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Bears fall in EPC semis

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    Brielle McInaw (11) of Pleasant Valley goes around an Easton defender. DON HERB/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS

Published May 09. 2019 12:19PM

NORTHAMPTON – Pleasant Valley made it a game early and never left Easton get comfortable in Wednesday’s Eastern Pennsylvania Conference girls’ lacrosse semifinal.

But ultimately, the top-seeded Red Rovers pulled away for a 19-12 victory at Al Erdosy Field

The contest was tied at 3-3 in the first seven minutes of the game, as the fourth-seeded Bears had their offense clicking early.

“We did start off a little slow, but once we got in our groove, things started to click and we played our game.” Easton head coach Michelle Mihalko said.

The Rovers took control by scoring four straight goals to take a 7-3 lead, forcing Pleasant Valley head coach Toni Bush to call a timeout to slow down the Easton offense and regroup.

“Coming in here and playing Easton, we knew that it was going to be tough,” Bush said. “I’m impressed with our girls for hanging in there. They worked so hard; no subs and they pushed it to the last minute. I’m proud of them.”

Pleasant Valley made its first appearance in the EPC tournament. For the young program, a 14-4 regular season and a league playoff berth is a definite step in the right direction.

“It was a great experience to be here and for the girls, we have a super-young team and for them to keep the score as tight as it was throughout the game ... we’re happy with that,” Bush said. “We just made some mistakes and didn’t capitalize on the advantages we had. It happens, and we’ll learn from it.”

Recently-named Lehigh Valley Health Network Times News Athlete of the Week Julianna Lopez scored five goals for the Bears. Brielle McInaw joined her by doing the same, as the duo combining for 10 of Pleasant Valley’s 12 goals.

Coming into Wednesday, there haven’t been any major changes to the Bears game plan, but a lot of learning has taken place for Pleasant Valley’s squad over the season.

“We’ve just been doing what we’ve been doing,” Bush said. “We’ve been playing and getting better as the season goes on. Playing tough teams like this helps us learn more than anything and what we need to do to prepare for the next one. We’ll definitely learn from tonight as we prepare for districts.”

Easton will play Parkland for the EPC title on Monday at 5 p.m. at Northampton High School.

UP NEXT ... Pleasant Valley will be off until the start of the District 11 playoffs. The date, site and opponent have yet to be announced.

IMPROVEMENT ... The Bears kept the game much closer than a 21-9 loss they suffered against Easton in their regular season meeting on April 2.

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