After an impressive season, Lacrosse competes for state title

Friends-Central-Lax-April-2014-058
Grayson Melby ’15 battles with a Friends Central defender.

Throughout the season, GFS Girls’ Lacrosse was as much a Pennsylvania Independent Schools state title contender (PAISAA) as it had ever been. In fact, the team was recently ranked #20 in the state out of 240 teams, and #4 in the private school ranks. Coach Katie Bergstrom Mark has been building a successful program for years, with trips to the FSL finals all of the last six years, with league titles in 2008 and 2009. But the last four years have ended in losses to Friends Central in the league final.

The team knew this year was a chance to start of a new trend.

Through the FSL tournament, the Tigers roared to a 16-2 overall record and an astounding perfect 9-0 record in the Friends School League, counting a league semifinal victory over Moorestown Friends and a win in the final over Friends Central. Though this season was filled with important successes, Coach Bergstrom Mark said the two losses were important in this team’s maturation and quest for a state title.

“We’re really a finesse team, and we lost a game that was a tied at the half with Agnes Irwin, and the other loss at [Germantown Academy] was literally at the horn, so slowly, game by game, practice by practice, we’re building our grit and that’s going to really help us.”

The emergence of Annie Tyson and Greta Meyer as premier scorers and Dana Schulman’s excellence in the cage showed this team was a real threat, but on April 11, GFS took on the perennial league rival, Friends Central. Unlike past seasons, GFS pulled away with excellent defense and easily handled the Phoenix 19-8. After that win, it became clear that this team was special.

Though Coach Bergstrom Mark knew the team was the team to beat going into the league final, she also knew that the league title game could have been a whole different story, and indeed it was.

Just had Bergstrom Mark emphasised, the team came back from a 7-3 halftime deficit to win a gritty game 10-8, and end the four-year streak.

Then came the PAISAA state tournament. Going into the tournament, Bergstrom Mark said “There is no limit to the amount of talent this team has and I do believe we are one of the top teams in the state.” As she anticipated, our Tigers got a state-wide #4 seed, setting the team up with a big rematch against Springside-Chestnut Hill in the first round on May 19.

GFS closely beat SCH 13-12 back in April, but dominated them this time around, with an 11-4 halftime lead and a 14-9 final score. state, setting up a state semifinal against Agnes Irwin.

Though the team lost a heartbreaking, tightly-contested matchup with Agnes Irwin on May 21, the season was still one of the most successful in program history, and laid the groundwork for the team to be a major contender for years to come.