St. Anne’s-Belfield girls lacrosse’s strength is on the defensive end this season, and lately that senior-laden group has been stepping up.
“We have three seniors and a senior goalkeeper so that is really our veterans and they have really come together,” said STAB coach Mary Blake.
With a key adjustment, the unit may have found another gear in the second half Thursday in a 15-7 win over Covenant. The Saints’ defense helped turn an 8-6 advantage into a runaway with a 7-1 run spanning the entire second half.
The Saints switched defenses to a backer approach during that stretch with a player pressuring the ball and other players pressuring the adjacent players while being prepared to pounce if the primary defender gets beat.
“Going into the backer defense really helped,” said STAB senior keeper Molly Morris, who piled up 13 saves. “We really pressured out on those adjacents was definitely a way we shook them up a little bit and once they started to lose steam we capitalized on the attack.”
Seniors like Adele Blanton and Ellie Vick play a big role on defense for the Saints and it’s no easy task to try and clamp down on the Eagles, who boast an array of scoring weapons like Wynston Archer, Ari Archer, Megan McGlothlin and Lizzy Shim. With help from the adjustment at the break, they were up to the task with Temple-bound Wynston Archer’s four goals leading the way.
“It was something we had been working on in practice,” Blake said. “We thought ‘why don’t we just throw it out there and see’ and we felt like the backer made the difference.”
Meanwhile, the STAB offense was patient and extremely efficient, with Claire Schotta scoring four goals on just five shots while also dishing out four assists. Catherine Carden had a hat trick and three assists on just four shots and Isabel Franks poured in four goals on five shots. Schotta also picked up five ground balls and played a key role in the transition game.
Shim scored twice and had an assist for the Eagles while Ari Archer had one goal to round out the offensive effort. Wynston Archer also notched five ground balls.
“STAB is always a great opponent,” said Covenant coach Kim Parsons. “We have some great athletes and we all have some things we need to work on and we’ll continue to execute better every game.”
STAB travels across town to take on Charlottesville Friday while Covenant travels to Trinity Episcopal Friday afternoon for a game looking to end a two-game skid after a 10-9 loss to Highland earlier this week.