Visitation lacrosse regains mojo in blowout of Stone Ridge

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Visitation, led by sophomore Ellie Mitchell at center-circle, dominated the draw. (Brian Kapur/The Current/April 2017)

After Visitation’s dominant 20-9 victory over Stone Ridge on Thursday, Cubs coach Katie McMahon sat the team down for its usual post-game chat and asked her team, “Who scored today?” Ten arms shot up.

“That’s how you want it,” said McMahon. “We have been trying to do it more. We stress that whenever an attacker goes to goal to look at the cage. It keeps teams and defenders honest if they can’t take away one or two attackers.”

For the Cubs — who went through a rough patch of games after dropping Independent School League games to Potomac School and St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes — the game was a chance to regain their mojo with the playoffs just a few weeks away.

“Today they came ready to go, fired up,” McMahon said. “We just keep trying to get better every day and keep the tempo up, getting ready for the ISL playoffs. We have a couple of games that we have to win before we get there.”

The Cubs’ biggest adjustment on the field after Tuesday’s loss to St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes was at the draw circle. Against the Saints, the Cubs struggled in that area. But after some practice time and scheme tweaks, sophomore midfielder Ellie Mitchell was dominant at center circle on Thursday against Stone Ridge.

With Mitchell, McMahon has worked to get the most out of the Visitation basketball star, who is often the tallest player on the field.

“She is working on her stick position more,” the coach said. “She has the benefit of being the tallest player on the field and when she jumps, she is doubly the tallest out there. When you get the draw, it just changes the entire game.”

In addition, the coach tweaked the personnel around the circle, who are often the players scooping up the draw control.

“We made a couple of adjustments,” said McMahon. “We have mixed up our positions and who we put on the circle, and it’s been great for us.”

The coach pointed to placing senior Maggie Fowler along the circle as a big boost.

With extra possessions, the Cubs offense went to work against Stone Ridge on Thursday. Junior attacker Jane McAvoy led the team with four goals, and junior middle Jill Gollob netted a hat trick. In addition, Mitchell, sophomore attacker Libby Rowe and junior attacker Kerry Pullano each scored twice. The Cubs also saw Fowler, sophomore middle Katie Castiello, junior midfielder Sara O’Brien and junior attacker Lila McGrail each score.

The scoring bonanza put a smile on the team’s starting goalie, senior Grace Rotondo. “It’s awesome. It makes my job a lot easier. I love it — especially to see so many people scoring,” she said.

The majority of the team’s goals were assisted as the team cranked up its tempo against Stone Ridge.

“We are a move-the-ball team and focused on team play in every aspect,” said McMahon. “That’s why we can make it work. It just makes the game more fun. Even if you aren’t the last one with the ball in the net, you feel like you’ve contributed.”

The Cubs will have some time off this week but will be back in action May 3, when they travel to play Holy Child before wrapping up the regular season the next day when they host Holton-Arms.