WILMINGTON — Wilmington Friends built a 9-4 lead over Ursuline with 17:52 to go in their Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association first-round lacrosse state tournament game on May 18, then withstood a furious Raiders rally to take a 10-9 decision. The Quakers, seeded 10th in the 12-team bracket, will travel to No. 2 Sussex Academy on Saturday in a quarterfinal matchup.
The Quakers and Raiders, who were the No. 7 seed, met just nine days prior to Wednesday’s battle, which ended with the Raiders on top, 12-7. But this time around, Friends used its defense and took advantage of some Ursuline turnovers to get out in front early on.
The teams traded the first four goals of the afternoon. Chloe Bethea-Jones of Ursuline and Friends’ Elizabeth Hebert matched 8-meter opportunities before the Quakers took the lead on a goal by Alexandra Donahue. That goal was quickly answered by Bethea-Jones on another 8-meter. That was the Raiders’ last tally, however, for the next 12 minutes.
Hebert started the 4-0 Quakers run with 15:15 left in the half, going top shelf after a restart. A steal for the Quakers was rushed upfield, and Madeline Rowland found Molly Dolan, who buried a shot at the 14:17 mark to up the lead to 4-2. Two minutes later, Rowland connected on an 8-meter chance. Finally, Hebert connected, and the lead was 6-2 with 9:31 left in the half.
Isabella Koechert ended the drought for the Raiders with 5:01 to go, scoring on a wraparound after a restart. The goalkeepers, Ursuline’s Amelia Cradler and Friends’ Lucy Wood, kept it that way with matching big saves, but Donahue took advantage of an 8-meter chance.
Each team tallied in the final 36 seconds of the first half, and the Quakers took an 8-4 lead into intermission.
The first seven minutes of the second half were scoreless, but Rowland restored Friends’ five-goal lead at the 17:52 mark. The Raiders started controlling the draws and eliminating turnovers, and the comeback began quickly. Bethea-Jones hit on another 8-meter with 16:55 to go, as did Sophia Shroyer four minutes later. After Shroyer’s goal, Wood made a fantastic save to keep the lead at three, but that didn’t last.
Cradler robbed Donahue, leading to an Ursuline rush. With 9:36 to go, Koechert came from behind the net, stopped abruptly and shot, finding the top of the net. With 9:36 on the clock. The Raiders won the draw and then went up a player after a penalty on the Quakers. Koechert capitalized, going top shelf once more, cutting the Friends’ advantage to 9-8 with 8:21 left.
The Quakers ended the Raiders’ run with 6:30 to go. Hebert sent a bouncer into the net, but the drama was not done. After another penalty on the Quakers, Vivian Wiggins set up behind the net. Koechert cut toward Wood, took a pass from Wiggins and one-timed it into the cage with 2:59 to go.
The Raiders had a few chances to tie the game, but they could not convert. The Quakers got possession back late and were able to run the final 90 seconds off the clock, extending their season by at least one more game.
Hebert led the Quakers with four goals, and Donahue and Rowland each had two. Wood finished with 10 saves. The Quakers take a 10-6 record into their game at Sussex Academy, which begins at 4 p.m.
Koechert had four goals and Bethea-Jones three. Wood made 10 saves. The Raiders finished 11-5.
All photos by Mike Lang.