Kaylin Sabo scored three goals and handed out an assist to help Cincinnati defeat Georgia, 9-7, to earn a spot in the final Sunday against North Carolina in the US Lacrosse U15 Southeast Regional Championships. Dolphin Elite (Fla.) will play Atlanta in the boys' final Sunday.
Cincinnati Avenges Georgia, Gets Rematch with North Carolina in U15 Final
by Paul Krome| LaxMagazine.com
RALEIGH, N.C. – The girls from the Queen City are on the cusp of returning to Cincinnati as queens of the US Lacrosse Under-15 Southeast Regional Championships, presented by Champion.
They'll just need to beat the locals, hopefully with a better night's sleep than what preceded their first encounter with top-seeded North Carolina at the CASL Soccer Complex yesterday.
Behind three goals and an assist from attacker Kaylin Sabo, Cincinnati rallied to defeat Georgia, 9-7, to clinch a spot in Sunday's 9 a.m. final against North Carolina. Cincinnati fell behind early, 3-0, but gradually chipped away behind Sabot and goalie Julia Whittelsey (12 saves), tying the game three times in the second half before assuming the lead for good when Emily Wadds finally solved an equally superb Brianna Yates (14 saves) with 6:23 to play, giving the Ohioans a 6-5 lead. Sabo made a nice backdoor cut and converted a feed from Madison Arends as Cincinnati surged ahead, 9-5, before Georgia rallied late.
"Our team was down," Sabo said. "But we were told to play with our hearts and we really did. We brought it today."
Cincinnati turned the tables on Georgia, which earlier in the day beat Cincinnati in pool play, 9-8, after rallying from a 6-3 deficit. Georgia coach Mark Flaxer told his team afterward that they didn't necessarily beat Cincinnati, but that they "willed the game and wanted the victory more." In the rematch, it was Cincinnati who fell behind and then made a comeback.
"We started strong against them in the first game, but then we got weaker," said Whittelsey, who often plays aggressive field defense in front of the cage. "This game, we brought it for the whole game."
"The girls just stepped up to the challenge," Cincinnati coach Dan Utt said. "It was tough to lose that game this morning, being up 6-3. We just went back, chilled out and came back and said, 'We can do this.'"
Now, Cincinnati will get another rematch, and is hoping a decent sleep will fuel a better result than the 12-1 drumming Carolina laid on the Ohioans on opening day. Cincinnati's bus trip was extended to 12 hours due to a breakdown.
"We've had four busses since we got here," Sabo said.
But Sabo's team will need more than just a quiet evening and a smooth ride to the complex to beat the hosts. North Carolina, with players from different parts of the state that had to drive 90 minutes sometimes for a practice, also looked comfortable in an 11-6 win over Georgia in pool play earlier today. Madeline Bromley scored three goals and Mackenzie Koeller added one.
"They're good, but they don't know how good they are," said coach Jen Flaherty, a 17-year North Carolina resident and former attacker for the Tar Heels.
"I think we're going to get back to them like we did with Georgia," Sabo said.
On the boys' side, Dolphin Elite (Fla.) will meet the Atlanta Coyotes for the Southeast Regional Championship at 11 a.m. Sunday.
Regional championship winners will receive an automatic bid and free registration to the US Lacrosse U15 National Championships, presented by Champion, July 20-24 in Orlando.
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