Girls lacrosse: Benet edges Neuqua Valley in sectional thriller
The arrow continued to point up for Benet Academy's girls lacrosse team after it edged Neuqua Valley 14-13 in Friday night's St. Francis sectional final in Wheaton.
Benet junior attack Julia Lindemann's right index finger?
Part of it pointed due east, briefly, in the first half, the result of a dislocation.
"You know what she told me a little later?" first-year Redwings coach Amanda Kammes recounted after her squad improved to 19-3. "She said, 'Don't worry, Coach. I put it back in place.' No way was that going to keep her from playing.
"Grit," the 2001 Benet Academy graduate and former Penn women's basketball coach added. "That's what this team is all about."
True. But talent also had something to do with top-seeded Benet's performance in the highly competitive contest against third-seeded Neuqua Valley (15-5).
Redwings sophomore middie Shannon Earley -- fast and savvy and resolute atop Kuhn Memorial Stadium's blue turf -- poured in 4 of her game-high 5 goals in the first half and had 2 clutch steals late in the first half. Benet junior middie Jamie Weber also played brilliantly and relentlessly, scoring 4 goals to go with 3 assists.
Benet sophomore goalkeeper Madeline Jensen finished with an impressive 13 saves, with 2 coming on shots from point-blank range at the 11:03 and 9:53 marks of the second half.
And the girls from Lisle played the entire second half with a player down because they had amassed four yellow cards in an 8-8 first half.
"We had to tighten up defensively, and that's what we did," said Earley, one of five Redwings who earned all-sectional honors.
"Good win," said a smiling Lindemann, showing no signs of pain from her damaged digit.
The victory placed Benet in Tuesday's Hinsdale Central supersectional against Hinsdale Central, which defeated visiting York 11-4 in another sectional final Friday night.
The supersectional in Northfield starts at 5 p.m.
Redwings freshman middie Gianna Kurelko netted 3 goals, and sophomore middie/defender Dagny Tombaugh finished with 2 goals and 1 assist.
Neuqua Valley, which upset second-seeded St. Charles (coop) 10-7 in a sectional semifinal Wednesday, trailed 4-1 at 14:06 of the first half but battled admirably until the end. The Wildcats took leads of 6-5 and 8-7 and tied Benet at 10 and 11 in the second half.
Weber's final goal, with 4:32 remaining, gave the Redwings a 14-11 cushion. Neuqua responded with tallies from senior attack/middie Ali Ward and junior middie Molly Keen at 3:23 and 0:40, respectively.
"Great game," Wildcats coach John Scanlon said. "That was awesome lacrosse -- what it should be. I couldn't be prouder.
"It came down to details," he added. "We made a few errors on offense, which allowed Benet more opportunities and put pressure on our defense. Regardless of the situation, my team never gave up, played clean lacrosse the whole time and kept going."
Ward, senior middie Jill Dennison and sophomore middie/attack Zawadi Brown scored 3 goals apiece against a program that finished fourth at state last spring. Keen finished with 2 goals, and senior attack Rachel Lachenicht dished 5 assists, upping her season total to a team-best 47.