Decatur Girls Dominate Rivals, 16-4

BERLIN – The highly anticipated girls’ varsity lacrosse
match-up between friendly neighborhood rivals Stephen Decatur and Worcester
Prep on Monday proved to be a little lopsided with the Seahawks jumping out to
an early lead and cruising to the fairly easy 16-4 win.

It’s always special when Decatur and Worcester face each
other in any sport, but lacrosse seems to be the focal point of the old
rivalry. The girls on both teams are very familiar with each other and often
compete together on summer, fall and winter travel teams and tournament teams.
Many of them live in the same neighborhoods and came up through the same youth

When the calendar turns to spring and the local players
head off to their respective high school teams, it’s all business and
off-season teammates become familiar rivals again. With neighborhood bragging
rights for an entire year on the line, the two teams faced off at Worcester
Prep on a sun-drenched, windy afternoon on Monday in front of a big bi-partisan
crowd with the Seahawks continuing their recent mastery over the Mallards.

Worcester dominated the series for several years while the
fledgling program at Decatur matured, but the Seahawks have risen from a club
level team just five years ago to a girls’ high school lacrosse powerhouse on
the Eastern Shore. Decatur beat Worcester 16-2 last year for the first-ever win
over its cross-town rival and nearly duplicated the performance again this year
with the 16-4 win on Monday.

The Seahawks got on the board early, jumping out to a
quick 4-0 lead just eight minutes into the contest and were never really
challenged the rest of the way. Sarah Braniecki got the Seahawks on the board
first with a goal just over two minutes into the contest for the first of three
she would score in the first eight minutes. After Ellie Tilghman scored to make
it 2-0, Braniecki scored again on a feed from Ali Lathroum to make it 3-0 and
scored again on a penalty shot less than a minute later to extend the lead to
4-0 with just over 17 minutes left in the first half.

Braniecki scored again with just over 15 minutes remaining
in the first half to make it 5-0 and Katie Blazer added another goal just 42
seconds later and the Seahawks led 6-0. Worcester tightened up its defense and
goalie Melanie Leiner made some great saves for the Mallards during a
12-minute-plus stretch in the first half to keep the score at 6-0, which is
exactly what Worcester needed if it was going to have a chance to get back in
the game.

But the Mallards could generate little in terms of offense
and was not able to cut into the Decatur lead. Ellie Tilghman scored on a
penalty shot at the 3:12 mark in the first half to extend the lead to 7-0,
which is where the score stood at intermission. With Decatur leading 7-0 at the
break, the big crowd seemed to sense a blowout was in the offing, but with
Worcester’s ability to score in bunches in a hurry, nobody was heading home

True to form, Worcester scored a goal on a penalty shot by
Jackie Wangel just 40 seconds into the second half to cut the lead to 7-1, but
Decatur answered with another goal by Braniecki just 15 seconds later to push
the lead to 8-1. Blazer, Amy Buckley and Katie Priestley each scored in quick
succession for Decatur during a two-minute stretch during the early part of the
first half to push the lead to 11-1.

Wangel scored again for Worcester off a perfect feed on
the crease with just over 19 minutes remaining to make it 11-2, but once again,
Braniecki had the answer less than a minute later with her sixth goal of the
game to make it 12-2. Decatur’s Olivia Turner then got in the act, scoring two
goals in less than a minute to push the lead to 14-2.

Kristen Chandler got the Mallards back on the scoreboard with a quick-stick
goal at the 12:20 mark to cut the lead to 14-3, but Decatur added two more
quick goals by Turner and Bethany Howell to make it 16-3. Chandler scored a
fast-break goal for Worcester with just 2:04 remaining for the game’s final