The New Hope Solebury girls lacrosse team has come a long way in 10 years.
That’s exactly how long the program has been in existence and with each passing year, the Lions become more competitive.
On Friday they defeated host Council Rock North 15-11 at CR North’s Walt Snyder stadium to cap a 3-0 start on the year that included wins over Cardinal O’Hara and Pennington School.
“It’s so exciting,” New Hope coach Betsy Dougherty said. “Normally we try to schedule games so we have a lighter load but the beginning of this season we set up against three really tough teams and coming out with wins was really a great way to start the season.”
Carolyn Thistlewaite got the Lions on the board right away when she scored on the first shot on goal of the day barely two minutes into the game.
CR North came back with a quick goal, but Thistlewaite’s second shot was as true as her first and New Hope was ahead, 2-1.
The Indians put in a pair of goals to take a 3-2 lead before Thistlewaite again found the cage to tie it 10 minutes into the game.
CR North scored again to take a 4-3 lead but that was the last time the Indians would be ahead in the game.
Rachel Saxton and Kate Dougherty each scored for the Lions. CR North put in one more goal before New Hope reeled off five unanswered goals to take a 10-5 lead into the intermission.
CR North threatened early in the second half, getting the first two goals of the period before Amy Hutwelker put one in to get the Lions back on track.
The reprieve was short-lived, as the Indians put in three consecutive goals to take the score to 11-10 with 13:23 remaining.
That was as close as CR North would come. Dougherty had two goals and Maggie DeVito and Hutwelker each added one to pull the game out of the Indians’ reach for good.
“We knew that it was definitely going to be a challenge,” Thistlewaite said. “When you play a big school like this and you’re smaller you know you’re definitely going to see some competition but we came out strong and just worked hard and it definitely showed in the score.
“When they had that run in the second half and almost caught us, we knew we just had to stay calm, stay poised and we’d get it back.We just had to make one good play at a time and bounce back and that’s what we did.
“We were quick on the draw and that definitely did it. We started winning the draws late in the game and that was the difference because they couldn’t get the ball.”
Thistlewaite ended the day with four goals, eight draw controls and an interception. Dougherty also had four goals, two caused turnovers, one interception and one draw control.
DeVito chipped in three goals and three assists and two draw controls while Hutwelker had three goals, three ground balls and two caused turnovers. Saxton added one goal, one assist and picked up two ground balls and won two draw controls while Lilly Smith had three ground balls and one caused turnover.
New Hope’s first foray into the postseason was a 12-11 opening round loss to Upper Moreland last season.
“We definitely want to get past the first round and go as far as we can this year,” said Thistlewaite, a junior who has verbally committed to play lacrosse at James Madison. “We have great team chemistry and that’s been helping because we’re really playing together as a team.”