The St. Paul’s girls lacrosse team waited two weeks to return to the field.
The team was sidelined all of last week with several players quarantined because of COVID-19. The players practiced inside the confines of their homes, awaiting the chance to play once more. On Monday afternoon, the Gators celebrated a victory in style, defeating Roland Park, 18-4.
Josie Hahn got things started for St. Paul’s with the first goal of the game. The Florida commit pushed the pace in the midfield and delivered swift passes to her teammates for goals. Hahn had a bit more pep in her step, citing the long layoff as the biggest reason for her excitement.
“It was nice to finally be able to play again,” Hahn said. “I think we were just so ready to get out there and get the first goal and start the game off on the right foot. [Especially] since we’ve been practicing on our own and not being able to be able to play together. So, just being out there together again is a nice way to be able to start off.”
Gators attacker Caitlin McElwee made her presence felt as well, scoring three goals, including two in the first half. The James Madison commit slashed and dashed across the field to put Roland Park on its heels, crediting her teammates for drawing attention away from her attacks.
“I think the reason that I was able to do that was because of my teammates,” McElwee said. “Of course it’s very important for all of us to keep a high energy out there and I know that we can get in our heads sometimes, but today we all played as a team. So, I don’t think it was just me pouring it on, it was my teammates looking for the best opportunity out there.”
St. Paul’s coach Mary Gagnon kept her team engaged with cheers for each player that scored and a ton of pats on the back. Building camaraderie is something the Gators coach preaches on a daily basis, and she expects her team to lift each other up throughout each game.
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“We pride ourselves on our sideline and everything,” Gagnon said. “We’ve developed that throughout the years about team. They love supporting each other, no matter who’s on the field or who’s on the sideline, they love that. They come up with cheers for each of the girls — it’s great. We have a good sense of team, a community feel, and we all love each other.”
Hahn scored her first goal at the 24:47 mark and Natalie Shurtleff (22:20) followed to give the Gators a 2-0 lead. Hahn scored her second goal with 21:44 remaining and Esprit Cha (19:50) added a goal. Kendall Steer (18:14) and Frannie Hahn (14:37) put St. Paul’s up 6-0. Shurtleff (10:11) and McElwee (9:24) extended the lead to 8-0.
Grayson Woodward (8:08) netted Roland Park its first goal at the 8:08 mark. Shurtleff (7:44) then scored her third goal and McElwee netted her second (6:10). Frannie Hahn followed up with two more goals, with a goal wedged in between by Lauren Steer to give St. Paul’s a 13-1 lead at the half.
Josie Hahn, McElwee, Frannie Hahn and Cait Gross scored to open the second half to give the Gators a 17-1 lead. Wynne Moffett scored Roland Park’s second goal, but Steer answered for the 18-2 lead. Jane Fox and Moffett scored the final two goals of the game for Roland Park.
While Meg Miller’s squad dropped to 0-6 on the season, the Reds continued to lift one another up on the sideline throughout the game. The team started to regain its footing in the final few minutes.
“I think that one thing for us is our support for one another and staying positive,” Miller said. “It’s really important that we’re trying to get better no matter what the situation is and we’re trying to pull a positive from the situation. If a play doesn’t go our way or a game doesn’t go our way, what are some of the positives that we can take from that and build on those moving forward.”