Ocean City Today

Decatur girls’ lax team wins 3A/2A East Region title

By Managing Editor, Lisa Capitelli | May 18, 2017
Courtesy of: KRISTIN VANKIRK Members of the Stephen Decatur girls’ lacrosse team are all smiles after captured their fourth consecutive 3A/2A East Region championship on Wednesday, with a 12-7 victory over Huntingtown, in Huntingtown.

(May 19, 2017) The Stephen Decatur girls’ lacrosse team captured its fourth consecutive 3A/2A East Region championship title, winning Wednesday’s game against the Huntingtown Hurricanes, 12-7.

“They played well. We had to get off the bus and do a quick warm up in the heat after being on the bus for a while due to a traffic backup,” Decatur Coach Sara Braniecki said. “They were mentally tough and pushed right through.

“We got off to a quick start,” she continued. “We dominated the draw. We had possession for a lot of the game, which was crucial.”

Decatur, the No. 2 seed in Section I of the 3A/2A East Region, scored five unanswered goals to start the game in Huntingtown. At halftime, the Lady Seahawks led 7-4.

Senior captain Christina Romano netted a quick shot early in the second half to proved Decatur with a four-goal advantage.

Huntingtown, the No. 1 seed in Section II, answered a few minutes later, followed by a four-goal run by the Berlin squad.

“The girls have really grown as a team lately and they deserved the regional title,” Braniecki said. “There’s so much talent on our team.”

Senior captain Claire Porter (three assists) and senior Victoria Kerkovich scored three goals apiece. Seniors Brigitte Ardis and Lexie VanKirk, a team captain, (two assists) chipped in with two goals each.

Romano (one assist) and junior Caroline Engle netted one shot apiece.

Senior captain, goalie Sara Mitrecic, stopped five Huntingtown shots.

Decatur advanced to the regional title game after edging out Section I top-seeded Kent Island Buccaneers, 11-10, on Monday in Stevensville.

“The girls played great. They took care of the ball [and] they took care of each other,” Braniecki said. “They were so well disciplined. They responded to everything I asked them to do … I’m bursting with pride. They played amazing.”

Decatur led 8-4 at halftime. Kent Island scored four goals to tie it 8-all less than five minutes into the second half.

Kerkovich put Decatur on top 9-8 with 20 minutes left to play. The Buccaneers evened it up with 13:26 on the clock, but goals by sophomore Logan Townsend and VanKirk provided the Seahawks with a two-goal cushion with 11 minutes left to play.

Kent Island cut Decatur’s lead to one with eight minutes remaining. The Seahawks were able to hold off the Buccaneers to secure the victory.

“We possessed the ball for a while. We lost possession with about three minutes left, then they threw the ball out bounds with about two minutes left,” Braniecki said. “After that, we were able to hold on to it but we were highly pressured.”

Braniecki praised junior Chloe Sass’ performance.

“Chloe Sass has been given very large defensive tasks the last few games and she has really stepped up to the plate to help our team handle our opponents’ biggest offensive threats,” she said.

Kerkovich led Decatur with five goals. VanKirk had four. Romano and Townsend each scored once. Porter recorded six assists and Mitrecic logged four saves.

“They played amazing lacrosse on the defensive end, the offensive end, and transitioning through the midfield,” Braniecki said. “Their composure showed their maturity as athletes.”

Decatur took down No. 3 Easton Warriors, 17-10,  last Friday in Berlin to advance to the sectional finals.

“They played with composure and determination. Again, they took care of each other on the field,” Braniecki said. “Some girls had specific roles on the field and they executed their jobs very well, which they could not have done without constant communication and support from [their] teammates around them.”

Kerkovich was Decatur’s top producer with seven goals. Junior Lily Belle Baker chipped in with three goals and one assists.

Porter had two goals and four assists. VanKirk tallied two goals and won seven draws. Mitrecic recorded four saves.

Decatur will battle the C. Milton Wright Mustangs, the 3A/2A North champions, in the state semifinals today, Friday, at 6 p.m. at Mt. Hebron High School in Ellicott City.

West Region champion, Oakdale, and South winner, Glenelg, will go head-to-head.

The winners of both games will meet in the state championship, which will take place either Tuesday or Wednesday at Stevenson University.

“They worked hard to get here and now they’ve got a regional title and we’ve got our eyes set on a bigger title,” Braniecki said.


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