KINGSTON — There were moments when it was easy to forget just how inexperienced Coughlin actually is — a program as new to girls lacrosse as most of northeastern Pennsylvania.
But for the most part, the much more experienced Wyoming Seminary team showcased the gap between it and the rest of conference. The Blue Knights locked up the first-ever Wyoming Valley Conference girls lacrosse championship with an 18-5 victory Monday over Coughlin.
“They are a powerhouse in girls lacrosse,” Coughlin coach Colleen Wood said. “I mean, they have a feeder system. Half of our team just started playing organized lacrosse this year.”
Coughlin had Seminary on the ropes for the first three minutes of the game. After Lexi Quick netted the game’s first goal, the Crusaders’ Hailee Dumont evened the score 28 seconds later to tie the game 1-1.
The game remained tied for nearly two minutes before Madison Dowd ignited the Blue Knights’ scoring barrage at 22:37. From there, Wyoming Seminary resembled the team that has dominated local competition for the past three years, scoring 10 straight goals in an 8:30 span.
The Blue Knights routinely used one-time shots off passes from behind the net. Maegan Coulter flicked an Amanda Schwartz pass to make it 3-1 at 22:04, and Becca Schulman capped the scoring run off a Dowd feed.
“Most of our plays come from behind the net,” Seminary forward Emily Granger said. “We try to keep moving and look for cutters and lanes. That’s what we were able to accomplish pretty well today.”
Granger led the Blue Knights with five points off two goals and three assists. Quick topped all scorers with five goals, and Kristen Mericle also totaled five points and five draw controls. Emily Gabriel provided a game-high eight ground balls.
Coughlin was carried by two-goal efforts from Dumont and Brigid Wood. Wood caused three turnovers and picked up three ground balls.
Following the 10-goal run, the Crusaders kept the Blue Knights in sight, going goal-for-goal for the remainder of the first half. Coughlin trailed 13-9 in draw controls and 24-18 in ground balls.
In contrast to the Blue Knights, who have long held a girls lacrosse program, the Crusaders are relatively new to the sport. Despite having only two girls — both freshmen — with previous lacrosse experience before last year’s inaugural season, Coughlin sits third in the conference with a 6-4 record.
“Our team, especially the new players, seem to be getting better with each game,” coach Wood said. “I mean, against this team, that’s the sort of thing you hope for.”
The difference in the game was Seminary’s successful clear attempts and on-point shooting. Passing, as Granger noted, has been a focus of the Blue Knights entering postseason play.
“We’ve been working on the passing a lot,” she said. “The past couple of practices we put an offensive formation that makes it easier for the defense to clear the ball. So we can quickly get it, either pass it down the field and release a shot or settle it and focus on one of our plays.
Wyoming Seminary 18, Coughlin 5
Coughlin`3`2 — 5
Wyoming Seminary`14`4 — 18
Goals: COU Hailee Dumont 2, Brigid Wood 2, Kaitlyn Lukashewski; SEM Lexi Quick 5, Amanda Schwartz 3, Becca Schulman 3, Emily Granger 2, Kristen Mericle 2, Maegan Coulter, Madison Dowd, Ceci Norris.
Assists: SEM Granger 3, Mericle 3, Dowd 2, Schwartz, Emily Gabriel, Schulman
Saves: COU Paige Tedik 5, M’Kenzie Lee 2; SEM: Kelley Gavin 5
Draw Controls: COU BWood 2, Lukashewski 2, Dumont 2, Kyra Castano, Caitlin Wood, Kelsey Gabriele; SEM Mericle 5, Gabriel 3, Cat Corcoran 2, Madison Sweitzer, Hannah Dressler, Corinne Conyngham
Ground balls: COU BWood 3, CWood 3, Castano 2, Sarah Zbierski 2, Molly Andress 2, Tedik 2, Lukashewski, Savanna Robinson, Allison Novak, Megan Novak; SEM Gabriel 8, Conyngham 4, Gavin 3, Taylor Campbell 2, Tali Dressler 2, Corcoran, Sweitzer, Schwartz, Dowd, Marra Wagner