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  • Chesapeake's Peyton Colhouer fired a shot against Northeast in the teams' playoff meeting on May 11. The Cougars subsequently defeated Stephen Decatur to make the 3A East region final against Mt. Hebron.
    Photo by Colin Murphy
    Chesapeake's Peyton Colhouer fired a shot against Northeast in the teams' playoff meeting on May 11. The Cougars subsequently defeated Stephen Decatur to make the 3A East region final against Mt. Hebron.

Chesapeake Girls Advance Past Northeast, 17-7

Colin Murphy
View Bio
May 15, 2018

It was early in the Chesapeake girls lacrosse team’s playoff matchup with Northeast when the Cougars revealed the special cohesion they’ve engineered this season.

Goalkeeper Eryn Beal had made a phenomenal save of an Eagle shot, and she broke into a sprint, sparking a fast break. Beal passed ahead to Riley Harrell on the right sideline, hitting Harrell in stride. Harrell turned and passed to Kiersten Blanchard, who was blazing down the center of the field. Blanchard charged toward goal, drew the defense toward her and whipped a pass to Karlie Stracke. Stracke caught and shot all in one motion, slamming home a goal from three yards out for a 3-0 Cougar lead.

Eighty yards to the goal, over as soon as it began, like a lightning strike.

Stracke finished with a game-high five goals, Beal had a game-high 15 saves and the Cougars marched confidently to a 17-7 win over their visiting rivals to advance into the 3A East Section I final against Stephen Decatur.

Nine different Cougars scored in the victory, as Chesapeake has made its identity this season by sharing the ball.

PHOTO GALLERY: Chespaeake vs. Northeast girls lacrosse, 3A East playoffs, 5.11.18

“A big thing we focused on this year was, stop running the ball. Just move the ball,” said head coach Sonny Jones. “Today, our transition game was off the chain. The girls moved the ball really well, so I was really happy about that. What I really like about this group is that everybody’s getting involved in the game, big-time. My leading scorer (Carson Giordano) also leads the team in assists. And she’s not the only one. My assist count is really high this year across the board compared to years past, which goes to show how well we’re moving the ball.”

Stracke added two assists with her five goals, Peyton Colhouer had four goals and an assist, Giordano and Jordan Snyder finished with two goals and two assists each, Harrell had two goals, Bridgette Tayman and Georgia Spangler scored and Tatum Schatt had an assist in the win.

Harrell, a senior, said her class is comfortable playing together and has bought in to the philosophy of keeping the ball moving.

“Our group was been together with CYLA Storm since like fifth grade,” said Harrell. “[This year] we are just moving the ball and not forcing it. We were forcing it in the beginning, then we chilled out.”

Colhouer, also a senior, said the team has excelled at setting picks and freeing each other up, knowing that everyone can finish.

“I think it’s just teamwork, working together more than anything,” said Colhouer. “There are a ton of people who scored, not just one person.”

The defensive corps of Brooke Adams, Shelby Bennoit, Laney Lenz and Schatt has also excelled together, said Jones.

“I’ve got four really good girls, they’re clicking well, they’re communicating better than any other defense I’ve had,” he said. “You can have defenses with good talent, but if they don’t talk, you can forget about it. These guys are talking through their problems, working out situations, working through switches and slides and seconds, so that’s really coming up big for us.”

It doesn’t hurt having Beal as an anchor in the cage. The junior dazzled with saves from every angle and distance against Northeast, and she was aggressive in pushing the break immediately, often sprinting out to the middle of the field to draw the defense before passing off.

Jones has the luxury of having depth at goalie with Beal and Lindsey Spies, also a junior.

“With Eryn and Lindsey, I have two really good goalies. They’ve been the rock of our defense,” said Jones, who noted Beal’s speed and ability to impact the game from outside the crease. “Eryn is unbelievable. Her save percentage is definitely over .500. She is up there in ground balls. You can see how well she clears the ball. She’s one of the faster girls on the team, and we have no problem cutting her loose and having her run down the field when she needs to.”

On May 1, Beal had a monster 27 saves, 14 in the first half and 13 in the second, in the Cougars’ momentous 9-7 win over Broadneck, a result Chesapeake Athletic Director Chip Snyder was not sure had ever been achieved in program history.

The Cougar players certainly savored the victory over the Bruins as an all-time proud accomplishment.

“That was such an exciting moment,” said Colhouer. “Beating them, we’ve never beaten them in four years, so it’s exciting. We knew we could. We definitely knew coming in we could beat them.”

Said Harrell, “That was such a fun game. We just really wanted to win, because last year when we played them, they won, and it was a really close game, so this was just kind of like payback. We definitely believed in ourselves.”

Belief will be needed as the Cougars (11-4) continue their playoff run, and it’s also something the Eagles will need as they look to continue building the program. Eagle senior leaders and captains McKenzie Hynson and Laura Skorobatsch led their side with two goals each against Chesapeake, while Morgan James, Madison Hobbs and Sydney Makarovich all scored and Abby Zimmerman and Alyssa Borgert both had assists.

Head coach Kaitlin Davis improved her squad from 3-9 last season to 6-8 this year and said the team will need to get better mentally to maximize its talent.

“We do have the talent to do it,” said Davis. “It’s just trying to get out of that mindset where we can actually beat [Chesapeake]. [Chesapeake] is a very skilled team, very good, but we have the talent as well. When we put our minds to it, we play really well. …We are losing two really strong girls, Hynson and Laura, but we do have a lot of really young talent, so hopefully we can build off that next year and the years after that.”

PHOTO GALLERY: Chespaeake vs. Northeast girls lacrosse, 3A East playoffs, 5.11.18

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