Cambridge’s strong defense ends Panthers’ season for second consecutive year

A+Panther+player+trying+to+score+is+knocked+down+by+a+Cambridge+Bear+defender.+The+Bears+played+physical+defense+throughout+the+game+and+would+not+let+the+Panthers+attack+the+goal.+Despite+the+Bears%E2%80%99+tough+defense%2C+the+Panthers+put+up+seven+goals.+However%2C+it+wasn%E2%80%99t+enough+and+Starr%E2%80%99s+Mill+boys%E2%80%99+lacrosse+season+ended+in+an+11-7+loss.
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Cambridge’s strong defense ends Panthers’ season for second consecutive year

A Panther player trying to score is knocked down by a Cambridge Bear defender. The Bears played physical defense throughout the game and would not let the Panthers attack the goal. Despite the Bears’ tough defense, the Panthers put up seven goals. However, it wasn’t enough and Starr’s Mill boys’ lacrosse season ended in an 11-7 loss.

A Panther player trying to score is knocked down by a Cambridge Bear defender. The Bears played physical defense throughout the game and would not let the Panthers attack the goal. Despite the Bears’ tough defense, the Panthers put up seven goals. However, it wasn’t enough and Starr’s Mill boys’ lacrosse season ended in an 11-7 loss.

Aelise Gagliano

A Panther player trying to score is knocked down by a Cambridge Bear defender. The Bears played physical defense throughout the game and would not let the Panthers attack the goal. Despite the Bears’ tough defense, the Panthers put up seven goals. However, it wasn’t enough and Starr’s Mill boys’ lacrosse season ended in an 11-7 loss.

Aelise Gagliano

Aelise Gagliano

A Panther player trying to score is knocked down by a Cambridge Bear defender. The Bears played physical defense throughout the game and would not let the Panthers attack the goal. Despite the Bears’ tough defense, the Panthers put up seven goals. However, it wasn’t enough and Starr’s Mill boys’ lacrosse season ended in an 11-7 loss.

Rilee Stapleton, Staff writer

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For the second year in a row, the Panthers’ lacrosse team faced the Cambridge Bears in the state playoffs, and for the second year, the Bears ended Starr’s Mill’s season.  

The Panthers hoped to avenge last year’s 10-4 loss in the second round of the playoffs, but fell 11-7 in this year’s first round match-up. The Bears’ physical defense created havoc for the Panthers’ offense, ending what was a school record-setting season.

A Cambridge defender chases a Starr’s Mill attacker as he heads toward the goal. The Panthers maintained long possessions, but most resulted in turnovers or missed shots due to the Bears’ defense. “They’re very disciplined,” Schmidlkofer said. “You could tell, there was a big difference.”

Aelise Gagliano
A Cambridge defender chases a Starr’s Mill attacker as he heads toward the goal. The Panthers maintained long possessions, but most resulted in turnovers or missed shots due to the Bears’ defense. “They’re very disciplined,” Schmidlkofer said. “You could tell, there was a big difference.”

“They’re a good team, and we didn’t play to our potential,” senior goalie Drew Van De Motter said, who sat out the first quarter due to team rule violations. “Ultimately, they beat us fair and square.”

The Panthers took the lead within the first minute of the game when junior Evan Torres scored.  The team maintained possession and ran the clock, but once the Bears got the ball, they evened the score at 1-1 with 7:09 left in the first.

For the next four minutes, the Bears played physical defense and didn’t let the Panthers penetrate the offensive zone or attack the goal. Finally, the scoring drought ended when senior Brayden Jenks launched a shot past the Bear goalie.  However, Cambridge responded quickly, and after one quarter, the score sat at 2-2.

“They worked hard for me in that first quarter,” Van De Motter said. “Thankfully, when I came in the score was even.”

To start the second quarter, the Bears’ offense was relentless and rattled off three goals in the first four minutes of the quarter.

With a 5-2 deficit, the Panthers had a lot of ground to cover but they continued to struggle on offense. The Panthers could only manage to score once before half, when senior Chris Falcone put the ball in the net. The Panthers found themselves trailing 5-3 at half.

They had an eight minute run where we just got behind.”

— Coach Jeff Schmidlkofer

“They have a really good goalie,” coach Jeff Schmidlkofer said. “We [needed] to step our game up.”

Cambridge scored within the first 30 seconds of the second half, and after the score, the Panthers switched gears and started to get things going on offense. The Panthers scored once to cut the deficit to 6-4, but gave up a goal on defense. But the Panthers responded with two of their own, both scores by Torres, and pulled the game to 7-6.

The Bears scored with 10 seconds left in third, and scored three more to start the fourth. The Panthers had seven minutes to overcome the 11-6 deficit. However, they could only manage one more goal by Falcone and fell to the Bears 11-7.

“They are a very good team,” Schmidlkofer said. “They had an eight minute run where we just got behind.”

The Panthers final record was 17-2 with their only losses coming to Lovett and Cambridge. The season included a 16-game win streak in the last 16 regular season games.

“I was very pleased with the season.” said Schmidlkofer, “We improved [a lot] from last year to this year.”