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LINCOLN â With just five starters from the 2011 campaign returning, Lincoln High head coach Brenda Sylvester admitted âwe have a brand new bunch.
âWe were just looking for proper spacing, and we wanted to see how weâd play together for the first time around,â she stated. âWe did well, but there are some things we need to work on.â
Sylvester indicated she was pleased with her squadâs overall performance, despite the Lionsâ 3-1 loss to Lincoln School in both teamsâ Division I-North opener at Kathy Tiberii Field on Thursday afternoon, but didnât expect all four goals scored to come on penalty corners.
âThatâs very unusual,â she noted afterward. âItâs much more common to see that on the collegiate level, where play is more advanced. It doesnât happen much in high school, but I think this is a good starting point for us. We got a chance to see what our teamâs strengths and weaknesses are.
âOur weaknesses, from what I saw, were trying to jell and the way we communicated, but I do think we moved the ball pretty well, and our goalkeeper (senior Ashley Devolve) made some great saves. We have a ways to go yet.â
For the Lynx (1-0), a more-than-visible positive came in the form of senior center Ellie Chrupcala, who finished with two goals and an assist. Her ability to drive the ball from 30-50 yards out, without putting much air under it, impressed Sylvester.
âYou really canât stop it,â she confessed with a grin. â(On) those shots, thereâs really nothing you can do. You canât get there in time, and you canât block them (as itâs against the sportâs regulations to stop a pass or shot with the body).
âI still thought our âfly,â (junior) Jessica Kelley, did a nice job of getting there with her stick,â she added. âShe stopped a few of those shots, or they went out of bounds.â
Lincoln School gained a 1-0 advantage just 7:58 into the first half. On its initial penalty corner, senior Elizabeth DiSandro fed Chrupcala, who was stationed perhaps five yards out, and she drilled a shot past Devolve and inside the left post.
Just 5:12 later, Lionsâ senior co-captain Heather Bager converted a Kelly assist on another corner, blasting it past sophomore goalie Adelae Durandâs right pad, to knot the score at 1-1.
The Lynx, however, regained the lead with just 4:19 left before the break; thatâs when sophomore Allie Gaissl, standing near the right post, muscled her lone tally through a scrum in front. DiSandro and Chrupcala strolled away with the assists.
Actually, it seemed as if Kim Whiteâs crew would take 3-1 cushion into the break when officials called for the Lynxâ fifth penalty corner as time expired, but Chrupcalaâs rope from at least 10 yards out traveled wide right.
In the span of approximately 50 seconds earlier in the final session, referees whistled Lincoln High for three successive penalty corners, and the Lynx took advantage of the last. DiSandro fired a missile inside the right post, and the visitors found themselves up, 3-1, at the 3:52 mark.
The Lions did assemble a valiant effort the rest of the way; in fact, with just under 25 minutes remaining, senior co-captain Jillian Borzain whacked an up-close attempt at Durand, who made a stellar pad save.
And, shortly thereafter, classmate Mattison DiRubio drove another shot at Durand from inside the left post, but Durand responded once more.
All told, Devolve finished with 12 saves for the hosts, while Durand managed three.