Sewickley Academy girls lacrosse soars into WPIAL playoffs

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Sunday, May 16, 2021 | 11:01 AM


The Sewickley Academy girls lacrosse team has put together a special season heading into the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs.

With an overall record of 13-1 and a Section 2 mark of 9-1, the Panthers sit in second place in their section with their only loss coming against defending WPIAL champion Shady Side Academy — a 10-9 decision April 23.

“It’s been a lot of fun, and we’ve really just enjoyed playing together as a team,” Sewickley Academy coach Chelsea Cameron said. “I think this group, like I’ve said in the past, they just genuinely enjoy playing together. They are creative on the field. They enjoy playing together on the field and those are all the components of a successful program, and I think that’s really contributed to our success this year.”

Since their loss to Shady Side Academy, the Panthers have outscored opponents 89-47 and also have taken down top programs Fox Chapel, North Allegheny, Upper St. Clair and Pine Richland this season.

Fox Chapel, North Allegheny and Pine Richland are among the top five teams in Section 2 and Upper St. Clair tied Mt. Lebanon for the Section 1 title. But Sewickley Academy’s wins have allowed the team to establish a solid rapport and build confidence heading into the playoffs. It has also allowed Cameron to see her team improve.

“We kind of just take it one game at a time, and we just try to focus on the game in front of us, which has kind of helped us this year and not get caught up in what is that other team doing and what is the hype around it,” Cameron said.

“We just focus on what we need to do to be successful as a team and kind of tackle each game as it comes. I think being present in that moment has really helped us stay focused because those wins are important for us.”

But while the Panthers have grown from their wins, they’ve also learned from their only loss.

In a tight, back-and-forth battle earlier this year, the Bulldogs came out on top over Sewickley Academy. It was the type of matchup where each team held leads, but Shady Side ultimately came out on top.

“Win or lose, you learn a lot from each game along the way, and I think each game throughout the season is an opportunity for growth,” Cameron said. “You can do all the practice, but you have to put it to the test in moments with pressure, so I think that was just another growing moment for us. It was another opportunity to learn, and they learned a lot from that game.”

The Panthers also have had several contributors this season, and their team mentality has contributed to the success they’ve had on the field. They’ve scored 10 or more goals in every one of their wins; the only game they didn’t score in double-digits came in their loss to Shady Side Academy.

“On average, we have five to seven contributors a game, and I think we’ve had more assists this year than we’ve had in the past,” Cameron said. “We are moving the ball. We’re looking to create opportunities for each other, and they share the wealth. That’s a huge reason for our success: They work together as a unit, and it’s a lot of play to support each other. It’s a beautiful thing.”

Two years ago, the Panthers fell to Shady Side Academy in the quarterfinals, 12-5, and now they are looking to return to the playoffs and capitalize on their success so far this season.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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