Florida-Bound Pirreca Leads North Girls to UA Classic Win
TOWSON, Md. -- In front of 4,412 fans at Towson University's Johnny Unitas Stadium, the Boys South and Girls North senior teams enter their freshman collegiate seasons with another win in the books from the momentous Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Classic.
Saturday night's senior showcase featured four teams, two each from the North and the South, with 90 of the country's top high school boys and girls. It was a tight matchup for the boys with a 17-16 overtime win for the South, while the girls from the North led the entire game, defeating the South 18-11.
"It was so good to get to know [my future teammates] better before we go to school and build that team chemistry that we will have the next four years," said girls' MVP and Florida commit Shayna Pirreca, who had three goals and two assists in the nightcap of the event.
Pirreca will join Isabella O'Connor (North), Allie Pavinelli (North), CeCe Finney (South) and Olivia Cole (South) in Gainesville this fall.
"I just came here to play my best and represent the North, and I guess it just worked out for me," Pirreca said.
|Florida incoming freshman Shayna Pirreca was named MVP after a five-point performance with three goals and two assists. (John Strohsacker)|
O'Connor netted two consecutive goals as the North girls pulled away for an 18-11 victory.
"Obviously, it's an All-Star game so they're all really good," said North coach, Syracuse graduate and two-time Tewaaraton finalist Alyssa Murray. "They don't really need much coaching, so we told them just to have a lot of fun and just play hard. We had a long bench with a lot of subs, so they just played their butts off and did really well."
The North opened up the game with a 5-0 run from two goals scored by Pirreca and one each by O'Connor, Marie McCool (North Carolina) and Kenzie Kent (Boston College), but that was shortly snapped by Stanford commit Kelly Myers.
Pirreca went on to score her third and final goal of the game with 14:02 remaining in the first half, followed up with a goal by Amanda Ignaccio (Georgetown), who led the South with three goals and two assists.
"I just went out there and played," Ignaccio said. "I was lucky to play with some of my teammates from my [M&D] club like [Maryland incoming freshmen] Megan Whittle and Taylor Hensh."
For Ignaccio, although her team lost, this event was more than just another accolade and more than just another opportunity to improve her skills under South coach and recent Maryland graduate Beth Glaros, who lifted her Terps to their 11th NCAA title with five goals in the championship game in May.
"I've always wanted to play in this game," Ignaccio said. "I came when I was little and I used to watch everyone. It was just one thing that I really wanted to be a part of and when I got the call that I was, I was just so excited and it was a dream come true for me."
At halftime, the North led 12-5, but a neck-and-neck second half wasn't enough for the South to pull a comeback victory.
"We didn't get the outcome that we wanted, but it was just really fun for these girls and get out here and play with the best competition in the nation," Glaros said. "They're all going to a lot of great schools, so it's great to see where they're coming from and where they're going next year."
Hensh opened the second half with an unassisted goal just 30 seconds in, but the North's Emily Stein (Northwestern), Madison Crutchfield (Duke) and Kent quickly answered, bringing the South within nine.
A late four-goal run for the South led by Ignacio, Whittle, Finney and Kacie Longo (Maryland) carried the team into double-digit scoring, but it was not enough to overcome the seven-goal deficit from the first half.
Kent finished with four goals for the North, while Whittle and Shelby Scanlin (Maryland) had two goals apiece for the South.
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