Girls lacrosse: Hersey’s early lead disappears in sectional loss to Crystal Lake

Crystal Lake Central co-op took advantage of Hersey penalties to secure a 12-7 win over the Huskies in the girls lacrosse sectional final in Arlington Heights Friday.

Crystal Lake scored six of their goals off penalty plays to win its third consecutive sectional title.

They will meet Lake Forest in Tuesday’s supersectional at Crystal Lake Central. Lake Forest beat Prospect 10-4 on Friday night.

“We are excited to get back to the supersectionals and play at home this year,” said Crystal Lake coach Joe Capalbo, whose team has been eliminated in the supersectionals by Lake Forest the past two years.

“Our speed has been very good. I thought in the past we weren’t as conditioned as well as we should be. We have spent the last two weeks conditioning in practice and trying to get ready for the state playoffs.”

Hersey (14-8), which had won sectional titles in the previous two seasons, got off to a fast start.

The Huskies dominated play in the offensive end, thanks to some very crisp passing. That enabled Kailee See to shake free during the first two long possessions and tally a pair of goals to make it 2-0.

Anna Starr was just that at the faceoff line for Crystal Lake. The sophomore was a key factor in her team getting extra possessions when she won a sizable number of the draws. That helped Crystal Lake surge ahead.

“It is important to get those possessions,” Starr said. “It gives us an opportunity to score and keep the ball away from them.”

Crystal Lake began to use its speed to take over. They scored four consecutive goals with Colleen Dunlea and Fiona Lemke each scoring and Addie Bechler scored twice to take a 4-2 lead. Dunlea and Bechler each scored after Hersey penalties.

See cut the margin to 4-3 with 3:19 left in the second quarter. But Crystal Lake went on a three-goal flurry to close out the half with Lemke scoring once and Bechler twice, including a goal with just one second left after a Hersey penalty.

“We like to play fast and keep the ball moving,” said Bechler, who would finish with five goals. “It gives us opportunities to open up the field.”

Hersey battled back to close to 8-6 with 3:28 left in the third quarter thanks to the play by Becky Hwang. She assisted on a goal Kate Donovan off a sweet pass. Hwang also scored a goal and assisted on Ava Harwood’s goal.

Only a goal by Dunlea kept Crystal Lake ahead.

“A big thing we have been working on is drawing and looking for our flies,” said Dunlea, who scored all three of her goals after penalties.

“I like the punch shots and running in. And a couple of cradles and punches. They are my go-to.”

Leading 8-6, Crystal Lake scored four unanswered goals to put the game away. Dunlea, Starr and Lemke each scored after penalties while Bechler also scored to make it 12-6.

Hersey’s Ellie Cataldo scored late in the game for the Huskies’ final goal.

“We had a good strategy,” Hersey coach Lindsay Baer said. “We had possessions early. We wanted to avoid those one-handed reaches. They just had a little more endurance. And they were able to get to the hash and really cause a lot of fouls. But I am really proud of our team. For a four-year old program, we are doing pretty good.”

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