By BRIAN CUNNIFF
CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE — The Middle Township High School girls lacrosse team started the 2021 season magnificently, winning its first five games.
Then came a stunning loss to Lower Cape May during which the Lady Panthers held a six-goal lead at one point. Following a win over Atlantic City, Middle then suffered a 10-goal defeat to a Mainland team it had beaten in its season opener.
“It’s a vibe that’s just a little different right now,” Middle coach Tina Prickett said. “We started out on top. We pulled out that win over Mainland and we felt a lot of success early on. But after we lost to Lower, we really haven’t figured out how to recover from that loss. We need to learn from our mistakes.”
Perhaps Tuesday’s result over Holy Spirit will help matters. Middle faced an early deficit before rallying for a 14-10 win.
Brianna Robinson scored five goals, Kate Herlihy added three and Holly Mader, Abbie Teefy and Eliza Billingham each chipped in with two for Middle, which improved to 7-2. Amelia Slick made nine stops in goal.
Middle faces a difficult upcoming stretch, with games against Egg Harbor Township, Cherokee and Millville coming in succession.
Middle is an extremely young team this spring. Herlihy is the lone senior starter.
“The camaraderie we had early was so unexpected,” Prickett said. “I felt like we were still introducing ourselves to each other but we meshed right away. I think some of that was piggybacking off the success a lot of the girls had in basketball.
“We’re such a young team with Kate Herlihy leading us. She’s the kind of player who wants everyone to hop on her back. But the players don’t want Kate to do it by herself and it seems like they really want to play for each other and that was a big difference for us early in the season. We’ve had a lot of individual efforts (lately). Once we start playing as a team again I know we’re going to have success. Middle lacrosse has a history and we have that history because the girls have always enjoyed playing with each other. I know we can get back to that.”