On a beautiful day in West Chester, PA the Upstate Pride (1-0) took the field for the very first time and came out victorious over the Philadelphia Fire (0-2) with a 15 to 10 win.
The key to the game was draw controls and the scoring opportunities they created. The Upstate Pride, led by Danielle Spencer, Ally Carey, and Sammy Jo Tracy, dominated the draw 19-9, coming out especially strong in the first quarter, setting the pace for a productive 15 minutes that the Fire ultimately could not recover from. Spencer in particular had a standout day, collecting 8 draw controls while scoring a game high 4 goals.
Fittingly, the Pride’s #1 overall draft pick Ally Carey scored the programs first goal just 16 seconds into the match, with the assist going to teammate Erin Slifer. On the next play Spencer won the draw and took it straight to the cage, giving the Pride a 2-0 lead. Moments later Alex Aust snuck a bounce shot past Fire keeper Caylee Waters, and 2018 NCAA Champion from James Madison University Haley Warden scored her first career WPLL goal. 28 seconds after Warden’s goal, Spencer would win another draw, again driving straight for the cage and scoring. Now down 5-0 with 10:11 left in the first quarter, Fire Head Coach Ricky Fried called a timeout, hoping to rekindle the Fire. The timeout sparked the Fire offense, and attacker Danielle Etrasco received a pass from Hannah Nielsen behind the cage, wrapping around crease and burying a shot in the top left corner, giving the Fire their first goal of the game. On the next possession, Caylee Waters made an initial save, but Pride attacker Mollie Stevens was able to collect the rebound and score the second chance goal, a reminder to always be ready! Etrasco scored the first quarter’s final goal, making the score 6-2.
Both teams buckled down defensively in the second quarter, limiting scoring opportunities. Opposed to the 8 goals scored in the first quarter, the second only saw three, one by the Pride’s Hayley Warden, one for the Fire’s Hayley Schweizer, and one for the Fire’s Maddie Crutchfield, leaving the Pride ahead 3 points at the half.
After the halftime break, both teams took the field with renewed energy. The Fire chose to switch goalies, subbing Gussie Johns in for Caylee Waters, while the Pride kept Renee Poullott in net. The third quarter saw each team tally three goals (Aust, Spencer, and Eipp for the Pride; Crutchfield  and Etrasco for the Fire), setting the stage for a fourth quarter where the Pride hoped to keep their three goal lead.
The fourth quarter was very competitive, with both teams playing incredible lacrosse. After an initial flurry of goals from Spencer and Stevens, the Fire fired back, scoring three consecutive goals and cutting the Pride lead to 2 with 5 minutes left in regulation. With momentum shifting in their favor, the Fire’s hopes for a comeback were quickly extinguished shortly after the next draw. Ally Carey collected a ground ball and found an open Sammy Jo Tracy, who fired a rocket of a shot from outside the 8, giving the Pride 2 points, (14-10). Tracy’s goal, the lone 2 point goal of the day, secured the win for the Pride, who received one more goal from attacker Shayna Pirreca.
Watch full highlights from this game here. The Upstate Pride will hope to continue their winning streak on Sunday, June 24th when they host the New England Command at the Capital City Lacrosse Tournament in Albany, New York.
Watch Upstate Pride vs. Philly Fire on-demand:
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