Stonewall Jackson girls' lacrosse seniors Jessica Noone and Megan Behrle say that even though their team's three losses have been to Osbourn Park -- by a grand total of four goals -- Stonewall can knock off the Yellow Jackets tonight on their home field in a Northwestern Region semifinal.
But the players also know why Osbourn Park has won the three games -- superior team play.
"In all honesty, we're even with OP," Behrle said after scoring a team-high five goals in a 15-8 home win over Forest Park on Tuesday, a play-in game of sorts to the region semis. "We have just as many good players, just as much skill, as any of those girls on that team. . . . But they work as a team."
"We play together as a team, but not as well in transition and in the midfield," said Noone, who had four goals and two assists Tuesday. "Their passing is just on. Sometimes we just don't have that, and that's how we lose the ball. . . . We just have to get it together with the passing in the transition game."
Stonewall (13-3) got off to a typical slow start against Forest Park and led by only one at the half before outscoring the Bruins, 10-4, thereafter. Sophomore Nia Thompson scored all three of her goals in the second half. Behrle and Noone also had three goals apiece after halftime.
First-year Raiders coach Jon Kraut, a 1997 Stonewall graduate, is well aware of the Osbourn Park-Stonewall rivalry. And, like the players, well aware of why the Yellow Jackets are the only team to beat his Raiders.
"Once these girls realize they're better together than they are individually, I think we're going to be good to go," Kraut said. "I think tonight they realized it. That was one of the better second halves I've seen these girls play."
Despite losing 10 starters off the 2004 team that reached the region championship, Forest Park (10-5) won the regular season Cardinal District title. In addition, reigning All-Extra player of the year Kristi Artenian left the team around midseason for personal reasons.
"We didn't know what level we would play at this year," Bruins Coach Larry Young said. "They've been competitive in just about every game. I'm real proud of them. They played better than even we [as coaches] had expected."
Forest Park sophomore Abby Mullins scored three goals Tuesday and senior Brittany Dickson added two.