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Wissahickon makes the right play, tops Souderton in OT

LOWER GWYNEDD >> It was all in the eyes.

Lining up for an eight-meter restart with 2:21 left in overtime, Wissahickon senior Sam Intrieri locked eyes with sophomore Sophia Chiodo Ortiz positioned behind Souderton’s net. If Wiss scored, it was going to win and it seemed like the perfect opportunity for the Towson-bound Intrieri to be the hero.

Instead, she gave up the ball and Ortiz put it away as her goal lifted the Trojans to a 17-16 in an SOL American girls lacrosse thriller Monday evening.

“We made eye contact, we had the eyes,” Ortiz said. “Sam and I have a good connection on the field and chemistry where if we make eye contact, I know the ball is going to come to me. I know where to go and what to do.

“It was her or me, so I had to be ready and even if she decided to take it, be there for the rebound.”

Monday’s game did little to dispel the notion that lacrosse is a game of momentum. The host Trojans started slow, falling behind 4-0 and later 6-2 in the first eight minutes of play with a lack of factors including a lack of communication and not enough ball movement playing into it.

After Souderton (3-4, 1-1 SOL American) took a 7-3 lead when senior Riley McGowan powered in her fourth goal of the first half with 12:44 left in the frame, Wissahickon (5-0, 1-0 SOL American) woke up. From the 10:02 mark of the first half until the horn, Wissahickon went on a 6-0 run powered by four scores from Intrieri to take a 10-7 lead to the break.

The Indians got the first goal of the second half, but Wiss answered with a 5-0 run powered by three goals from Ortiz to take its largest lead at 15-8 with 16:11 left in regulation.

“Possession was such a big part of this, we had a part of the game where we broke down defensively and that made it really tough,” Souderton coach Nancy Offner said. “The girls stuck it out, came back and tied it up.”

Wissahickon didn’t assist every goal it scored, but the ball moved well anyway after the first 10 or so minutes. As Ortiz noted, passing the ball up the field gets it there faster than running it the whole way and the Trojans used some really good transition passes to set up scoring chances.

During the five-goal spree in the second half, Wiss got two off quick passes following caused turnovers, another on a restart following a turnover and a fourth on a restart after a foul.

“We needed to have faith in our teammates,” Ortiz, who led Wiss with seven goals, said. “We had to relax, the ball’s going to go where it’s going to go, so we just had to go with it.”

“We made some adjustments and once we started to win the draw, we started to put goal after goal in the net,” Intrieri said.

After Kelly Dickson put the Trojans up seven, Kylie Norbeck started Souderton’s comeback when scored off a long solo run that traversed about three-quarters of the field. Souderton added two more goals, both from Sophia Sclafani, to get within four at 15-11 with 12:21 left.

Intrieri scored a goal, her fifth of the game, with 9:44 left to temporarily stop the bleeding but she soon had to exit the game due to actual bleeding. The senior took a stick to the head, opening a cut on her forehead with 9:36 left that had the senior sidelined for about six minutes of game action.

Souderton took advantage.

“Any time you score a goal, you get the momentum in your favor,” Offner said. “They felt the pressure of the time left, worked hard and pushed through it.”

McGowan and Randi Hess scored in that interim, cutting the Wiss lead to 16-13 with 3:43 left. At that point and cleared by the trainer, Intrieri made her way back in.

“I was sitting on the cart and my dad (Wiss coach Rob Intrieri), he over-reacts to everything and said I needed stitches and when I held my hand to my head it was all red,” Intrieri, wearing a bandage on her left temple, said. “Our trainer Rooney put ice on my head for about five seconds and said ‘you want to go back in?’ I said ‘yeah, I guess they need me, just put a band-aid on it and let’s go.’”

A yellow card to Wissahickon’s defense with 2:24 left gave the Indians another window, which Caroline Kelly and McGowan used to slip in for a goal each and whittled the lead down to one with 1:05 left. The Trojans turned the ball over with 42 seconds on the clock, allowing Souderton to run an offense that ended with Hess drawing an eight-meter.

The midfielder took this one herself and buried it with 10 seconds left to knot things up.

“You don’t give up and you keep pushing through,” Offner said. “It was an excellent game and against an excellent team and we have to move forward from it.”

Both Intrieri and Ortiz gave props to their defensive unit and freshman goalie Madeline Murphy, which made some big plays late to keep Souderton from finding more goals during its comeback.

Winning draw controls had been huge for Wissahickon throughout regulation and it was fitting that the Trojans won the only draw in extra time. Emma Baker, who battled in the circle throughout, helped Wissahickon win the OT draw before Intrieri set up the deciding restart.

“We knew we needed to get the draw right off the bat,” Intrieri said. “Our one goal was to score a goal because it was a sudden-death victory.”

Intrieri set up on the right side of the eight-meter line and on the whistle, she fired a dart to Ortiz waiting uncovered on the opposite post. The sophomore sliced in and went low, bouncing a shot through the goalie’s legs for the winner.

“We talk about it all the time in practice that it’s not about the goal, it’s about making the right play,” Intrieri said. “It’s all about being a smart lacrosse player. Stats aren’t everything in the game and we like to play and win as a team, so an assist is just as good as a goal.”

McGowan finished with six goals to lead Souderton while Sclafani had four goals and Hess scored three while senior goalie Lauren Scott made 15 saves.

Ortiz added an assist to her seven tallies, Intrieri finished with five markers and that pivotal assist and Dickson contributed two goals and two assists. Monday’s win was the third straight one-goal victory for the Trojans, which Intrieri contributed to playing as a team and not a group of talented individuals.

“You have to keep composure no matter what’s happening,” Ortiz said. “You just have to be confident, know your moves, trust yourself and trust your skills and just let it all happen naturally.”

WISSAHICKON 10 6 1 – 17
SOUDERTON 7 9 0 – 16
Goals-Assists: W – Sophia Chiodo Ortiz 7-1, Sam Intrieri 5-1, Kelly Dickson 2-2, Quinn Gaffey 2-1, Abby DeGroat 1-0, Brooke Berry 0-1, Lexi Hobson 0-1; S – Riley McGowan 6-0, Sophia Sclafani 4-0, Randi Hess 3-1, Caroline Kelly 1-0, Kylie Norbeck 1-1, Lauren Kenah 1-1, Clark Trowbridge 0-2.
Shots: W – 32, S – 25. Saves: W – Madeline Murphy 9, S – Lauren Scott 15.

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