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Benjamin Girls lax edges Pine Crest to advance to regional final

A lightning storm halts the contest with 2:50 to play

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA – The 7th seeded Benjamin Buccaneers defeated the 3rd seeded Pine Crest Panthers, 10-8, for their seventh straight victory, Tuesday night, in the Class 1A regional semifinals. The game was stopped with 2:50 remaining in the second half due to lightning and was eventually called. The victory sends the Buccaneers to the regional final to take on the top seed, state power American Heritage Delray.

After two early nets by the Panthers, Benjamin’s offense would get into gear with a five-goal run to take a 5-2 lead with 11:25 seconds remaining in the first half. The Buccaneers received goals from senior attackman Nicole Nicklaus, freshman Piper Tuohey and Madison Jayson, and a pair from junior Ava Schulties during the critical sequence.

The Benjamin girls lacrosse team celebrates its 10-8 victory over Pine Crest, on the team bus, after a lightning storm halted the action with 2 minutes, 50 seconds remaing.

The Benjamin girls lacrosse team celebrates its 10-8 victory over Pine Crest, on the team bus, after a lightning storm halted the action with 2 minutes, 50 seconds remaing.

“I’m really happy with our performance,” said Benjamin head coach Quinn Roe. “We have been tested a lot this season with having such a difficult schedule in the first half of the season. But I think through that we were able to rely kind of on the things that we learned early on in the season and where we needed to make adjustments. 

"It definitely helped getting a key player like Grace Tighe back halfway through the season. That has been huge for us. I’m just really proud of the resilience on the team. It could have gone a much different direction this season coming in with more losses than wins, but we learned a lot from those losses. I’m very proud of the resilience and the way that we fought back. We took control over the last five games we have been playing. I’m super impressed and super proud.”

Led by Tighe, Benjamin’s face-off wins and subsequent time of possession helped build its 7-4 halftime advantage. The senior midfielder/defender won eight draws, including key controls in the early going.

The Panthers were led by Lilli Forman with three goals and two assists. The junior scored the first goal of the game and her last with 16:40 remaining in the second period to cut Benjamin’s lead to 9-6. Pine Crest also received three goals from senior Alexandra Gladding and two goals from junior Alexa Cepero.

The Panthers scored three straight goals in the second half to cut the lead to 9-8 with 6:13 remaining in the game. Pine Crest’s final net from Cepero proved to be its last of the season before the weather stoppage. The Panthers were in Benjamin’s offensive zone before the game was halted. This was a rematch of a game Pine Crest won 8-7 back in February.

The Buccaneers were led by Tuohey with four goals. The freshman scored which proved to be the final goal of the game with 4:23 remaining after Pine Crest cut the lead to one. Tuohey also scored back-to-back goals in the first half to give Benjamin a 7-3 advantage. Schulties finished with three goals while junior Abby Spunar added a goal in the second half. The game was called after about an hour from the initial stoppage in play.

Benjamin will look to dethrone American Heritage Delray (19-1) in the regional final. The Stallions are on a 12-game winning streak and feature Michigan commit Caroline Byrd.