West Chester East bounces back and continues to improve Catherine Somits was the star in a tie with Great Valley. Today, the Vikings face Henderson. Suburban Girls' Lacrosse Top 10

Posted: May 07, 2002

After a 20-4 thumping from unbeaten Conestoga early last week, West Chester East girls' lacrosse coach Dale Watkins was glad to see his 7-3-1 team come back Thursday and tie Great Valley, 7-7.

The Patriots then pushed unbeaten Conestoga to the limit on Saturday before bowing, 6-4.

"I thought we had a chance to win the game against Great Valley," Watkins said. "We're a young team, but we have some talented people. We will make mistakes, but we're getting better all the time."

One of those talented people is sophomore center Catherine Somits, who scored four goals against Great Valley.

"We were down, 4-0, in the first half, but people are finding they can't underestimate us," Somits said.

"I wasn't scoring there for a while, so I'm just trying to play an all-around game. I'm playing more defense, so I'm not concentrating on scoring. I take my opportunities when I get them, but we have others who can score."

Seniors Breanna Harpstead, Tara Capoferri, Greta Lieb, Sharon Wolfe, Lauren Carrigan, and goalie Laura Turner; and juniors Laura Grieco and Dana Neilon have provided much experience. Watkins, in his second year as the Vikings' coach, said he has enough depth to run 17 players into a game. That gives everybody a breather.

The Vikings, who surprised nearly everybody by winning the Ches-Mont League crown last season, have a big game today with intradistrict rival West Chester Henderson. The Vikings are in first place in the league.

"That game probably won't be as easy as the last time we played Henderson," Somits said. The Vikings won the first meeting, 20-11. "The emotions get so high in those games [with Henderson]."

A family affair. Girls' lacrosse at Cheltenham is truly a family affair for sisters Farrell, Kara and Casey Sharkey.

Farrell, a senior captain, plays defense wing, while sophomore Kara is a point.

Casey, a freshman attack wing, didn't think she'd get the chance to play with her sisters this year.

She had expected to play for the freshman team. But when Cheltenham didn't have enough players for the squad, she was given the opportunity to try out for the varsity team and made it.

The Panthers have been struggling and have notched just two wins in 12 games, but Farrell sees a brighter future.

"We lost only three games the year before, so this has been a big change for me," said Farrell, who is heading to Lafayette to play lacrosse. "We lost a lot of people to graduation, including our goalie, Emily Oswald. Zana Patterson, a sophomore, has taken her place. It's a character-building year, but the young players are learning."

Kara went from playing center to point this season.

"That's been a big change for me, but I'm giving 100 percent all the time," she said. "It's important that we keep hustling."

Casey said she's trying to overcome some timidity in playing with older players.

"It's been exciting playing with my sisters," Casey said. "I have good speed, and I'm not afraid to go to goal."

Casey has scored six goals this season.

Big game today. Although her team is only 3-8-1 in a down year for Interboro, coach Diane Lowthert said she's looking forward to today's Del-Val League matchup with unbeaten Unionville.

"We were supposed to play Unionville earlier, but it was postponed," Lowthert said. "It should be a good test for us. It was scary the way we played the first half of our season. We've been playing much better lately."

One of the reasons for the recent turnaround, she said, is the more aggressive play of goalie Heather Hassel. This is Hassel's third year in goal, and she is harassing opponents more.

"We had a practice at which I told her I wanted her to come out of the crease," Lowthert said. "It's worked."

Senior attack wing Samantha Lafferty and senior center Eileen Keever have played steadily for the Bucs, Lowthert said. Keever is a four-year player, while Lafferty is a three-year starter.

Contact Don Beideman

at 610-701-7613 or dbeideman@phillynews.com.

Records through Sunday.

Rk. Team Rec. Comment

1. Conestoga 12-0 Lori Havrilla sparked the Pioneers to a big win over Great Valley.

2. Radnor 14-0 The Red Raiders beat Villa Maria Academy in a nonleague game.

3. Great Valley 11-1 The Patriots had Conestoga on the ropes but couldn't win.

4. Owen J. Roberts 13-1-1 The Wildcats are right behind Great Valley in the PAC-10.

5. Archbishop Carroll 13-1 The Patriots suffered their first loss against Radnor.

6. Episcopal Acad. 10-3 Courtney Robinson led the Churchwomen over Agnes Irwin.

7. Springfield (Delco) 10-3 The Cougars take on Conestoga today.

8. Germantown Ac. 11-3 The Patriots rebounded from their Inter-Ac loss to Episcopal.

9. Souderton 9-3 The Indians had a narrow escape against Council Rock.

10. Unionville 11-0-1 The Del-Val League leader moved into the top 10.

Under consideration (listed alphabetically): Council Rock (8-2-1), Ridley (8-4), Villa Joseph Marie (9-1), West Chester East (7-3).

- Don Beideman

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