Panther Press

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Carrying Out Preseason Goals

Nicole McNeely, '17, Staff Writer

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Strath Haven Women’s Lacrosse comes into play-offs knowing they need to do something different. The seniors understand this the most, as they have yet to win a playoff game in their career at Haven. Freshman year was a hard upset loss to Villa Marie, sophomore year to Merion Mercy, and last year headed home once again with a loss after fighting through four rounds of overtime against Abington.

The girls surprised everyone this season by beginning with an 8-0 winning streak, going into overtime against last year’s state champions Conestoga, as well as beating the undefeated Central Bucks West who was ranked first in the playoff bracket. Led by the team’s captains Nicole McNeely, Kacy Hafertepe, Maddy Ruffini, and Elizabeth Labows, these aspects gave the girls the 11th seed in the District 1 bracket. Senior and varsity captain Kacy Hafertepe comments on the team’s success stating, “This is the farthest we as seniors have gotten, and a lot of it has to do with some gutsy wins.” These wins put them against the twenty-two seed Hatboro Horsham. The most excitement came from knowing they would get a home game, which may potentially be their last. The game ended in a 13-5 win for Strath Haven, which put them on cloud nine. Maddy Ruffini had six goals and goal keeper Katie Capalbo had eleven saves.

Although the girls’ goals for the season were accomplished by winning their first playoff game and advancing to the second round, new goals have now been made. Coming into the game against Unionville with heart, determination, and lots of cold rags, the girls pulled out an 11-9 win over the sixth seed in 95-degree heat. This guaranteed the girls with three more games and a chance to make the State playoff bracket.

There are now four Central League teams in the running to make the State playoff bracket. After playing one of the three guaranteed games Springfield, Garnet Valley, and Conestoga are all guaranteed a spot while Strath Haven has to win at least one of their next two games to make the bracket. The one benefit Haven discovered after losing in the third round was Abington also lost, this meant the two teams would play each other in playbacks. Strath Haven went on to beat Abington in the play-back game.

Along with all these accomplishments over the season, five Strath Haven girls made one of the All-Central League Teams. This includes Elizabeth Labows honorable mention, Margot Hotham, Maddy Ruffini, and Katie Capalbo on second team, as well as Nicole McNeely on first team. These girls all agree that although individually they must perform, it was a team effort to achieve these accomplishments due to their teammates pushing them over the edge physically and mentally.

Not only have these girls and the team as a whole been extremely successful this spring season, but they are accompanied by a men’s team that made states alongside of them. Together, Strath Haven lacrosse is on the rise as an accomplished sports program that has left everything on the field this season.

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Carrying Out Preseason Goals