Girls Lacrosse triumphs over Jones for City Championship berth

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Mara Mellits

Lane’s Abby Kenen (18) guards Jones’ Lizzie O’Brien (4).

By Mara Mellits, Editor-in-Chief

I think that we got this as long as we all come out ready to play and want it more, and we do.”

— Kendra O'Keefe

The expectations are always high for a number one seed coming into a City Championship. Playing against the number two seed sets them even higher.

After a 17-4 win over the Jones Eagles in the semifinals on Wednesday, May 11, Lane’s Girls Lacrosse team has shown that they’re ready for gold. Going into their 7th straight City Championship match against their rival, the Payton Grizzlies, whom they’ve already beaten once this year by a score of 12-9 on April 27, Lane’s Girls Lacrosse team is looking for gold once again.  

“Having played them this season, we’ll be a little bit more prepared for [their] kind of attack [and] their kind of personnel as well,” Lane’s Head Coach Amanda Malstrom said after Lane’s semifinal win. 

But being a number one seed brings a certain type of pressure to not make mistakes.

“Being the number one seed means you have a target on your back. Everyone wants to beat you,” Malstrom said. 

And that’s what Jones tried to do — especially in the first half — capitalizing on Lane’s defensive mistakes and scoring the first goal off of a penalty shot in the first couple minutes of the game. 

Miscommunication from Lane’s defense led to this goal and all three of the Eagles’ goals in the first half. But that didn’t stop Lane’s offense from dominating the scoreboard. 

Kayla Tirado scored Lane’s first goal, which started the stream of goals for Lane. Although Lane had trouble in the first half due to defensive hiccups, the offense was still able to score six goals.

Although they were clearly ahead coming into halftime, it wasn’t a big enough margin that they were comfortable with.

Thus, something had to change for the second half.

“We kind of have a streak of finally getting in the game during [the] second half, and I think we really came out, fought on the 50-50s and wanted it more [in the] second half, and that’s what was the big game changer,” Lane’s Kendra O’Keefe said postgame.

And many of those goals came from Lane’s domination in winning every draw — which continued in the second half.

Kendra O’Keefe — Lane’s center draw specialist — brought out her attack on every draw, to win it each time. 

“I think that possession is super important in the game, and I try my best to flip it to the side that my team’s on, so we can get the ground ball and get to goal,” O’Keefe said. 

And that led to many goals for Lane — 11 in the second half to bring the final score to 17-4. 

Malstrom attributes the high scoring win to the draws.

“You have to go for the draw. The draw is most important,” Malstrom said. “You can’t score unless you have the ball. And so getting it right from the beginning is going to be so critical.”

Another critical point for Lane was scoring off of penalty shots. Lane attempted five penalty shots on Jones and converted three of them – gaining two of those in the second half. 

Jones managed to score one more goal on Lane early in the second half, but after that, the team crumbled to Lane’s intense pressure the rest of the way. A lack of subs didn’t help the Eagles. While Lane had a plethora of substitute players to put in anytime during the game, the Eagles did not. They were running around on tired legs with very few subs, and that showed in the final minutes of the game. 

The Eagles end their season with this game — choosing to opt out of state, according to Jones player Meredith White. Meanwhile, Lane will play in the City Championship game on Friday, May 13, at Lane Stadium. They look to win their consecutive 7th City Championship. 

“I’m feeling great,” O’Keefe said. “I’m feeling confident. I think that we got this as long as we all come out ready to play and want it more, and we do.”

Allegra Coleman and Ruby Thompson contributed reporting.