It was a long road, and a painful one.
But when your destination is victory, the journey seemingly always feels worth it.
And now having arrived, the Cedar Crest girls lacrosse team intends to set a new, far smoother course.
Nearly four weeks since their season-opening victory over Red Lion, the Falcons rode a huge first-half run to beat Garden Spot, 17-8, for their second win of the spring. Not a dozen minutes in, Cedar Crest (2-8, 1-6 Lancaster-Lebanon) broke from its timeout during a tied game and sprinted to a 7-0 spurt, which furnished a sizable halftime lead the team never relinquished.
Maddie Barron and Riley Blatt each completed hat tricks during the game-breaking stretch, while Abbey Castor later notched a team-high five goals to match Barron. Blatt finished with four scores.
"We had a really positive mindset heading in to this game," Castor said. "Once we got a couple goals in, that positive mindset really kept our adrenaline running and the goals coming."
The early timeout, called by Falcons coach Emma Lebo after the Spartans (1-10, 0-7 Lancaster-Lebanon) had erased her team's 3-0 opening, contained a simple directive.
"We just needed to turn up the intensity on our end," Lebo said. "I think we definitely changed our tempo once we got up in the very beginning, and we needed to regain control of our game and play to our ability."
And that they did.
Later buoyed by a 10-4 edge at halftime, third-string goalie Rory Zimmel continued to help limit Garden Spot's attack outside of Kelsey Thoensen (four goals). Zimmel's entrance was one symptom of the recent thinning of Cedar Crest's roster due to injury, though regular goaltenders Serena Rodriguez and Tasia Rutler should both be healthy and available tomorrow.
Later on, little defense was needed over the Falcons' game-ending 4-0 run fueled by draw control dominance and more Castor and Barron scores. After the Spartans had closed to within five, Cedar Crest pushed back immediately to put all worries and tears away for good.
"I feel like we lost our way for a little bit there. But all around, everyone was working hard," Castor said.
A smile peeked through.
"And I'm not crying this game," she laughed.