April 24th, 2013

Valkyries run down the Rockets 12-6

Paul Najjar

CSN Staff Writer

Valkyries run down the Rockets 12-6
SHA's Ana Grandinetti and Assumption's Jordan Weiter battle for a faceoff

The Sacred Heart Valkyries and the Assumption Rockets staged a back and forth battle on the lacrosse field Tuesday at Assumption Green. With the action moving end to end at a sometimes fever pitch, the visiting Valkyries outlasted the Rockets 12-6 in this tense rivalry.

The young Sacred Heart attack, led by junior Rachael Schmetzer’s five goals and sophomore Hannah Hardy’s three scores, put away the Rockets in the second half with a steady stream of pinpoint shooting. Though Assumption tied the game at 4-4 early in the second half and pulled within 6-5 at the 17:00 mark, the Valkyries were able to pull away in the game’s latter stages to earn the decisive victory.

“Everything was tough for us in the early going,” said Sacred Heart head coach Brandon Davis. “We were without one of our top attackers, Sydney Flynn, who was sick today, so we re-designed our lineup a bit and had girls playing out of position. It took a while for the girls to get used to where they were supposed to be, but once we got into our rhythm we were able to do what we wanted to do.”

And what exactly did the Valkyries want to do? Score. Often.

After Assumption sophomore Whitney Wooldridge opened the scoring just 3:33 into the game, and junior teammate Katie Holston doubled the Rockets’ lead at 2-0, the Valkyries went on the attack.

First on the board for Sacred Heart was senior attack Maria Lenhardt. Schmetzer tied the score at 2-2 with a penalty shot at 13:20. She scored twice more in the first half at 10:41 and at the 1:52 to give the Valkyries a 4-2 lead at the half.

“It’s a rivalry game, so of course we were nervous before the game and we put a lot of pressure on ourselves,” said Schmetzer. “We wanted to come out strong and prove to everyone that all of our hard work has paid off. But once we settled down and started playing our game we did so much better.”

Two of Schmetzer’s five goals came by way of penalty shots and her strategy was simple with those. “We were shooting low and I tried to do that as best I could,” she said. “We just tried shooting where the goalie wasn’t and that seemed to work.”

The Rockets started the second half much the same way they began the game: with a two goal flurry to tie the game at 4 apiece. Holston had a splendid individual run through the Valkyries defense, spun off a defender and fired a strike past Sacred Heart sophomore goalkeeper Mary Alyce Furlong to pull the Rockets within one at 4-3 at 21:57 of the second half. Senior attacker Jessie Riendeau knotted the game just 18 seconds later as she slammed home a perfect pass from Holston. Game on.

“We talked to the girls before the game and at halftime about putting our whole heart into this game and I think we did that,” said Assumption head coach Jason Curran. “We ran out of gas towards the end of the game, but the effort was there and the girls executed very well at the beginning of the game and the beginning of the second half. It was a big team effort and we were really pleased with that.”

Those early second half salvos were met with a swift response from the Valkyries as sophomores Lexi Hemker and Hardy scored 39 seconds apart to put Sacred Heart on top 6-4. After a Wooldridge penalty shot closed the lead to 6-5, the Valkyries scored three straight from freshman Lisa Niblock, Schmetzer and Hardy to open up a 9-5 lead. It was a comfortable final 13 minutes for the Valkyries as they outscored the Rockets 3-1 over that span on their way to a six goal margin of victory.

“We weren’t able to get into our rhythm offensively in the first half because Assumption was putting a lot of pressure on the ball,” said Hardy. “We turned it around in the second half after they tied it with a few quick scores and rode the momentum from there.”

The Valkyries, now 17-1 on the season, are the clear favorites to win a state title. And with all of their youth, they’re going to be one of the top teams in the state for the foreseeable future.


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