All right, let’s go, let’s keep going,’” Mount senior MK Maloney said.

Maloney collected a game-high four goals, with the Old Dominion commit’s back-to-back tallies give the Magic (2-1, 2-1 league) a 6-2 advantage with 7:27 left in the first half. GMA (2-1, 1-1) was within three at halftime, but the Mount scored the first three goals of the second half to go up 9-3 on Casey McKeever’s tally at 9:58.

“Defensively, we did a unbelievable job,” Mount St. Joseph coach Brian Madeira said. “I think we only gave up eight shots the entire game, which is definitely the least we’ve done all season. And we really did a good job of dictating what they do offensively by doing what we do best defensively and just play team defense.”

Gwynedd Mercy coach Deb Lawlor called a time out to regroup not only for the final minutes of Tuesday’s game, but all to find something to carry into the Monarchs’ next contest. And GMA got the message, scoring three straight goals to pull to within 9-6 when Bridget Beck found the back of the net with 2:59 left.

“It’s not about the end of the season, it’s not about the end of this game as far as points it’s how we walk off this field and truly want do we learn going into this next game,” Lawlor said. “So, I just took my defense and looked at them eye-to-eye, sister-to-sister in the game of lacrosse. I made them look at each other and as you can see it kind of worked.”

Gwynedd Mercy, however, could not cut it deficit down any further as MSJ got possession and ran out the clock.

Beck paced Gwynedd Mercy with a pair of goals while Lizzy Ferguson handed out two assists in the second half.

“The girls, they basically said it, we shot ourselves in the foot, numerous times,” Lawlor said. “We threw the ball away. We’d make a great check, the ball would be on the ground, we’d give it back to them. We’d get possession, make a great transition, we’d pass the ball to them in the eight. We’d transition, we’d pass the ball to them to the middle. It just wasn’t clean lacrosse.

“We played a little flustered and I think there were chunks of time we played good lacrosse and the other times it just looked like we were on our heels.”

McKeever and Izzy Balcer each scored twice for Magic while Maloney dished out two assists.

“I thought we played really well. We needed to work as a team together and that was one of the main things,” Maloney said. “Strong defense and taking our time on attack and kind of controlling the pace of the game rather than having them control it.”

Both teams have Catholic Academies matchups 3:45 p.m. Thursday with GMA hosting Villa Maria and Mount St. Joseph visiting Sacred Heart.

Ashley Pyne opened scoring just 42 seconds into the first half, with McKeever making it 2-0 at 23:35. Balcer posted the Magic’s third tally while Maloney scored of a drive for a 4-0 lead at 22:10.

“The ball didn’t even go in the other half of the field for the first seven minutes. We were up 4-0 by that point,” Madeira said. “Wereally came out strong and then tried to control the tempo for the rest of the game from there.

Maddie Meagher got GMA on the scoreboard at 21:45 with Ferguson’s strike on a free position shot cutting the Mount’s lead to 4-2 at 17:49. Maloney, however, answered with consecutive goals — the second to finish a first-half hat trick at 7:27 — to put the Magic back up four before a GMA goal at 2:46 had the halftime margin at 6-3.

“Today, is was just focusing mainly on just shot placement and getting to the goal and getting a good shot off rather that just getting there and throwing whatever to the goalie,” Maloney said.

Balcer put Mount St. Joseph up 7-3 at 19:55 in the second half while Maloney scored in traffic at 16:35. McKeever came from behind the cage for a goal at 14:43 for a 9-3 advantage.

Ferguson assisted on goals by Beck and Hailey Durkin with Beck’s second strike making it 9-6 with 2:59 left.

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