West Chester >> The Downingtown West girls’ lacrosse squad improved to 4-0 after a powerful second-half charge gave the Whippets an 18-6 win at West Chester Henderson Thursday evening.
The host Warriors (3-3) hung close to the Whippets in the first half – the visitors held a slender 6-4 lead at halftime.
But an 11-0 run by Downingtown West during a 19-minute stretch in the second half wrapped up the Whippets’ convincing victory.
“I think the key for us in the second half was cleaning up our turnovers,” said D-West head coach Brittney Conzentino. “We had six turnovers midway through the first half – unforced errors, way too many. It was nice to see our players come back from that, because I know they were frustrated early in the game. The second half was when we really turned it around.
“This was a good win for us – being 4-0 is great. We have a couple of tough teams coming up, so I’m really hoping our girls can take some stuff from today, especially the first half, learn from it and take it into next week.”
Henderson got off to a fast start Thursday with a couple of goals from junior attack Delaney Turner to take a 2-0 lead just 1:19 into the contest.
D-West answered with a 6-0 run during the next 19 minutes, getting two goals each from senior midfielders Bryn Rochon and Aliza Thir, and one goal each from junior midfielders Lauren Tinson and Maddie Greco.
Henderson, trailing 6-2 with 4 ½ minutes before halftime, struck back quickly, getting a goal from sophomore attack Rylee Bauer, then winning the ensuing draw control and getting a score from junior midfielder Grace DePrisco to cut the visitors’ lead to 6-4.
Four minutes into the second half, Henderson sophomore midfielder Hanna Laudermilch scored to keep the Warriors within striking range at 7-5, then D-West began its 11-0 run with a couple of quick goals from Rochon and senior attack Chloe Morgan after the visitors won back-to-back draw controls.
The Whippets did well on the draw control in the second half Thursday.
“Lauren Tinson does well for us on the draw control, and we have some speedy girls up front, which always helps,” said Conzentino.
A couple of minutes later, Rochon retrieved a loose ball at midfield and scored after a long run – it was the University of Delaware-bound senior’s fifth goal of the night – to put the Whippets ahead 11-5.
“Bryn is one speed, and that’s fast,” said Conzentino with a laugh. “She had a nice game tonight, and she’s going to have a great season ahead of her.”
With 14:22 left in the game, Lainey Straub scored to give D-West a 12-5 lead. The sophomore midfielder also assisted on several goals Thursday night.
“Lainey did an awesome job tonight,” said Conzentino. “She wasn’t able to play as a freshman, of course, because of the COVID, so I was very happy to see her have her first breakout game [for D-West] tonight.”
Following a second goal by Greco, and a couple more tallies by Thir, the Whippets held a 15-5 lead with 7:59 to play. The Bucknell-bound Thir finished the night with four goals.
“Aliza’s our workhorse; she’s all over the place,” said Conzentino. “She’ll do everything and anything you ask her to, and she’s a great player all around. Maddie does a great job for us on the draw, settling down the attack and making smart decisions.”
A couple of goals two minutes apart by D-West sophomore midfielder Ashley Plzak gave the visitors a 17-5 lead with 3:51 to play.
“Downingtown West is a very skilled team,” said West Chester Henderson head coach Lauren Mullen. “I though they did a really nice job of handling the ball, and passing, and their shot selection was good. We did a nice job in the first half with the draw control, but they kept getting that ball [on the draw control] in the second half and kept scoring.
“I think we did a nice job defensively; we’ve been working really hard [in practice] on sliding and 1v1 defense. Both [D-West] goalies did a nice job; we need to give ourselves more opportunities to shoot.
“Delaney [Turner] had some nice shots for us, even though she’s an attack, she sort of acts as a middie for us as well. And we had some good [offense] from a couple of sophomores [Laudermilch and Bauer]. Defensively, [senior midfielder] Julia Bixler is the one who’s running all over the field for us – she causes a lot of destruction defensively and does a nice job for us.”
Downingtown West 18, West Chester Henderson 6
Downingtown West 6 12 – 18
WC Henderson 4 2 – 6
Downingtown West goals: Rochon 5, Thir 4, Greco 2, Tinson 2, Plzak 2, Morgan, Straub, Walter.
West Chester Henderson goals: Turner 3, DePrisco, Laudermilch, Bauer.
Goalie saves: DW – Long 2, Strauss 4. WCH – Cantor 2.