Quaker Valley lacrosse teams lose in WPIAL semifinals
By: Shawn Annarelli
Friday, May 24, 2019 | 7:01 PM
Quaker Valley’s lacrosse teams experienced deja vu Monday.
The Quakers’ quests for WPIAL Class AA championships were crushed by Hampton, the fourth consecutive year each team has made it to at least the WPIAL semifinals only to fall short of a title. The girls last won a WPIAL championship in 2015 and the boys in ’14.
The boys’ loss could be chalked up to a slow start that saw Hampton jump to a 4-0 lead in the first quarter, and the girls faded at the end of regulation to allow a Talbots comeback and final-second score for a one-goal loss.
Boys coach Chip Hansen said injuries to key players such as Brennan Dugan and Cameron Wolf played a factor.
The Quakers also dealt with injuries to starters Evan Frund and Smith Johnson, who had limited playing time in their first game back in the quarterfinals.
“One of the challenges we’ve had all season is we never played this season with a full roster, and we’ve always had at least one or two key players out,” Hansen said. “All season long, the kids stepped up and showed that it’s not about one or two kids but everybody who had to be resilient despite setbacks.”
The boys team settled in during the second quarter and outscored Hampton, 6-5, until the final horn. Their gritty effort wasn’t enough to overcome the early deficit, and the team lost 9-6.
Quaker Valley survived to play Freeport in a consolation game with a trip to the PIAA tournament at stake.
“We took Tuesday off to step away and decompress, and everyone got back to practice Wednesday really fired up and ready to go,” Hansen said. “We had two goals, which were to win the WPIAL championship and the second was to win two state playoff games. That’s what we’re after now.”
The girls came undone in the final minutes, in part because of a penalty that sparked a Hampton rally.
“It really could have gone either way the entire game,” girls coach Kristin Semones said. “We thought we could run away with it. That made it heart-wrenching to lose to Hampton. They’re well-coached and extremely athletic and fast, a really evenly matched team.”
Senior Katherine Blaugrund scored four goals to the lead the Quakers, followed by freshmen Chase Kriebel and Ruby Hale, who combined for five goals.
The 12-11 loss was difficult for senior captain Abbey McClay because the senior-heavy team felt it could win a title.
“We were unselfish and developed good friendships and memories,” McClay said. “I think we were so driven because we all thought we’d win WPIALs. We’ve had great teams, but we thought this season would be different. I’m proud of how we played and how we’ve handled it during and after the game.”
McClay believes next year’s team, with developed players from the undefeated junior varsity squad, will have a chance to win the championship.
Semones said the final game should not overshadow the team’s season, one in which the Quakers defeated three Class AAA playoff teams.
“The goal was to win a WPIAL championship, and they really put their hearts on the line,” Semones said. “They’re a great, great group of girls. When you step back from the shock of losing, which weighs heavy on our hearts, you look at our record. We had two losses. It’s easy to be frustrated, but we had a season we should be proud of and one game doesn’t define us.”
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