A little more than 48 hours after their big victory over previously unbeaten Southern Lehigh, the undefeated Saucon Valley girls lacrosse team travelled across town to Freedom for a Thursday night turf field fight against the Lady Patriots. The Pates were to be a formidable foe sporting a 9-2 record with their only losses coming at the hands of the powerful Easton and Parkland programs. In addition, the Lady Patriots had the highly-skilled services of junior Katie Flynn who, with her 83 goals last season, is on pace to become one of the Lehigh Valley’s top scorers in girls lacrosse history. It was to be a challenge that would need to bring out the best in the Panthers.
Saucon Valley looked up for the challenge and raced out of the gates to jump on the Pates with three quick scores. Panther sophomore Maria Donahue continued her outstanding season with the opening goal while junior, Camryn Zavacky and senior, Siobhan Coakley added the others. Six minutes into the contest, the Panthers held a 3-0 lead.
Freedom tapped their speed and answered with a pair of goals. Those scores, however, were matched by Saucon Valley’s Donahue and senior, Brooke Riefenstahl. With 10:40 remaining in the 1st half, the Panthers led 5-2.
Once again, each team traded scores. After a pair of quick goals by Freedom, Saucon responded when Maria Donahue and Katie Marker each found net for the Panthers. Saucon Valley maintained a three-goal cushion with four minutes left to play in the opening half.
The Patriots took some air out of that cushion when they raced up and down the field to close out the last two minutes of the 1st half with three unanswered goals. At intermission, the teams were back to even with a 7-7 score.
Freedom picked up where they left off and scored two quick goals to open the 2nd half and take a 9-7 lead. Donahue hit off a free start to get the Panthers back within one. But, the Pates came back with another pair of goals making the score 11-8 with a little over eighteen minutes left to play in the game.
With their three-goal lead it was evident that Freedom opted to spread their offensive sets in an attempt to slow the game down and bleed the clock. However, with 11:26 remaining, the Panthers started a rally when their defense forced a turnover allowing Maria Donahue to capitalize with another goal that made the score 11-9 in favor of Freedom. The Panthers continued to swing the momentum when Donahue connected for her sixth goal of the game which was followed by a score by Saucon sophomore, Katie Marker. With 8:42 remaining in the game the score was all tied-up, 11-11.
The next two minutes of play proved critical as Freedom was able to snag possession and use their speed, endurance and skill to break down the Panther defense for a pair of goals. At the 6:41 mark, the Patriots reclaimed a two-goal advantage at 13-11.
Once again, Freedom was able to secure possession and implement their “stall-ball” approach. Saucon had no choice but to extend their defense and try to double-team in order to create turnovers. The speed and skill of Freedom however made that a daunting task. Spreading the field and knowing the double teams were coming, Freedom was able to locate and connect with the unmarked teammate while playing keep-away from the pressing Panthers. When time ran out, Freedom handed Saucon Valley their first loss of the season.
Panther Net-Flicks: Saucon sophomore Maria Donahue hit for six goals while classmate Katie Marker got net twice. Siobhan Coakley, Brooke Riefenstahl and Camryn Zavacky each added a score for the Panthers.
UP NEXT: The Panthers (6-1) will regroup and prepare for a tough matchup against the Pleasant Valley Bears (9-2). Freedom defeated Pleasant Valley by a 16-15 score earlier this season. The Lady-Bears only other loss was to Easton on April, 2. This will be another great challenge for the Panthers who are in pursuit of a third consecutive District XI title.
Good luck Panthers, the Source is with you!
About This Series: Andrew & Sonya Hughes of Hellertown are sponsoring girls sports coverage on Saucon Source to help recognize the achievements of female high school athletes in Saucon Valley, and in tribute to their own daughters, who were both stand-out student-athletes at their high school, where they played softball, soccer, basketball and field hockey. Between the two of them they earned 14 high school varsity letters. “Female athletics was a big part of our family life for many years, but that journey ended at the high school level six years ago,” Andrew Hughes says. “Through those amazing experiences we also noticed that females don’t seem to have the same level of exposure and support as their male counterparts. So we are very sensitive to situations where we perceive an imbalance of exposure of female student athlete participation in competitive high school sports. We also like to encourage greater involvement of young people in athletics. We would like to help the girls gain more exposure at your news source by adopting some girls high school teams.” Saucon Source thanks Andrew & Sonya Hughes for their generous support of local girls high school athletics.