WOODSIDE — Twice before these Polytech High girls’ lacrosse players were thwarted in their first game of the state tournament.
On Tuesday night, the Panthers finally got over the hump.
Ali McKay scored seven times as second-seeded Polytech defeated No. 7 Wilmington Friends 15-8 in the second round of the DIAA state tournament.
It’s the first time in school history the Panthers won a playoff game after losing in the first round the last two seasons.
“That’s been our goal for forever,” junior Jamie Trabaudo said.
The Panthers are tentatively scheduled to host a semifinal game Thursday at 7 p.m. against the winner of today’s St. Mark’s-Tower Hill contest. That game was originally Tuesday night but was postponed due to unplayable field conditions at St. Mark’s.
Polytech had a first-round bye this year. Coach Lynn Richardson said that, combined with the expectations of having such a high seed, contributed to a shaky first half as the Panthers only led 5-4 at halftime.
“We had a little bit of pressure on us and the jitters showed,” Richardson said. “Friends came to play and had a great first half against us but we settled in. For us, getting the first playoff win is huge.”
The Panthers took control within the first three minutes of the second half with three goals. Rachel Slater opened the half with her second goal of the game and was followed by goals from Trabaudo and McKay.
The Quakers were forced to take a timeout but they never got back within three goals.
“I told them at halftime, let’s get three and have them call the first timeout and that’s exactly what happened,” Richardson said. “I think they just settled in and started believing in themselves and in each other.”
Trabaudo finished with three goals and three assists while Slater also scored three goals and Maddie McKay chipped in with two goals. Katie Richardson and Arlene Maheu each had an assist.
It was the second time this season the two teams had met. Polytech won at Wilmington Friends, 14-9, on April 23.
The Quakers had to go through No. 10 seed Caesar Rodney on Saturday, winning 12-10, to make it to the second round as the tournament expanded to 10 teams for this season.
“This was the game we were expecting,” Ali McKay said. “We know they were good, they played with us and we expected that. ... It feels really, really good and I’m really excited.”
While this is uncharted territory for the girls’ lacrosse program, a lot of these players have playoff experience. Polytech’s volleyball and field hockey teams have also made the state tournament the last couple of seasons.
Trabaudo was a member of this year’s field hockey team, which reached the state championship game.
“We had to play four games to get there so we know that each game is as important as the last,” Trabaudo said. “We have to take it one game at a time because our end goal is to get to the championship, That’s any team’s goal at the beginning of the season.”
Staff writer Tim Mastro can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 741-8224.
Follow @TimMastroDSN on Twitter.