Team effort helps Sewickley Academy girls lacrosse get off to hot start

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Sunday, April 11, 2021 | 11:01 AM


The Sewickley Academy girls lacrosse team started the 2021 season with back-to-back wins over Peters Township and Shaler, and both wins came in different ways.

The win over Peters Township, a tight three-goal victory, came in a typical grind-it-out game as the Panthers battled adversity with the weather and their opponent. They had to erase an early deficit and took advantage in the second half to earn a 10-7 victory.

“It was a really great moment for them, and it was a really good learning opportunity for them,” Sewickley Academy coach Chelsea Cameron said. “They got a chance to see that they were in control and that they could do it.”

Sewickley Academy’s second win of the season came in an 18-10 decision over section opponent Shaler, and the Panthers controlled the matchup from the beginning to end. It was a true showing of what Sewickley Academy could accomplish, and it also gave the Panthers an opportunity to focus on the little things as they prepare for the rest of their season.

“We came out really strong and took the lead pretty early on,” Cameron said. “So it was really about focusing on the details the rest of the game. We didn’t want to just get goals, but how we got the goals. It was just about what are we doing to get better so that we can compete further into the season.”

While each win was different, there also was a common theme. The Panthers have played as a team, and it has shown on the scoreboard as they had seven scorers in their win over Shaler.

The Panthers don’t have any juniors, so with a mixture of seniors, sophomores and freshmen, they have been able to put up numbers in bunches, and Cameron believes it goes back to being able to play as a team.

“We really try to spread the ball around, and that’s something that emphasizes that this is a team, and everybody has a shot to make a difference and have an impact,” Cameron said. “It makes us much harder to defend because everybody is a threat from any point on the field, and it adds a complexity to our offense.”

Two years ago, Shady Side Academy, which went on to win its first WPIAL title, ended up knocking the Panthers out of the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs, and although they lost talent over the past two years, the Panthers still have a few seniors who were a part of that run.

Elsa Gordon, Victoria Keller and Emma DiSantis are the captains, and fellow seniors JJ Jardini, Kamryn Lightcap and Mia DelVecchio have provided solid defense in the back.

Ellie Zack and Ellie Hughes also have provided the Panthers with a viable scoring tandem on the front line.

Underclassmen such as Ashley Close, Mary Grace Gordon, Rinni Jardini and Kendall Sykes have contributed in the field, and sophomore Samantha Beck has stepped into the net.

“She’s done a fantastic job so far, and she’s really starting to mesh with the defense, and we’re really starting to coach her up into a position of leadership, which is a tough thing to do as a sophomore,” Cameron said. “She’s really starting to step into that, and it will be exciting to see her develop throughout the year as well.”

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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