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April 8, 2011

Panthers sneak past girls' lacrosse

by Melodi Anahtar, Editor-in-Chief
BLAZER STADIUM, April 6 -

The girls' varsity lacrosse team (2-3) lost to the Paint Branch Panthers (2-3) in a tight game by a final score of 9-8. Despite the team's quality goalkeeping and perceptive defense, the Panthers were able to outplay the Blazers to snag the win.

The Panthers took hold of the game from the start, scoring the first goal within the first 30 seconds. Yet the Lady Blazers scored and remained ahead by one goal until the last two minutes of the first half, when Paint Branch tied the game back up. The Panthers would have gotten another goal, but the referee called it back.

The start of the second half signaled a more aggressive atmosphere filled with many fouls and clusters of players picking at ground balls. Both teams were plagued by the large number of ground balls after draws throughout the game. These squabbles to gain possession resulted in a number of messy turnovers. By the middle of the second half, the Panthers were able to create a two-goal lead that sustained them for the rest of the match, despite two clutch shots that the Blazers scored while playing a man down in the game's final minutes.

Senior captain Tessa Mork saw today as one of the team's weaker games and contributes the loss to their lack of energy. "I think we just came out flat and we didn't have any fire, so that's the reason why we lost," she said. "We started out the game really slowly, with no communication."

One of the Panthers' major strengths was their ability to get the ball down the field. A number of players were very fast and were able to race down the turf quickly until they encountered Blair's defense. The Blazers tried to combat this speed with strategy by enhancing their positioning based on predictions of the Panthers' next moves. "[We used] smarter positioning, anticipating where they wanted to go and getting there first," Horne said.

Goalkeeper Laura Gagliardo bolstered the Blair defense, blocking many difficult shots throughout the game. Gagliardo credits her success to the relaxed mentality she keeps while on the field. "For me what works best is not thinking about it too much," she said. Despite the fact that the Blazers were down for most of the second half, Gagliardo did not see the pressure of being behind as a major hindrance. "[There is pressure] in a sense, but at the same time you can't go backwards," she said "You can't dwell on missing a shot."

Instead of focusing on their loss, the team is anticipating their next game against the undefeated Walter Johnson squad. The girls value their difficult matches and are eager to win, according to Horne. "These [games] are an opportunity that we look forward to," he said. Before the match, the girls will work on picking up ground balls and having a strong start to get the most out of the game. "We need to play a full 50 minutes," Horne said.

The varsity girls' lacrosse team will play their next home game on Thursday, April 14 against Richard Montgomery at 7 p.m.



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