JORDAN — Jordan-Elbridge rallied to tie the score three times in the second half, but Mexico found a way to prevail.
The Tigers scored with six minutes left on a free position shot to retake the lead and played keep-away from the Eagles for the remainder of regulation, as the Jordan-Elbridge girls lacrosse team dropped its season finale to Mexico, 7-6, at John Howes Stadium Wednesday.
For coach Ashley Snyder, the Eagles put pressure on themselves to win for their seniors on Senior Night.
"You try to win it for your seniors and pump them up, but it almost makes it tougher," Snyder said. "Senior Night is nice to have on the last night, but the pressure in their heads that we have to win it for the seniors is when they make mistakes. We definitely could've had a couple more goals there to tie it up ... but if I look at my book, a lot of it is turnovers and silly mistakes that we made."
Chelsea Curtis led the offensive charge for Jordan-Elbridge with two goals and one assist, while Ireland Hill scored twice. Delaney Dunham and Anna Simpson each netted one goal, while Gabby Skotniski had five saves in net.
The Tigers took a commanding lead by scoring the first four goals in the first 17 minutes, but the Eagles surged before halftime. Hill, Dunham and Simpson each found the back of the net in the final 2:23 to cut the Jordan-Elbridge deficit to 4-3 by the break.
"Our talk at halftime was all about momentum and keeping that momentum," Snyder said. "I think they wanted to do that, but it was just some silly mistakes and the nerves were too much for them."
Hill evened the score 3:58 into the second half, and Curtis tied the score after the Tigers went ahead two more times over the next 13 minutes.
Mexico scored on a free position shot with 6:07 remaining, and after gaining possession, stalled to drain the clock.
Snyder said she's a firm believer in teams not using stalling as a tactic and hopes to see the state adopt a shot clock like the ones used in women's college lacrosse.
"I think teams use it way too much. ... Yeah, two minutes left I can see it, but for four or five minutes?" Snyder said. "Especially at the high school level where the refs are calling a lot of things, it's tough to get the ball back. Every time we made contact on the double (team) it was a call, so they had the ball. In college, if you made contact on that double, they're probably not going to call those contacts."
The draw and subsequent possessions were a problem for the Eagles most of the night. Snyder stuck with her go-to girl on the draw, freshman Gabby Smart, throughout the night.
"I knew based on how their team was drawing that she had to switch," Snyder said. "She's a righty, but often times I'll have her draw with her left to draw it backwards. ... Unfortunately, she was so worried about doing that, that halfway through the first when I had her do that, she false-started and they got the ball. So then she didn't want to do it at all. At halftime I talked to her and told her it was the only way, but we didn't have anyone fast enough on that side to get it."
Snyder sees a lot of positives heading into next season, including the progression of Smart, Gabby Gunnip (who tore her ACL earlier this season) and Skotniski.
For Snyder, who wraps up her first year as the Eagles' head coach, the key is building the team chemistry and the coaches providing stability.
"We'll definitely be back. ... We're excited to continue," Snyder said of her and assistant Mary Maestri. "Obviously, the first year with a new coach — regardless of your players — is a growing year. You could have a phenomenal team, but there's still kinks to be worked out because of new leadership. We're excited because we have a ton of talent that's young. ... The girls know that we're here, we're stable and we want to keep pushing them forward. I think we have that mentality with our athletes moving forward."