High School Northeasterns - Day 1 Recap – Girls’ Division
Posted: May 21, 2016 11:18 PM
Lower Merion Lady Baba (6) v. Allderdice (7): The first eight points of the day for these teams were downwind offensive holds. For Baba, this was accomplished by putting the disc in the hands of Sarah Lipson and letting her rip hucks – some being caught for goals while others acted as punts for field position. Lower Merion managed to get close on a few upwind break opportunities but was unable to capitalize due to tenacious end zone defensive efforts by Peyton Skinker and Sofia Kosowski. Tied at 4-4, the first upwind score went to Allderdice, followed by a downwind break to make it 6-4 Dice. On the next point, starting from her own goal line, Miranda Kosowski hit Sofia Vidic on an in-cut and immediately streaked upfield. Vidic threw a pass to space that Miranda ran down for a power position huck that got deflected by a Lower Merion defender, only to float perfectly in stride for Allderdice’s Kathleen Walter in the end zone to take half 7-4. From there, it was pretty smooth sailing for Dice as they ended up taking the game 12-5. Since all of their seniors and some juniors are at the senior prom, Lower Merion is able to use this weekend to get playing time for their younger players, potentially building the future stars of their program.
I started off the round watching North Allegheny (11) take on Watchung Hills (2). North Allegheny came out with a vert stack offense that relied heavily on the handling abilities of Julia Buss, and they would set a zone after a turn. Watchung was able to stifle the flow of North Allegheny’s vert by sagging their handler covers out into the open-side cutting lane, causing turmoil through the middle and challenging trickier looks. With Jessie Sun and Kathryn Stoll navigating through the North Allegheny zone, Watchung was able to take half 7-0. North Allegheny found success later in the day, but for the end of round two, my attention was diverted to field three where Fox Chapel (4) was taking on the Radnor Raiders (9).
As I made my way to field three, Radnor had a 3-2 lead. On a point riddled with turnovers, Fox Chapel was finally able to punch it in to tie the game at 3-3. Then Cierra Miller got up big for a block, and Darra Reppermund floated the disc into the end zone where Liz Heidenreich made a ridiculous one-handed layout catch for the goal, 4-3. Next, Darra hucks to freshman Katherine Eames who uses her height well and dishes for another Fox Chapel goal – 5-3. And then Christina Brown makes a series of circus catches, the last of which finds her in the end zone for 6-3. This game was not a story of Radnor playing poorly or giving up. Fox Chapel continued to set their suffocating zone, and then their playmakers made big plays on offense. At times, Norah Xiong was able to work the disc nicely in the backfield for the Radnor offense, and Julie Lee took some excellent deep shots. When the dust settled, Fox Chapel had taken the game 9-5 over Radnor.
Easily the most exciting game of the day was between the Lexington Fooligals (3) and Fox Chapel (4). The intensity was high from the start and remained that way to the very end. With 2-0 records through the first two rounds, both teams had already made it to bracket play, and both ran tight lines knowing this would be their last game of the day.
From the opening point, it was clear that Tess Johnson was going to leave her mark on this game for Lexington. Playing deep in the zone, she was able to get athletic blocks on throws that Fox Chapel’s Reppermund had been completing earlier in the day. She was also the primary cutter on offense, spreading the field very well in a well-spaced Lexington offense, and finding openings for handlers Maggie Zhang and Eva McDermott.
Darra Reppermund was Johnson’s counterpart as the deep in Fox Chapel’s zone. She was able to tighten up her over-the-top looks, blading in flicks to Heidenreich, Miller and Eames. And when Fox Chapel started running person defense, Darra was an absolute menace, generating at least four foot blocks and three run-through blocks in the backfield.
In the second half, Lexington started having Johnson cover Reppermund with a straight-up mark and always playing between her and the disc when she didn’t have possession of it. This adjustment really slowed down the Fox Chapel offense.
Just as great as the chess match between Johnson and Reppermund was the explosive athletic matchup between Lexington’s Mira Anderberg and Fox Chapel’s Liz Heidenreich. Anderberg was able to make Fox Chapel’s deep game extremely difficult by neutralizing some of the spark that Heidenreich typically provides with her speed and acrobatic catches. The stat sheet says Anderberg ended the day with 12 blocks. Based on her performance in this game, I would have guessed more.
With the game tied at 7-7, Fox Chapel was able to convert on a short-field turn. Literally two seconds later, the horn blew for hard cap meaning Fox Chapel just needed to score to win, while Lexington needed to score to stay alive and then score again to win. During the next point, a huck went up from Lexington that looked to be far out of reach, but a completely insane layout grab from Mira Anderberg saved possession. The gathering crowd exploded in awe as she got up and floated a high-release flick to Tess Johnson for the game-tying goal. Fox Chapel came within inches of ending the game on a double-game-point Callahan, but caught it just barely on the goal line. The next throw was a turnover, and Lexington marched down the field for the win.
Round 4 – Pool B/C Crossover Games
The crossover round pinned North Allegheny and Radnor against each other with a spot in the championship bracket on the line. The rain had really picked up, and both teams ran zones at the beginning of the game. Emma Phelps was key for North Allegheny in working through the Radnor zone and taking an early lead. Trailing 5-3, Radnor switched to playing more person defense and started to generate more short-field turns. Having just scored to make it 5-4, Radnor senior Wallis Grant got a sliding block on an in-cut, immediately picked up the disc and jacked a flick into the end zone to knot the score at five apiece. Two points later, Norah Xiong shut down four or five reset cuts in a row, then looked over her shoulder just as the disc was released from the thrower’s hand and swatted it to the ground. Radnor scored that point to take half, but North Allegheny broke out of half to tie the game at 7-7. The next point would be the last. Both teams had end zone drops during a 10+ minute overtime double-game point, and while North Allegheny hung tough, Radnor ended up winning the game and advancing to the quarterfinals.
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