Oakcrest girls lacrosse gives max effort in loss to Middle

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oakgirlslax Matt Strabuk/Oakcrest freshman Teagan Hay scored four goals in the loss to Middle. HAMILTON TOWNSHIP – The Oakcrest High School girls lacrosse team gave the Middle Township Panthers everything they could handle on Monday, April 28.

Everything, that is, except their first loss.

Unbeaten Middle won a very close and competitive game, 15-13, at Oakcrest. Middle's Bridget Rusky scored six goals, including the eventual game-winner with 3:06 left. Maddie Anagnou scored her 200th career goal for Middle (12-0).

Oakcrest freshman Teagan Hay scored four goals, while Valaniece Martin and Dominique Barber had three goals apiece and Alexis Sutley tallied two goals and two assists for the Falcons (6-4).

Each goalie – Oakcrest’s Khadijah Coleman and Middle’s Cortney Laing – made eight saves.

“It was a battle,” said Oakcrest first-year coach Abbie Mullin. “I couldn’t be more pleased with that effort. That (Middle) is an undefeated team with a lot of senior experience and girls that have been playing together since second grade. For our girls to come out and give that max effort, I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

The game was tied at halftime, 8-8. Jenna Herlihy scored to give Middle a 13-12 lead with 5:40 left, but Barber tied it for Oakcrest with 4:27 left. Rusky scored the eventual game-winner off a stoppage with 3:06 left. The Falcons had one last chance to tie the game late but lost possession on a turnover.

“They hung tough, they really did,” Mullin said. “They never got down on themselves. When you’re playing a team like this and you get down a few goals, it’s hard to stay in it and keep your intensity up, but we kept our intensity up the entire game.”

It was a big improvement on the team’s first meeting this season, an 18-4 Middle win. The teams could meet again in the NJSIAA Group II South playoffs. Mullin said the Falcons’ goal is to get past the first round for the first time in program history.

“It’s been nothing but a pleasure so far,” Mullin said of her first year at Oakcrest. “I have a great group of kids. They work hard and they don’t ever give up.”

oakgirlslax1 Matt Strabuk/Oakcrest’s Allie Pham runs with the ball against Middle’s Bridget Rusky. oakgirlslax2 Matt Strabuk/Oakcrest’s Alexis Sutley chases after Middle’s Bridget Rusky. oakgirlslax3 Matt Strabuk/Oakcrest’s Dom Barber (21) and Alexis Sutley (1) fight for possession of the ball against Middle’s Danielle McLann (5) and Natalie Hand (4). oakgirlslax4 Matt Strabuk/Oakcrest’s Jamie Hutler looks for an opening against Middle defenders Sarah Bright (10) and Natalie Hand (4). oakgirlslax5 Matt Strabuk/Oakcrest’s Courtney DeFalco shoots the ball against Middle.

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