By BRIAN CUNNIFF
ERMA — Two days after suffering its first loss of the season, the Lower Cape May Regional High School girls lacrosse team bounced back with a dramatic victory.
Delaney Cluff whipped in a shot from the edge of the eight-meter circle off a restart 52 seconds into overtime as the Lady Tigers slipped past Holy Spirit, 6-5, Monday afternoon.
Holy Spirit never possessed the ball in overtime. Lower’s Maya Critchfield was fouled after winning the faceoff to start the extra session, allowing the Lady Tigers to push the ball into the offensive third of the field. Holy Spirit’s defense forced a loose ball but Lower eventually regained possession. A violation on the Spartans gave Lower and Cluff the restart in a dangerous area and Cluff fired her shot immediately following the official’s whistle into the upper left corner of the goal.
“That’s her shot every time — one step and a rocket,” Lower coach JoAnn McLaughlin said. “It came off of Abby (Boyle) and Maya (Critchfield) fighting for that ground ball to even get her the ball so she could drive into that shot.”
Lower trailed, 5-4, late in the contest before Boyle scored with 1:23 left to tie the score. Holy Spirit got off a shot in the final 10 seconds but Lower goalie Melanie Amador made the stop to force overtime.
“Our goal was to stay positive throughout the whole game no matter what happens and the girls came up big in the end,” McLaughlin said. “They never got down. Instead they turned it on and played their best in the last three minutes and overtime. It seemed like we got every single ground ball and Mel had a big save at the end and then Delaney got us the goal at the very end.”
Jenna Durbin scored three times and Marissa Giancola added a goal for Lower’s other scoring.
The Lady Tigers improved to 3-1 with the win. They won two games during a spring break trip to Walt Disney World before suffering their first loss on Saturday, a 9-4 result against Egg Harbor Township.
“That was a tough loss to Egg Harbor,” McLaughlin said. “We needed to recover from that and move forward.”