ReLaxers rally to beat PA Express, 14-10
VAIL ” The William and Mary girls knew what they were doing when they invited Caroline McGuire to play with them in the Vail Lacrosse Shootout. After all, McGuire had notched four goals and two assists against William and Mary earlier this year while playing at Richmond University.
Tuesday in the Women’s Elite finals at the Vail Lacrosse Shootout, McGuire did both Richmond, and William and Mary proud, netting five goals for the ReLaxers in a 14-10 win over PA Express.
“We were big rivals in college,” McGuire said of her Shootout teammates. “They invited (me and two other teammates) now that we are graduated.”
With the score knotted at eight late in the second half, the ReLaxers pulled away with several goals by McGuire and Allison Evans.
“We started moving the ball a little more and got it to the attack,” said ReLaxers’ Lauren Work.
The ReLaxers looked like they were going to cruise after taking an early 3-0 lead, and stuffing PA Express on several free position plays within the eight-meter arc. But PA Express stormed back, and scored six unanswered goals.
“They are good. Some of them played for Maryland, which is a powerhouse,” McGuire said.
It wasn’t a Terrapin, but rather Stanford’s Megan Burker that spearheaded PA Express’s comeback, with three of her four goals coming in the six-goal flurry.
“We started losing the draw,” said Work. “We also stopped hustling a bit.”
Evans added a goal before halftime to cut the deficit to 6-4, but Burker opened the second half with her fourth goal. The ReLaxers then started to clamp down and shift extra defenders to Burker.
“We knew they were going to start doubling Megan, so we knew when their defense slid, and we did the draw and dump thing,” said PA Express’s Katie Doolittle, who was also an offensive threat for her team, registering two goals.
In addition to the defensive adjustment, the ReLaxers worked on controlling possession off the draws.
“Once we got that, we started scoring the goals,” McGuire said.
Slowly, the ReLaxers put the ball into the net, and then the goals came quickly and often. The ReLaxers went on an 8-1 run to build a 12-8 lead late in the game.
“I think we needed to get some quick goals, so we started running isolations, which helped,” McGuire said. “Once we pulled them out when we were up, there was so much space, so we worked the ball around.”
Despite having fewer subs, PA Express wasn’t going to fold, and ripped two quick goals. What seemed to be a third straight goal that would have brought PA Express within one was called back, and the ReLaxers pulled away with a pair of scores to finish off the game.
“They had a few more opportunities, and we threw the ball away a couple of times in crucial situations,” Doolittle said. “We had a bunch of penalty shots and we may have made one ore two of them, and that hurts. Our shooting wasn’t completely on today.”
The win gave the ReLaxers their second straight title.
Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.