APEX — Panther Creek’s new faces on the girls lacrosse team know they have to prove themselves this season.
In Thursday’s season opener, they proved their resolve.
In a wild goal-filled frenzy, the Catamounts rallied to defeat Middle Creek 16-15. Panther Creek hasn’t lost to the Mustangs since 2009, but that looked to be in jeopardy as the team trailed 14-11 with 17 minutes left in the game.
A better defensive effort from the Catamounts (1-0, 1-0) held the Mustangs (0-1, 0-1) without a goal over almost 11 minutes. Meanwhile, Panther Creek tied the game with 9:24 left on the clock.
“I think we became more aware of the ground balls and we got the draws,” said first-year PC coach Allison DuChon. “We came together collectively and came back on them.”
Middle Creek’s go-ahead score was supplied by Holly Hite (five goals) with a little more than six minutes left, but Panther Creek added scores at the five-minute (Sarah Oeschlin) and 3:57 (Madeline Pillar) mark.
“When it gets intense like that, you’ve got to keep going. We have a great team, and I’m proud to be a Catamount,” said Oeschslin, who had a game-high six goals and added two assists. “They were triple-teaming, and I just kept fighting. My team had great passes.”
Panther Creek’s Kelly Kearnan added five goals (two assists), while Pillar had three and Audrey Everett had two (one assist). Madison McGroarty and Paige Kearnan had one assist apiece.
Despite the loss, the 15 goals matched Middle Creek’s highest output of last year.
“They’re really creative, and they look upfield all the time. They’re looking for the next person to move the ball. The transition game is hopefully going to be one of the best that Middle Creek has had,” coach Rosemarie Piccirillo said.
Piccirillo singled out Emma Lopes (four goals), Sam Caputo (three goals) and Madison Boudreau (three goals) as some of the reasons why this year’s team has improved passing.
Blake: 919-460-2606; Twitter: @JMBpreps