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Bucks get retribution in season opener


If the Central Bucks West girls lacrosse team had a dream about how their season would start, the reality was every bit as good as the fantasy.

The Bucks kicked off the 2019 campaign with a huge 9-7 win over visiting Downingtown East on Saturday.

It was sweet revenge for CB West, which lost twice to the Cougars last year. The first loss, 13-8, was in the regular season but the second was a painful 11-10 overtime loss in the playbacks of the District One Class 3A tournament. The win ended CB West’s season and sent Downingtown East to the PIAA tourney as the district’s seventh-place team.

“This was the game we were waiting for,” junior goaltender Lauren Ring said. “We all just came together so well. They beat us twice last year and we really worked together to fix the things we did wrong last year.

“They knocked us out of the playoffs last year and through warmups that was nerve wracking. There was definitely a little déjà vu.”

Downingtown East got on the board first, with Caroline Webb netting a goal 45 seconds into play on the first shot on goal for the day.

“They scored first but I had faith in everybody else, that we could come back,” Ring said. “Our defense was amazing. I couldn’t ask for better teammates, I really couldn’t. Every time one went in, even if straight up it was my fault, they’re like, ‘oh no, that was my fault.’

“I could not be prouder. I really couldn’t. This win gives us so much confidence. The fact that this was the game that killed us last year and we’re starting the year winning it means so much. I’m so excited for the rest of the season.”

CB West gave a definitive answer with four consecutive goals. Emma Haring, Julia Carey, Casey Reichwein and Kristen Rice each found the net and gave the Bucks a 4-1 lead in just over a 10-minute span before Downingtown East scored again.

Carey put one in and then Hazel Gardner scored for Downingtown East to send the game into halftime with CB West ahead 5-3.

The second half began with back-to-back goals from Haring and a single goal from Reichwein, who will play hockey at Michigan next year, to give CB West an 8-3 lead, the largest margin of the day, with 12:32 remaining.

Downingtown East was not finished.

The Cougars put together three unanswered goals by Caroline Brennan, Olivia Fanelli and North Carolina recruit Livi Lawton to cut the lead to 8-6 with 9:15 remaining.

The Bucks took back control of the game when Haring, who has committed to Towson, scored her game-high fourth goal of the day with 4:22 remaining and Reichwein won the ensuing draw control to give CB West possession of the ball.

Brennan netted a final tally wih 32.7 seconds remaining.

“We really wanted to make a statement,” said Haring, a junior. “It was just amazing.

“They started to come back but we didn’t get nervous. It was more that we knew we had to refocus. Anything can happen in lacrosse. You can get two goals in 30 seconds so we knew we had to just turn it on.

“They had the 1-0 lead and then they never had it again. We were not going to let that happen. We were determined to keep it up right until the end.”

It was the first victory for new head coach Becky Cartee, who spent five years as an assistant for the Bucks before taking over this season.

“Everyone brings something different to the table and I told the girls that’s all I can ask of you, just bring what you can, and if everyone does that I think it will be enough and it was,” she said. “They never let up. They’re great athletes.

“Downingtown scored first and we looked at each other and we knew that it was just a big fluke, that it was not going to set the tone for the game. Our defense is our strongest area and our game plan was to not give them the middle and we didn’t.”

Cartee lauded the play of sophomore Paige Gilbert.

“I put Paige on their number 2 (Lawton),” Cartee said. “She was their best player and Paige did a great job. Lauren was lights out in goal for us and our defense jelled. They talked really well and they never let up.”

Ring ended the day with 10 saves.

Reichwein, a senior, has moved to attack after spending the last few seasons anchoring the defense.

“She hasn’t played there in a long time but we needed her experience there and she’s done a great job,’ Cartee said. “Everyone on our attack can score. We’re not relying on just one person.”

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