Western Edges Out Albemarle

Western edges out Albemarle

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There was a little something extra on Bridget Shaffrey’s overtime goal. Just a little extra juice.

“I just thought do what everyone tells you to do…just shoot it as hard as you can at the back of the net,” said Shaffrey of her fifth goal of the night. “I don’t know if it was because I missed goals in the beginning or I was mad or I just really wanted to win, but I just thought ‘Get it. Just shoot it.”

Western Albemarle goalie Maya Langman eyes Albemarle's attack during Western's 14-13 overtime victory over Albemarle.

The shot held up as Western escaped Albemarle High with a 14-13 overtime victory over the Patriots in a back-and-forth battle.

“We had some opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of, we made some mistakes and in a one-goal game that’s all it takes,” said Albemarle coach Laurie Pratt. “But we played some really great lacrosse, I’m proud of them.”

Nine lead changes highlighted the clash between the county rivals. Every time Albemarle tried to push the advantage beyond a goal or two, Western reeled the Patriots back in with a timely goal. Western’s Peyton Brandt triggered the Warriors’ offensive attack, piling up eight points on four goals and four assists. Shaffrey had five goals and five players notched a goal each to round out the scoring for the Warriors.

But none of those goals came easy as Albemarle keeper Kelsey Rund came up with 11 stops in the cage, several of them in the opening minutes of the contest. The Warriors also needed every one of them as Albemarle unleashed its own offensive explosion. The Patriots scored four straight to open the game with Connor Carson’s six-point night leading the charge. Carson had three goals and three assists, with one of those goals coming on a wild run in the final minute where she hauled in her own draw control and then sped down the left side of the field. She crossed back toward midfield and sprinted toward the Western goal — weaving through a number of defenders on the way — and buried the ball in the back of the cage. The goal put Albemarle up 13-12 with 47 seconds left.

But the Warriors answered just 14 seconds of game time later when Brandt scored her fourth goal of the night on a fastbreak off the ensuing draw control.

That score sent the game to overtime, where a couple of near misses and Albemarle turnovers set the stage for Shaffrey’s game-winner. The goal capped a terrific bounce back by Western from the early 4-0 run by the Patriots.

“These girls are so self-aware that we didn’t even get in the huddle when we were down by four — they met and we let them figure it out,” said Western coach Nancy Haws. “It’s just about what they think is going to work. We always tell them to assess what they’ve been given and react to it.”

Albemarle got big nights out of Hanna Shaps with four goals and an assist and Becca Mendelson, who had three goals and an assist. The Patriots continue to make strides as a program. The squad improved drastically over last year, but they’ve also been taking steps in the right direction since the start of this season.

“As every game goes on we find the combinations that are working for us,” Pratt said. “I can pull anyone off the bench and know that they’re going to produce. I think this team is 23 players deep.”

Western picks up the district opening win, and will now face Charlottesville Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. The Patriots will host Monticello at 5:30 Thursday evening.

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