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John Jay Girls Lacrosse Opens with Win

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By Rich MonettiPublished about a month ago 5 min read

On Thursday March 22, John Jay opened the season and found themselves in an intense back and forth with visiting Pelham. A cold, windy day, the weather didn’t stand a chance against a team looking to establish their identity, according to coach Jess McDonough. “They want to be known for their relentlessness,” she said, and Pelham was the first to find out.

After Molly Gallagher made a huge save at the end of the first overtime and then giving John Jay the possession at the beginning of the second, Jojo Degl scored at the buzzer to give John Jay a thrilling 10-9 sudden death victory.

The tally began on the Pelham side, though. The Pelicans took the opening draw, and Taylor Green almost didn’t notice that she was surrounded by Wolves. Relentless in her own right, she twisted among the morass and beat Gallagher at 10:56.

No separation in the cards, a Pelham turnover made sure. Jordan Kauftheil picked up the loose ball at midfield, and John Jay keeping the pressure on, Degl scored on the penalty to tie the game.

At 5:26, the score stayed status quo until the Wolf defense got things started in the final minute of the first. Jane Brennan converged on Green’s roll through the box, and Mary Murphy was quick on the stick.

The senior defender picked up the ball and sent Degl on the hunt. Taking the pass at midfield, the middie cut through the defense, and Scarlett Gristina was left to pick up the pieces. Specifically, the ball in the back of the net, and the goal at 41 seconds sent the Wolves into the second with a 2-1 lead.

Pelham’s turn, Green was far from done. Boxed in again by the Jay defense, the tall Pelican went below board and beat Gallagher with an underhand bouncer at 9:56.

Tied again, the Pelicans were quickly back flying south. But Gallagher was there, and went low to stop Mackenzie Peterson’s bouncer at 9:40.

Undeterred, the Pelican kept flapping, and Alex Dolan twice forced penalties to put the home team on edge. The second time the charm, she gave Pelham a 3-2 lead at 7:21.

Then the catchers had their say. First Gallagher reached up to snare Arden Keough’s shot, and back the other way, Gristina did the same to Degl.

A springboard for the Pelicans, Green was the usual suspect. This time going sidearm, she wrapped around from behind, and the two goal lead was the biggest of the game.

Not for long, the other Degl got into the act. Finja Degl picked up a loose ball, raced the field and dropped to Nicole DiNapoli on the right. Her pass inside freed Amelia Inglis, and the lead was one at 3:35.

On a roll, only the whistle could stop the younger sister. After Jojo secured the draw, Finja set up, put the moves on the triple team and beat Gristina. The penalty negating the goal, it only prolonged the inevitable, and the freshman scored on the free shot.

1:44 left in the half, there was still plenty of time. First Green came from behind with another under-hander, and for the halftime tie, a proud John Jay lineage continued.

Hanging around the hoop, Kaitlin Condon waited, received Inglis pass from the right and went overhand at :41.9 “Megan Condon left a wonderful legacy at John Jay. I am sure she is her sister’s biggest supporter, the coach asserted. “We are thrilled for Kaitlin as she starts to make her own mark on the lacrosse program.”

Into the third, Jojo played the waiting game too. On the right, she innocently meandered until Kauftheil darted into view, and the pass on target, the Wolf made it 6-5 at 10:08

Of course, Pelham wasn’t backing down. Off a Wolf turnover, Pelham set up, Keogh drew the penalty and scored to force another tie.

5:22 left in the third, the clock looked like it would wind down without incident, but John Jay closed for a third time. At X, Inglis held and ignored the crowd’s urgency as DiNapoli cruised over the middle. Instead, the sophomore rolled out front, drew the defense and hit Kauftheil for a 7-6 lead at :7.1.

There was no getting away, though, and Keogh made sure. The help of John Jay turnover in tow, Keough went straight on from the left and beat Gallagher for the tie.

In at 10:19, the Pelicans would get their last lead on the heels of Gristina’s catcher. A Jojo Degl pass sailing long had the Pelham goalie snaring and setting Green on the go. Choppy seas not a bother, the high scorer took off from behind Gallagher, leapt above the double team and shot sidearm for an 8-7 game.

Another Gristina save on the way, the mastery didn’t pay dividends this time. After pulling Inglis’ spin move out of the air, her team’s change in direction ran headlong into Jane Brennan.

The pass coming into Mia Orlando, the defender checked with her stick, knocked the Pelican over and scooped the ball. Off to the races, the offense set up, and DiNapoli got her turn.

Jojo Degl drew the double team, dumped to an open DiNapoli, and she went sidearm. The goal whistled off, DiNapoli teed it up on the penalty and made good anyway at 4:02.

All tied at eight, the draw was obviously crucial, so John Jay fed the Pelicans a double take. Jojo sent the ball flying, and Finja took the landing in her catcher.

The family dynamics aside, Jojo appeared to decide that sometimes a sister got to go solo. On the right, Degl spun, danced, and stutter stepped, and eventually with some space, the elder found the bottom left.

3:08 left in the game, McDonough praised her seasoned go to. “Jojo was able to find the back of the net when the team needed her to,” she extolled.

A little fist pump, Degl exuded more determination than celebration, and coming down with the draw, she put her team in position to run out the clock. Instead, Orlando got a strip, and Green made John Jay pay. Forcing her way to the right, her spin move backed down the Wolves, and her underhand backhand beat Gallagher with 1:29 remaining.

A warm locker room now denied, Degl still did what she could and secured the draw. Another turnover following, the Pelicans couldn’t cash in either.

The mercury not abating, the teams traded an unsuccessful possession each. But a second go for Pelham didn’t look good for the home team, and Gallagher drew the brunt with Orlando perched ten yards away on the penalty. “I knew I needed to do this for the team,” the goalie explained. “We really needed the win to begin our season.”

Up to the task, Orlando shot low, and Gallagher got it on the bounce to run out the first overtime.

She wasn’t done either. On a roll out front, Green tried to sneak one in. But Gallagher intervened with her catcher, and Degl was soon gonna be good to go.

Still, McDonough reserved final praise for the whole. “The best part of this team is they realize how much they need each other to find success,” said the coach, and Kauftheil passing up a less certain shot 15 seconds earlier made the case.

Instead, the junior went around the net, dumped off to Degl, and the clock beat, Gallagher put a bow on the tale. “The game was definitely exhilarating. But as always, my team and I love lacrosse and take on the challenge,” she concluded.


About the Creator

Rich Monetti

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  • Ameer Bibiabout a month ago

    I really admire your writing skills and appreciate your ideas

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