Wyoming Area Edges Scranton Prep
WYOMING — With his team clinging to a one-goal lead in Tuesday’s District 2 Class 2A girls lacrosse semifinal, Wyoming Area head coach Carl DeLuca called timeout with 39 seconds left.
He gave his team one instruction: Control the ball.
“We were getting too anxious and too nervous, getting rid of the ball too quick and losing it,” DeLuca said. “I wanted to keep winning the ground balls and control the ball when we got down there. We knew they were going to double us, and we wanted to get the ball in the right hands.”
The Warriors did, as Cassidy Orzel and Makenzie Switzer combined to run out the clock in a tense 8-7 win over visiting Scranton Prep at 10th St. Elementary Field. Wyoming Area will face Wyoming Seminary in the district championship on Friday.
Prep held Wyoming Area scoreless for the final 13:59, but ultimately let too many offensive chances go to waste to overcome a three-goal deficit. Leila Scanlan missed on a free-position attempt, and the Classics frequently had trouble finding open space inside the 8-meter arc. They also hit the post twice in the first half.
With Prep down two with just over three minutes remaining, Kerry McGrath had two open looks at the net denied by goalkeeper Mary Kate O’Brien. The latter made seven saves total.
“Their goalie was a difference-maker for them,” Prep head coach Doug Knieser said. “Credit to her, she made some big saves on us. We had some opportunities that she made the play for them.”
The Warriors started slow offensively and turned the ball over on a number of their transition passes, falling behind 3-1. However, Caitie McDonough scored on a free position attempt and Orzel added a goal off a nice dodge to the left of the cage. Sydney Maguire scored with 2:17 left in the first half, and Wyoming Area never surrendered the lead after that.
In addition to scoring twice, Orzel helped immensely with her performance in the circle. She was credited with eight draw controls and allowed Wyoming Area to control time of possession for the early part of the second half.
“Sometimes the game does rely on me (on draws), and it freaks me out a little bit,” said Orzel, a junior. “But, also, the girls on the circle with me, I really rely on them too, and they’re a huge part of it. I just try not to freak out, try to calm them down and they help me calm down.”
Emma Kelleher and Switzer both scored twice for Wyoming Area. Friday’s game will mark the Warriors’ first appearance in the District 2 championship round.
Christina DeNaples led all scorers with three of Prep’s goals, and McGrath had a pair. Goalkeeper Aiden Sekely also made a couple of key saves that kept the Classics in contention through the final minute.
Despite the loss, Knieser took a lot of positives away from the season, including the development of midfielders DeNaples, Katie Malone and Elisa Kopicki.
“Now it stings but, when you look at the entirety of our season, I think this was a major step forward for our program,” he said. “Our team defense was a strength for us. Our kids battled hard on defense and made it difficult for other teams.”
SCRANTON PREP SCORING: Goals — Christina DeNaples 3; Kerry McGrath 2; Katie Malone. Assists — Lillian Boles. SCRANTON PREP SAVES: Aiden Sekely 6.
WYOMING AREA SCORING: Goals — Cassidy Orzel 2; Emma Kelleher 2; Makenzie Switzer 2; Caitie McDonough; Sydney Maguire. Assists — Switzer. WYOMING AREA SAVES: Mary Kate O’Brien.
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