Upper Perk's Devon Kriebel scoops up the ball as a pair of Southern Lehigh players race toward her during Friday's first game of the season for the Indians.
Two veterans and two youngsters paced a balanced attack as the Upper Perk girls lacrosse team opened its season with convincing 10-5 win over Southern Lehigh on Friday. Senior Rachael Keeney, junior Kayla Smith, sophomore Aubrey Wilcox, and freshman Morgan Rynn combined for nine of the goals in the victory.
Keeney scored two of her three goals in the first half, including opening the scoring at 22:37. After Southern Lehigh tied the game on a goal by Laura Chovan, Rynn scored the first of her two goals less than a minute later to give the Tribe the lead for good.
Keeney notched her second goal a short time later and Smith added two goals to give the Tribe a 5-1 lead at halftime. Smith also had two assists.
The second half was more of the same as Upper Perk dominated play, out-shooting the Lady Spartans 25-11 for the game.
The Tribe opened the second half scoring when Maddy Fox cut down the middle and put a low shot past Southern Lehigh goalie Cailyn Broki two and a half minutes in.
Wilcox scored back-to-back goals four and a half minutes apart to increase the Tribe’s lead to 8-2.
Rynn and Keeney closed out Upper Perk’s scoring to make the advantage 10-2 before the Lady Spartans tallied three late goals.
Keeney, a co-captain, along with fellow senior Devon Kriebel, welcomed the output from her young teammates, especially since the team is shorthanded on personnel.
“This year, we’re definitely hurting for numbers,” Keeney said. “I was really impressed with how the underclassmen have stepped up.”
Head coach Melissa Furey had high praise for Rynn. “She’s doing great. She doesn’t play like a freshman. She’s doing a really good job.”
In addition to numbers issues, the Tribe has been battling through some key injuries. Senior Carrie Nyce returned from a hamstring injury and saw limited action against Southern Lehigh, and junior Emily Leight has been sitting out with concussion symptoms.
More offensive responsibility fell on Keeney’s shoulders on Friday, and she obviously responded.
“Last year, I was primarily doing defense. Now with people being injured, I’ve been playing a little more midfield,” she said. “Hopefully, I’ll just continue to grow as an athlete.”
The Tribe is adjusting to a new type of offense Furey is installing in order to play to the strengths of her team.
“They’re taking to the offense definitely. There are still some kinks to work out,” the coach said.
Furey was also happy with her defense, especially Sam Dingler and goalie Katie Lederer.
Dingler completely shut down the Lady Spartans' best player, and Lederer, while idle for long stretches, came up with big saves when called upon.
“Defensively, we were having trouble in our scrimmages, and they definitely picked it up, definitely did what we’ve been working on,” said Furey, “All around they all played really well.”
The Tribe opened the PAC-10 season this week and is optimistic that the team will be battling for a playoff berth.
“Hopefully, I think if we keep playing and keep improving, we should be a contender in the PAC-10. It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be a challenge. We definitely have to work. These kids, they want to work. They’re out here to work.”