SILVER SPRING TOWNSHIP — Cumberland Valley’s girls lacrosse season came to a premature end on Monday night when the South Western Mustangs topped the Eagles 16-15 in the first round of the District 3 Class 3A championships.
Senior Kyra Place put Cumberland Valley on the board 1-0 with a goal 2:26 into the contest. It was the last lead the Eagles would have until late in the second half as No. 6 Cumberland Valley played from behind most of the match.
No. 11 South Western (11-5) started strong winning draws, controlling the clock and taking advantage of second chances. The offensive pair of Caitlyn Coates and Aunnie Hacker combined for five goals in the first 13 minutes to pace the Mustangs to a 6-3 lead.
Despite Jordan Kulp and Place pulling the Eagles back within one, South Western responded with three more unanswered goals, including another one from Coates, to push their advantage to 9-5.
“All season long they’ve shown they can come back from anything, but in districts, you can’t afford to do that,” Cumberland Valley head coach Emily Savini said. “Every team is equally as talented, and it’s just who wants to show up and play.
“They showed up from the beginning, and we showed up a little too late.”
It was gut check time for Cumberland Valley (14-5) as the Eagles answered with three goals of their own by Claire Gerlach, Place and Molly Celesky to pull within a tally. It remained that for the final 1:30 of the first half until South Western’s Katie Yocum slipped a shot by Eagles goalkeeper Natalie Manchon as time expired in the period.
South Western came out in the second half once again, controlling possessions and chewing up the clock as the Mustangs maintained a 13-9 lead eight minutes into the second half.
But Cumberland Valley wasn’t going to go down without a fight as Kulp, Place and K.K. Ball scored six of the next seven goals to tie the game up and take a 15-14 lead with four minutes left in the match.
The YAIAA Defender of the Year, Jordan Gertz, scored the equalizer for the Mustangs with 2:09 remaining after a penalty left the Eagles playing a man short. Twenty seconds later, Coates scored the game-winning goal for South Western.
Cumberland Valley had one last opportunity as they stole the ball with 12 seconds left but couldn’t advance it past a desperation heave down the field.
“It shows me they don’t give up,” Savini said. “I think they realized too late how close of a game this was going to be and waited too long to have that wake-up call. We were already so deep in this hole.”
Kulp finished the night with six goals and two assists while Place tallied four goals and an assist. Manchon made 13 saves for the Eagles in the defeat.
The South Western victory avenged a 12-11 loss to Cumberland Valley last season in the quarterfinals.