CLARKS GREEN — No. 7 seed Abington Heights scored five goals in the first 11 minutes and rolled to a 12-2 win over No. 10 seed Pittston Area in the first round of the District 2 Class 2A girls lacrosse playoffs Wednesday afternoon.
Head coach Becky Davis felt the fast start was important, especially since the win advanced Abington Heights in the quarterfinals, on the road, against No. 2 seed Lake-Lehman (11-2) at 4:15 p.m. May 17.
“It was great and it gave us a chance to get our midfielders some rest and substitute a lot,” Davis said. “It was important to get out and get a nice lead.”
While Lake-Lehman defeated Abington Heights, 19-4, April 19, Davis feels believes her team has improved a lot since that matchup. Four of the Lady Comets’ losses were by a combined eight goals and the team is on a three-game winning streak.
“I definitely think we’ve come extremely far since that game,” Davis said. “I think that streak of losses where we had a lot of tight games definitely fueled their fire and desire to finish games. Now, they’re feeling it and getting the job done.”
Lady Comets senior attacker Lauren Simakaski opened the scoring less than two minutes into the game and added another goal with 14:17 left in the first half.
Abington Heights senior attacker Ashley DeRiso, who scored a game-high three goals, gave the Lady Comets a 2-0 lead with 19:06 remaining in the first half.
“She’s a great attacker,” Davis said. “She’s definitely a threat out there. When she goes to goal, she’s going hard and is looking to shoot.”
Sophomore midfielder/attacker Morghan Stiles scored to put the Lady Comets ahead, 3-0, junior attacker Brennan Tates added a goal, off an assist from Kaila Steenback, during Abington Heights’ strong start.
Abington Heights (5-7) took a 6-0 lead with 6:48 left in the first half when DeRiso scored her second goal after a dash to the net.
“I just made sure I was open and drove in hard,” DeRiso said.
Senior Nina Cirelli scored for Pittston Area (0-12) with 3.2 seconds remaining in the first half.
DeRiso scored off an assist from Tates less than two minutes into the second half, and Steenback and Abby Brown followed with goals to put Abington Heights ahead, 9-1, with 15:43 left to play.
“I feel like we really bonded as a team this year,” DeRiso said. “Last year, we were new and didn’t really know each other coming from different sports. We have chemistry on the field this year, which really helped us a lot.”
Junior Julia Emmett scored for Pittston Area with 12:38 left in the second half.
Sophomore midfielder/attacker Lauren Berry, junior attacker Camille Marquardt and Stiles scored the final three goals for Abington Heights.
Sophomore goalkeeper Sidney Horvath made eight saves for Abington Heights, including five in the second half.
“She’s been really consistent for us all season,” Davis said. “We have full confidence that she’s going to make great saves.”
Pittston Area junior goalkeeper Brooklyn Pedana made 16 saves.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.