WEST GROVE — Archbishop Carroll inched within a victory of its third state girls lacrosse championship with an 8-4 triumph over Bishop Shanahan Tuesday in the PIAA Class 2A semifinals.
Emma Talago, Machaela Henry and Catie McConaghy scored two goals apiece for the defending state champ, who pulled the Eagles out of their infamous zone defense to tally six straight goals in the first half, then played keep-away the final four minutes at Avon Grove High.
The Patriots managed to do that largely because Henry won seven of 11 draw controls to maintain possession. So dominant was Henry that the Eagles tried matching her up in the circle with All-American defender Paris Masaracchia.
“We had someone come in and help us,” Henry said of the draw controls. “So now we do that every day, we practice the same motions. What am I thinking? I need to get it. We need to get it so we can keep the ball and we can keep possession. As long as we keep possession, we’ve got control of the game.”
Eleven minutes elapsed before Henry tallied the first goal of the game on one of two assists from Henry.
McConaghy and Talago got their goals and just like that it was 6-0 with 5:54 left in the first half.
Eagles coach Kacy Small felt it better to go with a man-to-man defense when his team was down 4-0. Ellie Udo got the Eagles on the board with a 3:52 left in the first half, cutting the Carroll lead to 6-1 at the intermission.
“I think we were just trying to settle down,” Patriots coach Lorraine Beers said. “They were well prepared. They have a nice defense. They play a zone, and it just takes time to see the openings. You have to be really disciplined and patient. So, we did that, got some goals and then we started falling apart again because we were like jamming some stuff in there and getting crazy. They’re high school kids. They get way up and then you have to kind of calm them down.”
Shanahan scored the first goal of the second half, Silvia Baptista sliding the Carroll lead to 6-2. But Henry answered three minutes later and the Eagles were a bit more out of sorts when Masaracchia got a yellow card and a two-minute penalty.
The Eagles gathered themselves, getting within 7-4 on a goal by Caitlyn Hubiak with 6:44 to go. But Chloe Bleckley drew a free position and buried it to produce the final score.
“We definitely tried to make some adjustments but at the end we went back to what we knew, what’s been working all season,” Masaracchia said. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t pull it out this game. It’s definitely hard for this to be over because this team’s like my family. We won a few championships, we pushed through all season. It didn’t end the way the way we wanted it to, but we played hard to the end.”