Pine-Richland girls lacrosse leans on consistent defense, balanced attack

Sunday, May 9, 2021 | 11:01 AM

Members of the Pine-Richland girls lacrosse team knew they had built something special during a seven-game winning streak in April and they wanted to prove it in their much anticipated showdown with Fox Chapel on May 4.

The Rams got everything they bargained for in an 8-7 victory that reaffirmed their confidence that they can play with anybody.

It was a tight game throughout and the Foxes tied the game late before the Rams emerged victorious.

It was the type of poise Rams coach Brittany Adams wanted to see in a heightened environment.

“The excitement and competitiveness we saw (against Fox Chapel) will only make our team better prepared for playoffs,” Adams said. “Playoff games should be close games, and I think that the feeling of pressure, in a good way, we felt in that game helps us. It was nice to have that back-and-forth type of game and for us to stay composed when we were down, or took the lead. We saw how the girls react and respond to those types of situations.”

The Rams were without standout goalie Zoe Katres in the win over the Foxes, and freshman Rachel Jones stepped in putting forth a strong performance. She made a key save late that preserved the lead.

Having players step in when their number is called has been a theme all season. Katelyn Terchick, Natalie Yurek, Abby Turner and Mary Dziubek have been consistent performers on a defense that’s yielded four goals or less four times, including a 12-0 shutout of Freeport.

Offensive production has been spread out with 12 players registering at least one goal for an attack led by Caroline Gentile, Haley Albrecht and Mia Petzuk.

Eight players have recorded assists.

“We have 13 seniors, which is a great position to be in with all of them being close-knit and talented, but we also have 10 underclassmen that have positively contributed all season,” Adams said. “We keep harping that it’s a team sport and it takes a team effort. We know we’re going to have errors, but that’s when someone else is in a position to step up and shine and be ready to contribute in their role on or off the field. We weren’t sure at the beginning what our group looked like. We’re not surprised with what we’ve seen, but we’re really happy with the growth we’ve had.”

Pine-Richland dropped three consecutive games to begin the season to Shady Side Academy, Mt. Lebanon and Sewickley Academy, but reeled off wins against Seneca Valley, Shaler, Hampton, Butler, North Hills, Moon and Freeport prior to the Fox Chapel win.

Adams said it took a little time to mesh with the 2020 season being canceled and getting a late start to training in the spring, but those moments have led to her team being battle-tested.

“It’s been good for us that we’ve been in a lot of different positions,” Adams said. “We’ve been up. We’ve been down. We’ve come back in games. We’ve made errors and not let that hurt us too much. We’ve composed ourselves and possessed the ball in the right moments and not forced things.”

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer


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