Barnegat Girls Lacrosse Team Rebounds After Opening Loss

Apr 03, 2019
Photo by: David Biggy Barnegat’s Madelyn Santorelli splits a pair of defenders on her way to the goal during the Bengals’ 7-5 loss to Middletown South on March 27.

Winning in lacrosse doesn’t require some magic formula. It’s a possession game, after all. And maintaining possession while generating good scoring opportunities generally leads to positive results.

That was the bulk of the problem for the Barnegat girls lacrosse team during the first half of its season-opening contest against Middletown South on March 27 – the Bengals simply didn’t possess the ball enough times to be effective. Hence, they were trailing the Eagles, 5-3, at halftime.

“At times we looked awesome, and at other times we looked slow,” said coach Lyndsey Torre, whose squad ended up losing its opener, 7-5, but rebounded with a victory on April 1 to start the season 1-1. “When you don’t control the draws, you don’t win games. When we had the ball, we were able to control things on offense. But that’s the key: You have to have the ball to control things offensively.”

The Bengals won the opening draw and came up empty on their first shots on goal during the first minute of the contest. But the Eagles withstood the initial pressure, clogged the middle really well and countered effectively, scoring on their first shot moments later. South took a 2-0 lead just over five minutes into the game.

“We were too quiet on defense in the first half,” Torre said. “We had to put more pressure on the outside, and we just didn’t do that well during most of the first half.”

Just over 12 minutes into the game, Barnegat’s offense finally connected a bit, as Kyla Rauch fired a shot past the opposing goaltender to trim the lead to a goal. Three minutes later, Madeline Schleicher – who entered the season with 86 career goals – tied the contest on a shot from 12 yards away.

However, the Eagles regained possession and carried the play for much of the next 10 minutes, taking a 4-2 lead in the process. Madelyn Santorelli stopped the bleeding when she got in close and tossed in the Bengals’ third goal, but South took a two-goal cushion into the second half and ultimately made it stand up.

Alexis Jackson again cut the lead to a goal when she cut into the middle of the field, Schleicher delivered a perfect pass from behind the goal and Jackson zipped the ball into the goal with 23:31 left. The Eagles then scored the next two goals to take a 7-4 lead into the final three minutes.

Schleicher scored her second goal of the contest with 2:41 to go, running into the middle from the outside before whipping a shot into the lower left corner from 8 yards away to make it 7-5, but the Bengals couldn’t muster anymore offense after the Eagles controlled the next draw and ran down the clock.

“Today was a good test for us,” Torre said. “It took a whole season when I came here to get these girls their confidence within our division. Now we’re developing their confidence outside of the division. We want them to be confident no matter who we’re playing and just play Barnegat lacrosse.

“But I see a team that finally has some confidence. Our girls are realizing that not only can we play against teams outside of our division, especially some of the Monmouth County teams, but we actually can hang with them, and that has built their confidence. Middletown South is a good team, and we were in the game the whole time.”

During their 8-7 win over Central Regional on Monday, the Bengals against trailed at the half, 4-3, but managed five second-half goals to come away with the victory. Schleicher scored three goals, while Ashley Pringle and Jackson each tossed in two goals, and Chloe McGee added a goal. Santorelli handed out two assists. Goaltender Gabby Furrule made five saves.

“The good thing is we’re still a young team,” Torre said. “We just have to make some adjustments. So that’s what we’ll do. We’ll clean up some little things, tweak a few things on offense, and go up from here. I see a positive season ahead for us.”

— David Biggy

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