xml:space="preserve">

FINKSBURG - Emily Chun is one of four seniors on Gerstell Academy's girls lacrosse team, so she won't be around when the Falcons achieve their goal of becoming an official member of a private-school league.

Chun can take solace that she's helping this year's team succeed in the early stages of the season, one that could give the program its identity for the future. The Falcons attacker scored five goals to lead Gerstell past St. Maria Goretti 14-4 on Tuesday.

Gerstell has won three of four to start the spring thanks to offensive efforts from players such as Chun, junior Madison Harman and sophomore Casey Webbert. The Falcons had six different players score against Goretti (3-5), with freshman Sarah Eline netting three goals and senior Aubry Pressman scoring two.

Webbert added a pair of goals in the win as Gerstell outscored Goretti 9-2 in the second half.

The visiting Gaels are part of the Independent-Parochial School League, which started in 2010 and could be a possible home for Gerstell in the near future. The IPSL includes Goretti and St. James from Washington County, Maryland School for the Deaf and St. John's-Catholic Prep from Frederick County, and Mercersburg Academy from southern Pennsylvania.

The goal is for the Falcons to one day compete in the prestigious Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland, which features the likes of McDonogh, Garrison Forest and Maryvale Prep. But entry into the league is a lengthy process, so for now the Falcons wait and try to win the games on their schedule in an effort to showcase their mettle.

"We've made a lot of progress," Chun said. "I'm not going to be here next year, but I'm really hoping we can join a conference pretty soon. This year's looking pretty good and I'm looking forward to the future games."

Harman said the Falcons have made significant strides since practices began in the spring. Gerstell fields six freshmen and eight sophomores, and Harman said some of the underclassmen were unsure of their skills when the season started. Now they're attacking the opposing defense and playing hard for first-year coach Erin Chisnell.

"We're a small school so we're all really close," Harman said. "We just help each other out. We're all about leadership here. I've been a lot of progress and improvements from the first day."

Chisnell said so has she.

The 2010 University of Oregon graduate returned to Maryland to coach the Falcons - Chisnell played her high school lacrosse at Franklin - and said her young bunch is continuing to mesh and get better against a quality schedule.

"They've gotten used to our coaching style," Chisnell said. "The transition between coaches, they've had so many different coaches over the years, but they've picked it up pretty well."

Webbert, one of Gerstell's captains, said it's going to be satisfying once the Falcons find a home and can compete for championships. Webbert said she and her teammates are motivated by their boys team, which is in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association. Plus, Gerstell's boys soccer team won the MIAA C Conference championship last fall.

"Instead of just playing games, we can play to win a championship," Webbert said. "Maybe hang a flag up in our [gym] like the guys. We want to be up there."

Goals: SMG-Jessica Swarner 3, Jean Hogan; G-Emily Chun 5, Sarah Eline 3, Aubry Pressman 2, Casey Webbert 2, Tyra France, Madison Harman.

Assists: SMG-none; G-Pressman 2, Harman, Megan Friner.

Saves: SMG-6 (Denise Wells); G-8 (Sarah Balogh).

Halftime: Gerstell, 5-2.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement