MILLTOWN – St. Mark’s used a goal-scoring spree early in the second half to take control of what had been a tight contest as the Spartans rolled to a 15-7 win in girls lacrosse over Catholic rival Padua. St. Mark’s remained undefeated on the young season, while the Pandas suffered their first loss on a cold, damp day where spring remained just a cruel rumor.
Kendra Schweizer opened the second-half scoring, giving the Spartans a 7-5 lead, but it turned into the Megan Noonan Show after that. She scored three goals in a span of 2:49, prompting the Pandas to call a timeout and stretching the hosts’ lead to four.
On the first of those three scores, Noonan held the ball for about 20 seconds before planting a shot to the side of the net with 21:10 remaining in the game. The next tally came after she took a pass in stride about 30 yards from the net, ran in and beat Pandas goalkeeper Elizabeth Hennessy low at the 19:18 mark. Just 57 seconds later, she took a pass to the keeper’s right, drove the baseline and tucked the ball in.
The shell-shocked Pandas called a timeout, and they responded immediately. Ava Ruggieri used a spin move in front of the net to get some space and scored her second of the contest. The Pandas had chances to further close the gap, bu they missed on two free-position opportunities, and the Spartans’ goalkeeper came up with some big saves, including a rejection of Ruggieri from point-blank range.
Gabrielle O’Neal restored St. Mark’s four-goal lead at the 8:57 mark, going low after her team had run more than two minutes off the clock. Noonan closed the scoring for the game with a nifty wraparound with 93 seconds left on the clock.
Padua held the lead a few times in a first half that featured six goals before five minutes had elapsed. The Pandas won the opening faceoff, and Jordan Bramble cashed in nine seconds into the game. The Spartans scored twice in a 23-second span – from Sadie Leonard and Clare Estes – to take a 2-1 lead, but the Pandas’ Rachel Delate notched two of her own within 53 seconds to turn the deficit into a lead. Schweizer evened the contest nine seconds after Delate’s second goal. St. Mark’s eventually took a 6-3 lead, but two Pandas tallies narrowed that to 6-5 by halftime.
Noonan finished with five goals, while Estes had four and Schweizer three. The Spartans (3-0) host undefeated Middletown (2-0) on Thursday at 3:45 p.m.
For the Pandas (3-1), Delate had three goals, while Ruggieri and Bramble added two each. Padua plays at Wilmington Friends on Tuesday at 5 p.m.