Lady Panther lacrosse builds on historic year

Senior+Caroline+Broderick+fends+off+a+Wesleyan+defender.+The+Lady+Panthers+advanced+to+the+Final+Four+of+the+state+tournament+where+they%E2%80%99ll+play+Westminster.+The+Wildcats+eliminated+Starr%E2%80%99s+Mill+in+the+Final+Four+two+years+ago%2C+but+the+Lady+Panthers+are+seeking+revenge.

Shelby Foster

Senior Caroline Broderick fends off a Wesleyan defender. The Lady Panthers advanced to the Final Four of the state tournament where they’ll play Westminster. The Wildcats eliminated Starr’s Mill in the Final Four two years ago, but the Lady Panthers are seeking revenge.

Rilee Stapleton, Editor-in-Chief

With summer right around the corner, most students at Starr’s Mill are looking forward to beach vacations and and their fair share of ice cream. There are a few students, however, that still have business to take care of before the year is over. That includes the Lady Panther lacrosse team, who recently clinched their second Final Four appearance in three years. The win built upon the most successful year in athletics in Starr’s Mill history.

[T]he Lady Panthers hurried to ring the victory bell in Panther Stadium, declaring their berth in the Final Four.”

— Editor-in-Chief Rilee Stapleton

“It was a total team effort,” head coach Mary Lehman said. “I’m very excited for these girls.”

The girls lacrosse team defeated Wesleyan 16-6 to advance to the state semifinals. Sophomore Ryanne King led the Lady Panthers with four goals and three assists. Senior Alexis Coullias added three goals of her own, while junior Caroline Andrews tacked on another three goals and two assists.

Sophomore Welch Whitaker scored two girls for the Lady Wolves, who struggled to find the net on offense. The goalie for Wesleyan saved many shots, but the defense allowed too many easy looks for Starr’s Mill.

“We moved the ball really well and we worked as a team,” King said. “Everyone played great.”

Starr’s Mill dominated from the first face-off to the final whistle. The Lady Panthers jumped out to a 5-0 lead over the first 13 minutes of the game. King scored three during the stretch, while Andrews scored the other two. Senior Olivia Lavalle scored the first goal for Wesleyan with 10:47 left in the first half.

Junior Chloe Hangartner followed up the Lady Wolves’ first score with a goal of her own, trimming the Panthers’ lead to 5-2. Starr’s Mill, however, responded with goals from Coullias, Andrews, and seniors Elizabeth Holley and Caroline Broderick. The 4-0 run over the seven minute span pushed the Lady Panther lead to 9-2. Both teams traded goals before half, and Starr’s Mill led 10-3 at the intermission.

Shelby Foster
Freshman Jacqueline Broderick speeds past a Lady Wolves defender. A balanced offensive strategy played a key role in the team’s Elite 8 victory, with eight different players combining for 16 goals.

“When we scored the fifth goal without them scoring, I had a good feeling,” Lehman said. “The girls were taking care of the ball.”

The Panthers picked up in the second half where they left off in the first by immediately scoring and jumping out to an 11-3 lead. Whitaker answered with a goal of her own for Wesleyan, but Coullias responded with two more strikes for Starr’s Mill. Leading 13-4, the Lady Panthers slowed the game and chewed clock.

Whitaker scored one of the final two goals for Wesleyan while freshman Jess DeLuca, sophomore Jordyn Richards, and King scored the final three for Starr’s Mill. After the final buzzer sounded, the Lady Panthers hurried to ring the victory bell in Panther Stadium, declaring their berth in the Final Four.

“Our defense played really well,” Coullias said. “We never gave up and we never let up.”

The Lady Panthers will take on Westminster, the team that eliminated them from the semifinals two years ago, in the Final Four of the state tournament. The Lady Wildcats are 10-9-1 this year, but look to upset Starr’s Mill on the road. The two teams will face off at 6:30 p.m. on May 15 in Panther Stadium.

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