POTOMAC – In a 17-4 rout on April 22, St. Andrews Episcopal High School defeating Sandy Spring Friends School in girls’ lacrosse at home was a battle between a younger team and a more-experienced squad.
Six seniors on St. Andrews’ squad gave the Lions the needed leadership and experience that showed itself on the field to complete the passing plays and attacking formation that were missing in the Sandy Spring squad. A lone senior, midfielder Jane Angell Mikkelson, was on Sandy Springs’ squad: Mikkelson scored once.
St. Andrews was so dominant that Head Coach Kelly McGuire opted to switch player positions in an attempt to give everyone a shot at goal.
“I tried to get some girls who didn’t have that scoring opportunity, to have that scoring opportunity that they did today. They worked together as a team, which is great,” said McGuire.
The first two goals were a harbinger of what was to come: senior midfielder Julia Losey made the first goal within seconds of the starting whistle, and senior midfielder Sophie Barnello followed up seconds later with another goal. The first two goals were made in the first minute. St. Andrews players would score within a minute on two other occasions.
The Lions went on a six-point streak to start off the first half, a streak that would be broken a little under eight minutes into the game by sophomore attacker Jensen Clouse.
Although Sandy Springs’ effort did not end in a win, Clouse completed a hat trick with her three goals and forced St. Andrews to shift more defensively when she had possession.
“We’re a young team, so I tell them to control what we can control. Number 12, Jensen, she’s a very aggressive player, so we like to give her opportunities when we can. The other girls just have to communicate, keep fighting, control what we can control,” said Sandy Spring Head Coach Amanda Hill.
Clouse’s goal was a break on what was previously St. Andrews’ monopoly of possession. It was the first time that Sandy Spring spent considerable time in St. Andrews’ half of the field, a move that surprised a defense that was dependent on the offense’s dominance upfield.
The goal also lit a spark in Sandy Spring, who played the remainder of the game with a tighter, more-active defense. St. Andrews, who would not have a higher streak of scoring, was kept to four points for the remaining 14 minutes of the first half, and seven total points in the second half.
“I think by staying positive throughout the whole game, and not letting our heads down even when they scored, helped a lot,” said Barnello.
While St. Andrews’ offense put up enough numbers to ease up defensively, Sandy Spring’s turnovers hindered their efforts to do the same. Interceptions abounded as well, turning a potential morale-shifting attacking play from Sandy Spring into an opportunity for St. Andrews.
The first half ended with St. Andrews up by eight goals, with Clouse the sole scorer for Sandy Spring with two points so far. Barnello completed a hat trick in the first half and ended the game with five points, while many of her teammates were close to doing so as well: sophomore attacker Caroline Olin and Losey completed their hat tricks in the second half, both ending the game with four goals.
The second half saw Sandy Spring start scoring with a shot by Mikkelson, and the team shifted to a more offensively based style of play as they elected to pass before finding gaps and charging at goal. St. Andrews once again shifted to be more defensive, but this risky style of play by Sandy Spring opened up their defense. St. Andrews players such as Olin took advantage of this and sped through after recovering possession, forcing the Sandy Spring defense to scramble.
While Clouse managed to score one more goal to bring her team to four goals and her total to three, seven goals by St. Andrews in the second half sealed the victory for the home team. This is the second win of the season for St. Andrews in a campaign plagued with close losses.
“The rest of the season we’ve been trying really hard but haven’t been able to pull through with some of our games, even though the fight was still there,” said Olin. “But today we came together as a team and brought home the W (win).”