With 26 shots on goal, eight caused turnovers including three interceptions, 13 draw controls and 33 ground balls, the Key West High girls lacrosse team seemed to be in control of Wednesday’s regular-season home finale against Archbishop McCarthy.
“Winning the 50-50 ball, like draw controls and ground balls, is a huge stat and indicator of who is in control of the game,” said Key West coach Marissa Giacopuzzi.
Despite those numbers, the Mavericks did not go away easy, as a late run pressured the Lady Conchs, who held onto a 12-11 victory, but the team provided the type of competition Giacopuzzi said she was hoping for at this point of the season with the district tournament slated to start next week.
“That was exactly the type of game we wanted because it continues to help us stress what the girls need to work on, it allowed the girls to have to fight back really hard and I’m really impressed what we were able to accomplish yesterday,” said Gaicopuzzi. “Archbishop was totally a different team and it forced us to bring our ‘A’ game and I’m really proud of the way we did it.”
The coach stated she was particularly pleased with the play of Ella Baxter, who scored three goals and distributed an assist but, most importantly for the coach, who also had six draw controls.
“When you win the draws you control the pace of the game, so those were incredibly valuable to us,” said Giacopuzzi.
Naomi Grabus also had a trio of scores as well as winning three draw controls and six ground balls, while Scarlett McMonigle scored twice and controlled four draws and Bella Marchiano finished with two assists and six ground balls. Devan Bittner contributed a goal, assist, a draw control and five ground balls, Sophia Braswell scored once and had two assists, Logan Simmons added a goal and assist, while Ericka Tunay scored once.
“We have so many good performances from our midfielder and defenders,” said Giacopuzzi. “I was preaching to my players to play fast, to play smart and play patient. We did that pretty much for the entire game and at the end there, when they were coming back, goal-by-goal, we just needed to get control of the match and run the clock out from there.”
Gemma Egan was able to hold the Mavericks at bay with three saves, subbing out Ocean Leto who earned the start for her debut in goal.
The duo did just enough to garner the one-run victory, which was the high-pressure situation the Key West coach was hoping for and is looking for again during the regular-season finale on Friday, April 9, at Calvary Christian. After that, Key West will enter the district tournament as the No. 2 seed, where they will be waiting for the winner between Miami Country Day and Palmer Trinity in the semifinals on Wednesday, April 14.
“They will be a tough game, which will allow us continue to improve and maybe learn a couple of things headed into next week,” Giacopuzzi said about the regular-season finale against Calavary. “I think we will be ready and I want our girls to be confident when that pressure is applied so they can make the smart move for the team.”