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So. Lehigh edges Bears in lacrosse

Back-and-forth for nearly 50 minutes, Pleasant Valley’s match with Southern Lehigh Thursday had all the makings of one that might come down to the final possession.

But the Spartans put together a second-half surge on offense, and buckled down on defense, to come away with a 16-14 non-league win over the Bears that secured their sixth straight victory.

Four straight goals midway through the second half pushed Southern Lehigh’s lead to 14-11 – the largest advantage for either side in the contest – and provided enough of a margin that Pleasant Valley couldn’t overcome.

The Bears came close.

“Our team is right there,” said Pleasant Valley head coach Toni Bush. “They are forcing these strong teams to work hard, and for us, that’s progress.”

Pleasant Valley led 11-10 following Brianna Shupp’s second goal of the game in the second half, before Southern Lehigh made its run.

The Bears (2-4) made it a one-goal game twice down the stretch.

Brielle McInaw scored with 10:43 remaining to cut the Spartans’ lead to 14-13. The junior fired in her eighth goal of the night with 7:28 to play to make it 15-14.

“She had a really good game tonight,” Bush said of McInaw, who also had two assists. “Her speed, and just having her on the circle … she’s got that quick burst.”

McInaw had five goals in the first half, helping Pleasant Valley build an early 3-1 lead.

Southern Lehigh (6-2) took a 5-3 advantage on a score by Reese Macintosh with 14:20 left in the first half. But a slashing call on the Spartans 0:30 later put them down a player for two minutes, and the Bears capitalized with goals from Alexandra Bush and McInaw to tie it at 5-5.

The momentum stayed with PV, as Bush and Shupp scored to put the Bears ahead 7-5 with under 8:00 to play in the first half.

Riley Macintosh pulled one of those goals back before McInaw again found the back of the net to make it a two-goal game.

Southern Lehigh scored twice in the final minute of the half, with Caroline Bennett’s goal with 0:06 to play tying the score at 8-8.

Early in the second half, Pleasant Valley went ahead 10-9 on a goal from Bush with 19:48 to play, before Iris Gluck tied with a shorthanded goal.

“At the end of the day, they stepped up,” said Spartans coach Kevin Cain. “They played aggressive when they had to play aggressive; I think they got loose balls when they needed to get loose balls.

“We had decent play transitioning through the midfield, and we finished a fair amount of shots today. If we’re not doing that in this game, we probably don’t win.”

Southern Lehigh saw five players score multiple goals. Reese Macintosh finished with five goals, while Teah Lakatos and Gluck both had three scores and two assists, and Jess Mantz contributed two assists. Riley Macintosh - who had the game’s final score with 0:19 left - finished with three goals. Bennett scored twice.

Bush finished with four goals and an assist for the Bears. Julia DeYoung had an assist.

With a starting lineup that featured four juniors, three seniors, three freshmen and two sophomores, Toni Bush knows the future is bright for a program that has already made great strides this season.

“We have veteran players that are leading, but the younger players are stepping up to the plate,’ said Bush, “and I think you saw that in the way they played tonight.”

STEPPING IN … Freshman Adreeanah Mendez made her first varsity start at goalie for PV and finished with three saves.

CLOSING IN … Alexandra Bush entered Thursday’s game with 92 career goals. The junior now needs four more to hit 100. Her next chance to get closer will come Saturday at home against Parkland (3-2).

PENALTIES … Trailing 15-14, Pleasant Valley had two yellow cards in the final 5:03, losing a player for two minutes on each occasion.

Pleasant Valley's Alexandra Bush fires a shot to score a first-half goal against Southern Lehigh. MIKE FEIFEL/TIMES NEWS