LINCOLN — With just five starters from the 2011 campaign returning, Lincoln High head coach Brenda Sylvester admitted “we have a brand new bunch.
“We were just looking for proper spacing, and we wanted to see how we’d play together for the first time around,” she stated. “We did well, but there are some things we need to work on.”
Sylvester indicated she was pleased with her squad’s overall performance, despite the Lions’ 3-1 loss to Lincoln School in both teams’ Division I-North opener at Kathy Tiberii Field on Thursday afternoon, but didn’t expect all four goals scored to come on penalty corners.
“That’s very unusual,” she noted afterward. “It’s much more common to see that on the collegiate level, where play is more advanced. It doesn’t happen much in high school, but I think this is a good starting point for us. We got a chance to see what our team’s strengths and weaknesses are.
“Our 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.”
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.
“You really can’t stop it,” she confessed with a grin. “(On) those shots, there’s really nothing you can do. You can’t get there in time, and you can’t block them (as it’s against the sport’s regulations to stop a pass or shot with the body).
“I still thought our ‘fly,’ (junior) Jessica Kelley, did a nice job of getting there with her stick,” she added. “She stopped a few of those shots, or they went out of bounds.”
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, Lions’ senior co-captain Heather Bager converted a Kelly assist on another corner, blasting it past sophomore goalie Adelae Durand’s right pad, to knot the score at 1-1.
The Lynx, however, regained the lead with just 4:19 left before the break; that’s 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 White’s crew would take 3-1 cushion into the break when officials called for the Lynx’ fifth penalty corner as time expired, but Chrupcala’s 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.