The OTHS girls lacrosse team’s 5-0 start to their 2017 campaign was tempered a bit in their most recent games.
A victory over Westminster highlighted the efforts of Coach Rob Garrison’s squad. However, the win was sandwiched by losses to John Burroughs and Kirkwood. Despite the glitch, the Lady Panthers still boast a 6-2 mark as they face a gauntlet of big games this week against Belleville West, Villa Duchesne and MICDS.
The OTHS girls suffered their first loss of the season to John Burroughs 13-8. Seven different players scored for the Missouri powerhouse, but the Lady Panthers matched JB goal for goal through the first half and well into the second stanza before succumbing to an opportunistic John Burroughs offense. Georgie Gaab and Lizzie Bellina led O’Fallon offensively, scoring four and three goals respectively. Senior Taylor Grout and freshman Maddie Dalonzo also were major contributors for the Panthers, according to Garrison.
With 13 minutes remaining in the contest, Burroughs led by two goals, forcing O’Fallon to step up their attack in the offensive end.
“Trailing by two goals forced us into going away from our game plan a bit and taking more risks on offense,” Garrison explained. “Unfortunately, that backfired on us, as the John Burroughs attackers took advantage of our weakened defensive positioning to increase their lead. We’ve played JB the last four years, and this might have been the best team that we have faced over that time span. They just didn’t make any mistakes.”
The OTHS girls bounced back quickly from their first loss with a hard-fought 11-8 victory over Westminster, ranked ahead of O’Fallon in the high school polls. Two quick goals by the Panthers started the game on a positive note, but Westminster answered with three unanswered scores to briefly lead 3-2. Behind the stellar offensive play of Georgie Gaab, Taylor Grout and Lizzy Bellina, O’Fallon rallied. Gaab led the attack with four goals. Grout and Bellina contributed two each, and Maddie Dalonzo served as the set-up player, winning seven draw controls.
The Lady Panthers got off to another quick start in their next encounter against Kirkwood, scoring a pair of goals in the first minute of play. Kirkwood retaliated with three consecutive goals, and the two squads played out the remainder of the first half on even terms with the score deadlocked 6-6 at the intermission.
“Our girls had difficulty stopping their fast break in the first half,” Garrison said. “We didn’t play as well as we could against their attack. Kirkwood was able to beat us to the loose balls consistently throughout the game, and that ended up being a decisive factor. Gaab, Dalonzo and Bellina each scored two goals, but the opportunistic Kirkwood squad carried the day, winning 15-7.
“We’re hoping to return to form in our next series of contests beginning with Belleville West,” Garrison said. “The game against West will be exciting in that we are trying very hard to establish lacrosse in the metro-east, and this is a significant step in that direction.”