Strong Step: Albemarle girls lacrosse edges Western

Photo by Bart Isley

Albemarle’s girls lacrosse team suddenly had a new head coach on Monday with field hockey coach and former Longwood women’s lacrosse player Brittany McElheny stepped in to guide the Patriots. But the results were essentially the same as Albemarle beat Western Albemarle 13-12 a year after sweeping the Warriors in the regular season.


Erin Keller poured in five goals for the Patriots to help spark the win, but her hockey assist on Albemarle’s final goal proved to be the most critical as the Patriots needed every single goal to keep Western at bay. Keller moved the ball to Anna Murray and then to Jenn Wendelken for a late second half goal that put the Patriots up 13-11 and proved to be decisive.


Albemarle fell into a 2-0 hole out of the gate and trailed 8-7 at halftime in what is always a nip-and-tuck rivalry clash between two of the area’s top programs.


Morgan Rose notched four goals for the Patriots while Savannah Grierson dished out three assists. Wendelken’s lone goal was a big one, but she also notched two assists. Kelsey Myers, Bridget Pinnata and Emma Grady each had one goal with Pinnata also registering an assist while Murray had to assists including the helper on the game-winner.


Kira Repich posted five goals for the Warriors while Anna Kreienbaum and Mady Starsia each had two with Starsia also dishing out two assists.


McElheny moved into the head coach position unexpectedly this week after head coach Lauren Thraves stepped down for family reasons. A sizeable group of Albemarle’s players including Pinnata, Myers, Rose and Murray were key cogs for McElheny’s field hockey squad so there should be some comfort level from the jump, and it showed as the Patriots’ players held strong and picked up the critical win with that second half surge.


Albemarle continues a busy week on Friday when they take on Monticello on the road Friday. The Warriors will host Fluvanna County the same night.