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Abington pulls away in 2nd half to beat Souderton

ABINGTON >> With 12 players competing for eight hours at National Tournament tryouts the day before and facing Souderton on a warm and sunny Monday afternoon, the energy level was not exactly at its peak for the Abington girls lacrosse team.

The Ghosts, however, will never be low on fight.

“We really have this grit in us. Even if we’re down by three goals, whatever, we know that we can win a game,” Abington junior Casey McCallister said. “We have the confidence. We have a lot of talent on this team, so I think we can do a lot.”

Such as win on a day when the Ghosts are not at their best. After a tight, back-and-fourth first half with the visiting Indians, Abington took the lead for good just before halftime and held Souderton to just two goals in the final 25 minutes to pull away for a 14-9 Suburban One League non-conference victory.

“They battled and it wasn’t a pretty game. It was ugly. We’re still looking to hit our stride, certainly, but that’s one of our best characteristics this year, I think, is that we battle,” Abington coach Amanda Kammes said. “We don’t give up even when it’s ugly and we’re turning it over or someone’s having a bad shooting game or whatnot, we stick together and deal with the storm, we weather the storm. That’s kind of what we did today.”

Junior Sam McGee — who has verballed to Saint Joseph’s — finished with three goals and three assists while McCallister, a Lehigh commit, also added a hat trick as Abington (8-1, 3-0 SOL American) scored the final four goals to claim their fourth consecutive victory in a matchup of SOL conference leaders.

“I think it’s happened a couple times this year. We started off slow and then in the second half we get that grit and that fight,” McCallister said. “We push it in the second half and realize ‘Oh, we need to win this game.’ And it think that really showed in this game. We realized ‘Oh, we could win this game. We got this.’”

Souderton (3-4, 3-0 SOL National) led by two goals twice in the first half and was up 7-6 with 1:50 before halftime, but Jules Greco scored twice in a 41-second span to put Abington up 8-7 at the break.

“We had momentum in our favor in the first half, it’s a shame we couldn’t hold onto it and string some better consecutive minutes together,” Souderton coach Lindsay Walbrandt said. “They did some beautiful things, they really did, we just got to play 50 minutes of Souderton lacrosse, our game and not individual play. And with these couple minutes in between of silly mistakes and turnovers.”

Down 10-7, the Indians rallied to within a goal on Riley McGowan’s goal off a Kate Mardi assist with 12:21 left. But the Ghosts clamped down on Big Red and began to extend its lead while also burning the clock.

“We didn’t play with discipline. We played sloppy,” Walbrandt said. “We just played slow and a little down.”

Krista Schneider, Megan Walbrandt and Sarah Goodwin each had three goals to pace Souderton. Leah Goodwin had a pair of assists.

Greco, Cathy Staerk and Mikki Raymond all scored twice for Abington, The Ghosts are back in SOL American play Wednesday hosting Norristown at 3:30 p.m.

“Certainly by no means are we playing the best lacrosse right now, but when we need to we’re disciplined, we stick to our game plan and we get the job done,” said Kammes, in her first season as Abington’s coach. “So, these guys have been great in welcoming me. We operate as a family and I think that’s going to carry us going into districts hopefully.”

Souderton is back on the field Tuesday for the second of four games this week — the first four on the road — as the Indians visit Council Rock North in a SOL National matchup at 3:30 p.m.

Raymond slalomed through the Souderton defense to put the Ghosts ahead 9-7 five minutes after halftime while McGee struck on a free-position shot for a three-goal advantage at 14:35.

Souderton made a push midway through second half as Walbrandt scored a free-position shot while from behind the net Kate Mardi found McGowan for a goal at 12:21, pulling the Indians within 10-9. But from there, Abington’s defense around the field kept Souderton from many scoring opportunities, while the Ghosts put away the game with three goals — two by McGee, including her third at 9:13 to make it 13-9.

“We started re-defending, our attackers started getting involved in the ride,” Kammes said. “Anytime our attackers have been involved in the ride, things have been pretty good for us between the 30s.”

Raymond added one more with three seconds left for the final five-goal margin.

Goals by Schneider and Megan Walbrandt had Souderton up 2-0 at 22:45 in the first half before Abington answered with two straight to tie things at 19:32. The Indians again took a two-goal lead when Sarah Goodwin and Carlie Doughty found the back of the net to put Big Red up 5-3 at 12:09. But the Ghosts once again scored twice to even the game 5-5 with 4:46 left in the half.

Souderton led bye one twice more — the final time on Schneider’s second tally before Greco made it 7-7 at 1:22 then scored again at 41 seconds as the Ghosts went into intermission leading 8-7.

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