Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 20
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
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LAST FLING: Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse star Caitlin Shannon flings a shot in recent action. Last Thursday, senior attacker Shannon scored three goals to help PDS edge Stuart 11-8 in the Mercer County Tournament championship game. It was the first MCT title for the Panthers, who had lost to Hopewell Valley in the last three county championship games. On Monday in the state Prep A title game at Peddie, Shannon scored three goals but it wasn’t enough as the Panthers fell 11-9 to the Falcons.

With Shannon Making Closing Statement, PDS Girls’ Lax Finally Wins MCT Crown

Bill Alden

Caitlin Shannon started her final week on the Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse team with a bang.

Celebrating her 18th birthday in style, the senior attacker scored the game-winning goal in overtime as sixth-seeded PDS upended No. 3 and two-time defending champion Oak Knoll 8-7 in overtime in the state Prep A semifinals on May 10.

A day later in the Mercer County Tournament semifinals, Shannon gave the Panthers a big lift, scoring three goals as PDS rallied from a 7-2 halftime deficit to stun No. 2 and 3-time defending champion Hopewell Valley 11-10 in overtime.

On Thursday, Shannon fired in three goals as the Panthers topped No. 4 Stuart 11-8 in the MCT title game.

In the wake of the raucous post-game celebration, Shannon was bouncing with happiness as she reflected on PDS’s title.

“It’s the most amazing feeling in the world, what our team has accomplished and everything we have been through,” said Shannon, noting that PDS had fallen to HoVal in the last 3 MCT title games. “To win a championship, it is the most awesome feeling.”

In Shannon’s view, the overtime victories earlier in the week helped pave the way for the triumph over Stuart.

“We had our team dinner last night and we all came together and said we can do this,” recalled Shannon.

“We have gotten so far. We went over all of the games that we have played so far and talked about how we have done all of this and what we have been through together. It is finally our time to go and grab that star.”

Shannon has been determined to be a star for the Panthers as the team has gone through its tournament run.

“I started off a little slow this year, the coaches gave me encouragement telling me you can do this, you are a captain and you can lead the team into this,” said Shannon, who scored three goals as the Panthers ended the season last Monday by falling 11-9 to undefeated Peddie in the Prep A title game.

“I have been getting so pumped in tournament games. The mentality is you lose, you go home and basically we don’t want to go home.”

The Panthers felt at home when they found themselves leading Stuart by a slim 9-8 margin with 2:26 remaining in regulation.

“We were yelling we still got it, keep your heads high,” recalled Shannon. “Everyone had that mentality and nobody was hanging their heads. That just kept us pushing through.”

PDS head coach Jill Thomas never doubted that her team would push through in crunch time.

“I think the kids always believed; they had the poise and determination to hang on,” said Thomas, whose team ended the season with a 14-4 record. “We got it to the right people. We call that ball a piece of gold and down the stretch we really took care of it.”

The Panthers made sure to get the ball to junior star Carly O’Brien who scored the last two goals of the contest to end up with a game-high five tallies.

“Carly has been stepping up in most big games,” maintained Thomas. “She had five goals on Tuesday and I think she had five today. If you are going to get her the ball, it is awfully hard to stop her. I am glad she plays for us.”

Thomas is quick to point out that PDS is not a one-player team. “We have needed to have different people to step it up,” said Thomas.

“We have to have other people who are going to go to goal. We have those people, players like Hannah [Levy] and Caitlin. We have other people who can go to goal. That’s been really huge.”

The senior leadership of Courtland Lackey, Sheridan Gates, and Shannon has been huge for the Panthers in their title breakthrough.

“We had so many injuries and obstacles; different things happened along the season,” said Thomas.

“We really had to come together and count on everybody. We had to weather some really, really tough games on the road. We weathered back-to-back overtime games. We just stuck to our goal and stuck to our plan. We believed.”

Shannon believes that the team’s special unity helped it stick to the plan. “A lot of us have been together for many years,” said Shannon.

“A lot of the juniors and seniors have been playing together for three years. It’s amazing; we have all grown together. There is definitely a good chemistry. That is a major part of it; we all think on the same level. It’s really great.”

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