Panthers douse Wilmington Charter 13-5 in girls lacrosse tourney opener

By Tim Mastro

FREDERICA — The Polytech High girls’ lacrosse team practiced outside in the pouring rain one day before its opening round state tournament game.

It wasn’t fun, but it helped the Panthers get ready for the conditions on Thursday.

Mackenzie Estrada and Madi McKay each scored four goals as the Panthers downed Wilmington Charter 13-5 in the first round of the DIAA girls’ lacrosse tournament. Polytech, seeded fifth, advanced to play at four seed Archmere Academy on Saturday at 11 a.m. in the quarterfinals.

“It really prepared us,” Estrada said of practicing in the rain. “I thought we passed the ball well, we cut to the ball well and had some nice shots on goal.”

“There’s only eight teams practicing after today and we’re one of those eight,” Estrada added. “We know we’re good enough to play anyone in the state tournament and it’s really exciting.”

The entire first half was played in a steady downpour. The rain did let up briefly around halftime before picking up again as the minutes ticked away in the second half.

But the weather did not bother the Panthers much once they got used to it, finishing the first half on an 8-2 run to build a 9-3 halftime advantage.

“We debated whether we should go out or not on Wednesday and we just decided to have a short practice in the rain,” said Polytech coach Lynn Richardson. “I think it was a good thing to get them used to this because the weather reports don’t look good.”

The game was tied 1-1 before the Panthers started to establish their dominance on the draws.

Polytech took advantage of the possession, reaching double-digits in goals for the 11th time this season.

Cecilia Carter netted a hat-trick for the Panthers whole Claire Fuchs scored a pair of goals. McKay added two assists to go along with her four-goal game.

“We came out slow but we realized how good we could actually be together and pulled it together,” McKay said. “Draw control was a big factor in our run but I think we moved the ball well on offense. It feels great to be back in the state tournament, couldn’t be a better feeling.”

Polytech only out-shot the Force 27-23. The Panthers were led defensively by Shannon Stephan’s 12 saves.

“We played a solid game under the circumstances,” Richardson said. “The girls are really excited, we’re living for another day.”

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