It took a few minutes for Western Albemarle girls lacrosse’s Mattie Shearer to get going Wednesday night.
“I was struggling at first, but I just made sure I didn’t keep my head down and kept moving forward,” Shearer said. “Once I scored the first goal, my shots were on after that.”
On might be understating it.
Shearer shook off those early hiccups and pumped in 11 goals for the Warriors, an explosive offensive effort in a 20-6 win over Albemarle that gave Western some serious momentum ahead of next week’s region tournament.
Shearer was scoring from all angles and in seemingly every way including off an errant pass late in the first half that was intended for a different Western player but bounced toward a cutting Shearer who snagged it and immediately finished. She had 10 draw controls on her own and Western held a 20-6 advantage on the draws as a team.
“She’s great on the draw, she’s great on the loose balls — she’s all around a really good player,” said Albemarle coach Brittany McElheny. “It generates a lot of momentum for them.”
Mallory Greene also had a big night for Western with five goals and an assist for the Warriors while Libby Carbo rang up six assists as a distributor. Sophie Lanahan had two goals and an assist. Maggie Craytor and Kate Alhusen each had a goal. The Warriors’ group of dynamic threats definitely puts pressure on opposing defenses and in turn opens things up for Western on that end.
“Having so many skilled players on offense really helps us because it’s not depending on one person on the team,” Greene said.
Kennedy Buntrock had four saves for the Warriors in the cage and Juliana Murphy led Western with three ground balls.
Albemarle couldn’t find a rhythm on offense and struggled to find an answer for Shearer, due in part to an injury to starting keeper Olivia Bickers. That leads to a communication revamp and a lot of adjustments on the back end that Albemarle had just a few days to implement.
“We started out really strong, we’re usually a second half team so that was nice to see but then we kind of just dropped off,” McElheny said. “I think we’ve identified why that happened and I think our attack kind of hit their run near the end of the game.”
Sophia Bombaderi and Kaley Maynard led Albemarle with two goals each while Lauren Grady had one.
Both teams will turn their attention to region tournament play early next week with the Warriors likely hosting while Albemarle will travel.