Valentine

Lily Valentine passes to a teammate in the Eagles' match with HSE on Saturday evening.

Fishers — When the Zionsville girls lacrosse team plays together as a unit, they are one of the top teams in the state and capable of beating anyone.

But Saturday afternoon at HSE, the Eagles saw what could happen when they didn't play together. The host Royals jumped out to a 9-2 lead at halftime, and topped Zionsville 15-8 in cold, rainy conditions.

"We really just need to play a team game much better than we did today," Zionsville head coach David Elefante said. "When we play as a team, and not trying to rely on one or two people to move the ball quickly, everyone contributes and we are tough to beat. When we are just relying on one person, once they get shut down, we can't do anything."

Things started out well for the Eagles, with Molly Rainey scoring in the opening minutes to give Zionsville a 1-0 lead.

But the Royals came back with three goals in 45 seconds, and ultimately led 5-1 before Kaija Kunttu scored to make it 5-2 with 9:51 left in the first half. But the Eagles wouldn't score again in the first half, and the Royals built a 9-2 advantage.

"It is the toughest thing, and we need to find a way to play two full halves against a good team," Elefante said. "We have shown brillance at times, and other times it looks like we don't know anything at all. Some of our girls just need to have that self confidence that they can do what they need to do to make it happen."

The teams traded goals early in the second half, but three-straight goals by Masi McNally-Henriksen, Lauren LaShell and Lilly Yott brought the Eagles within five with 11:56 to go.

But the Eagles could get no closer, as the Royals scored the next three to push the lead back to eight.

Elefante said the second half was much better from his team, and was closer to what they were looking for the entire game.

"That was the halftime talk," Elefante said. "We wanted to flush the first half, it happened and there is nothing we could do about it. The only thing we could do is take it one at a time, keep coming back and keep playing that team game. They responded, so that was encouraging. They can see it, but it is something we have to keep working on for the playoffs."

The Eagles are right back in action Monday at home against Brebeuf Jesuit.

They then play Penn on Saturday in a preview of the sectional opener.

Elefante said it is a big week for his team.

"That will be a good test for our girls to see where we are at," Elefante said. "But we have to build on the second half, move forward and really start getting ready for the playoffs."

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