Zavacky, Panthers Earn Gold in District XI Championship

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The Panthers and Spartans put it all on the line for the 2018 District XI title.

The Panthers and Spartans put it all on the line for the 2018 District XI title.

Wednesday evening the #1 seeded Saucon Valley Panthers (13-3) entered Lehigh’s Ulrich Sports Complex to faceoff against the #2 Southern Lehigh Spartans (10-6) in the District XI Girls Lacrosse “AA” Final.  Saucon defeated #4 Moravian Academy while the Spartans took down #3 Allentown Central Catholic on Monday to earn their berth.  The Panthers entered the 2018 championship eyeing a District XI title repeat while Southern Lehigh last wore District XI gold in 2015.

Freshman Maria Donahue battles to gain possession for the Panthers.

The Saucon, Southern rivalry is alive and well as each team was able to defend their home turf and split a couple of tight contests during regular season action.  The Panthers defeated the Spartans 11-8 but Southern Lehigh later earned payback 10-8.  On paper, it looked as if the post-season would bring another Saucon Creek Classic.

Saucon senior Helen Kreshollek beats the defense and goes low for an early Panther goal.

The Panthers wasted little time to pounce on the Spartans in the opening minutes.  Maria Donahue, Katherine Naiburg, Helen Kreschollek and Camryn Zavacky all lit the lamp to give Saucon a 4-0 lead with 13:20 left to play in the first half.  Hoping to change momentum, Southern Lehigh called for a timeout to circle the wagons and counter the Panther scoring binge. However, as play resumed and only seconds later, Saucon Valley added goal #5 when Siobhan Coakley found net off a Camryn Zavacky feed.

The Saucon scoring frenzy continued when sophomore Zavacky converted a Kat Naiburg pass in traffic for the final goal of the first half. The Panthers looked sharp and took a 6-0 lead into the intermission.

Saucon Valley sophomore Camryn Zavacky zigs and zags her way toward one of her six District XI championship goals.

At the start of the second half Southern Lehigh hinted they were not yet finished and had a little fight left in them. Liz Kanzler and Taylor Moncman came out with a 1-2 punch to make the score 6-2 with a healthy 19:40 remaining on the clock.  But, any thoughts of the Spartans stealing the game’s momentum were put to rest when the Panthers exploded for the next five scores. Cam Zavacky, Katie Marker, Siobhan Coakley and Maddie Zych took over to help the Panthers dominate the next five minute stretch of time.  With Saucon Valley firmly in control, the scoreboard read 11-2 at the midpoint of the second half.

The Panthers Zavacky and Helen Krescholek managed to trade goals with Southern Lehigh’s Moncman and Emily Donnelly and keep the Spartan threat in check.  But, with 5:02 remaining Zavacky converted for a score after being awarded “free position” to give Saucon a 14-4 cushion.  It was Zavacky’s sixth goal of the contest. The ten goal margin activated the mercy-rule and the game clock would run nonstop.

Helen Kreschollek, Siobhan Coakley and Maddie Zych celebrating the good times in the 2018 District XI Final.

Senior Maddie Zych put the last point on the board when she took a feed from classmate Helen Kreschollek as time was running out.  Zych emphatically buried the ball in the back of the Spartan net and it was celebration time for Saucon Valley.  Winning 15 of the 18 draws, the Panthers dominated possession to repeat as District XI champs.  The Saucon Valley Panthers defeated the Southern Lehigh Spartans by a 15-4 score.

Audrey Holland and the tenacious Panther defense held Southern Lehigh to only four goals in the 2018 District XI Final.

Lady Panther Goal Scorers v. Moravian Academy 

  • So. Camryn Zavacky (6)
  • Sr. Helen Kreschollek (2)
  • Sr. Maddie Zych (2)
  • Jr. Katherine Naiburg (2)
  • Jr. Siobhan Coakley (1)
  • Fr. Maria Donahue (1)
  • Fr. Katie Marker (1)

UP NEXT:  Saucon now moves into the PIAA State tournament and, on Tuesday, will battle the third-place team from District 1.  The start/venue is still TBD. The Panthers will have the winner of Thursday’s contest between Gwynedd Mercy v. Penncrest.  

Good Luck Panthers, the Source is with you!

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