Second chances don’t come around often.
When Gilmour Lancers’ junior attacker Sadie Morley approached the net for the potential game-winner against the Chardon Hilltoppers’ girls lacrosse team last Thursday evening at Weber Stadium, all she cared about was finding a way to score.
Lady Hilltoppers’ sophomore goalkeeper Makenna Ricketts snared the shot to keep the game tied at 9-9 and send it into overtime. Chardon’s relief was short-lived when the referees blew their whistles, signaling Morley had been fouled on her shot.
She had one more chance to win it for her team.
“I was so scared,” she admitted. “The nerves were so big. I almost wish we went into overtime because I’m so bad under pressure.”
Morley overcame her nerves to convert the free possession shot with just 2.5 seconds remaining and the Lady Lancers walked off Chardon 10-9.
“We played together as a team,” said Gilmour Coach Gretchen Burkey. “They were having fun. They were just out there playing the game of lacrosse that they know how to play.”
It had been a long time since Gilmour (3-4-0) was all smiles. It didn’t have a lot to be happy about over the past few weeks having lost four of its five contests prior to Thursday’s victory.
Burkey attributed the Lady Lancers’ recent struggles to lack of practice and playing opportunities.
“We’ve been having to continuously practice inside,” the second-year coach explained. “The extreme weather changes are extremely hard to adapt to. We had sunny weather and then it was really cold this past week. We’ve had to take a breath and try and work through some things because there’s always an obstacle in our way but we’ve been doing the best we can to get through it.”
It looked like the same story for Gilmour at the beginning of the game when the Lady Hilltoppers took an early lead.
The score was tied at 2-2 but the Hilltoppers (8-3-0) scored five unanswered goals to take a 7-2 advantage near the end of the first half.
According to Chardon Coach Alison Platz, her team’s midfielder speed surprised the Lady Lancers initially.
Freshman attacker Payton Platz ignited the Hilltoppers’ offense by scoring two of their first three goals then junior midfielder Stella Parrish took the reins and scored three goals.
The Lady Hilltoppers controlled the draw by going six-of-nine in the circle.
Gilmour caught fire in the final minute of the first half when it scored two goals in a span of less than 00:20, trimming the lead to 7-4.
Both goals came with the Lady Lancers’ playing with a girl down because senior attacker Ava Moe was issued a yellow card, sidelining her for two minutes.
Morley admitted it was a surprise to see Gilmour score two goals with a player down.
“We’ve been a man down a couple of times before,” she noted. “It was great for us to work the ball around in this game and I was really proud of our whole team.”
Gilmour carried its momentum into the second half and scored three unanswered goals to tie the score at 7-7 after freshman attacker Alyssa Kraig ripped one in the net off an assist from junior attacker Rylyn Anderson at the 12:13 mark.
Chardon’s offense hit a wall having not scored since 2:55 remaining in the first period.
Platz admitted her team was not moving its feet fast enough to slow down the Lady Lancers.
“I think a lot of it was the footwork and some frustrations that they had from not playing the way they want to be playing,” the second-year coach said.
After seeing its lead evaporate, Chardon found its second wind when Parrish came to the rescue by scoring two unanswered goals to take a 9-7 lead with about 3:16 left.
The Lady Lancers had another run in them when senior defender Abby Minello scored on a free possession shot with 2:05 left.
Parrish was issued a yellow card for committing the foul, sidelining her for the rest of the game.
Gilmour’s comeback continued when senior midfielder Maddie Fitzpatrick evened the score at 9-9 off an assist from freshman attacker Shannon Ahearn at the 1:36 mark.
Chardon tried holding final possession and had a chance to take the lead when Platz was awarded a free possession shot but junior goalkeeper Ziya Dimas made the save.
It looked like the Lady Lancers would hold possession to run out the clock and send the game into overtime but Morley had other ideas.
Burkey believes this victory will serve as a confidence booster for her team and help them realize they are still in the thick of things.
Gilmour carried the momentum and soundly defeated Youngstown Cardinal Mooney 10-1 in a road game on April 30 to improve its record to 4-4-0.
Following a home contest against Chagrin Falls on May 3, the Lady Lancers will welcome Stow-Munroe Falls to Gates Mills at 5 p.m. on May 5.
Meanwhile, after a home game against Cardinal Mooney on May 4, Chardon will host Brecksville-Broadview Heights at Chardon Memorial Field at 2:30 p.m. on May 7.