Sewickley Academy girls lacrosse proud of accomplishments

Friday, May 17, 2019 | 8:03 PM

Sewickley Academy’s last moments on the field this season were filled with celebration, just not the way they had envisioned it.

The girls lacrosse team’s dreams were dashed Thursday, one season after losing in the WPIAL Class AAA championship game. The lost to Shady Side Academy, 12-5, in the quarterfinals.

The Panthers could have shown despair in defeat. That they “showed love” for each other was not a surprise to Sewickley Academy coach Chelsea Cameron.

“I think there’s a sense of pride,” Cameron said. “They’re proud of what they’ve accomplished the past couple seasons, and I think there’s joy in celebrating what they have accomplished, which is (hitting) a lot of milestones to pave the way for future Sewickley Academy generations.”

The road to a WPIAL title, Cameron said, was going to be difficult with teams like Shady Side Academy and Mt. Lebanon on the same side of the playoff bracket.

“They took on great challenges down the stretch here after a number of injuries and lineup changes,” Cameron said. “They’ve taken it in stride and made amazing things happen. Even tonight they took on a challenge in here and fought to the bitter end.”

The legacy of senior co-captains Sydney Larsen and Katie Jones might not be garnished with a trophy and banner, but there should be no question about their effect on the program, Cameron said.

The team was 3-12 in their freshman season. In the years that followed, Sewickley Academy had a 24-11 section record, earned three playoff berths and advanced to the PIAA tournament in 2018.

“I’m happy that we’re making Sewickley Academy a sports and a (girls lacrosse) school,” Larsen said. “We haven’t been known for it, and we’re really making a name for ourselves. Obviously, I’m proud of the records, the success we’ve had and everyone here.”

Jones didn’t want to dwell on the team’s early exit after having title aspirations. The fact the Panthers have been a contender the last three seasons should overshadow any loss, Jones said.

“A big thing for me is that everyone sees how much we’ve done together,” Jones said. “I see so much potential and greatness in every single one of our players … We also don’t have to be all business. We can enjoy each other right after a loss, because lacrosse is so much more than what happens on the field.”

Larsen, Jones and senior Linsey Szabo, who played for one season as a starting defenseman, were vital parts to the team’s success but not the only reason.

Nine of Sewickley Academy’s 12 starters in the playoffs were sophomores — led by Elsa Gordon and Emma DeSantis, who combined for the Panthers’ five goals in the quarterfinals.

“I think our seniors created a tradition of excellence in the pursuit of the playoffs, WPIALs, states and also getting better beyond just the wins,” Cameron said. “Our motto is ‘execute excellence,’ and it’s not just about the wins. I think that’s what they’ve instilled in all those sophomores. Because of that, I think we have a really bright future.”


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