Older sibling Kelly’s Hereford girls lacrosse squad edges Abbey’s John Carroll team in double OT on Antonakas’ goal


by Nelson Coffin

Family dynamics are usually complicated enough without siblings squaring off against each other in an athletic endeavor.

Yet the Swift family was faced with — and seemed to genuinely relish — a battle between older sister Kelly Swift’s No. 16 Hereford High girls lacrosse team and Abbey Swift’s John Carroll School squad on Monday afternoon and into the evening in the Bulls’ 9-8 double-overtime verdict.

Maya Antonakas used an inside roll to land on the doorstep before she fired a shot past John Carroll goalie Julia Ward with 1 minute, 24 seconds remaining in the second extra session to finally settle the familial dispute.

John Carroll coach Abbey Swift (left) joked that she’s “still the boss” of older sister Kelly (right) even though Kelly’s Hereford team topped the Patriots in double overtime Monday. Mom, Debbie, played it down the middle during the game by rooting for both sides to play well, she said.

The sophomore midfielder’s third goal of the contest secured the Bulls’ fifth win of the season in six tries under first-year coach Kelly Swift, who was an assistant to Abbey at John Carroll for the previous seven years before taking over the job at her alma-mater this spring.

While the younger sister was previously in charge of the operation at John Carroll, facing Kelly on equal footing on the field for the first time made for some family fun.

“I’m still the boss,” Abbey insisted with a laugh after she and Kelly hugged it out following the non-league tussle.

After the Patriots (1-7) went on a 6-0 run, beginning with a goal by Lydia Ward with 2:35 left in the first half and ending on another by fellow sophomore midfielder Caitlyn Duranchek with 12:22 left in regulation, it appeared that Abbey might just get the best of her sister.

That, however, came before goals by the Bulls’ Lindsey Moneymaker and Kennedy Ziegler just 29 seconds apart tied the score at 8-8, setting the stage for a dramatic finish that featured outstanding clutch saves by both goalies — John Carroll’s Ward and Hereford’s MK McGonigle — late in regulation and in overtime.

Both Swifts showed that bragging rights matter by the intensity they displayed while urging their respective teams forward.

Kelly, naturally, had a much greater appreciation for Abbey’s players after helping to groom them for several seasons.

“It’s bittersweet,” Kelly said about defeating the team she used to help coach. “Just to see those girls and how much bigger, faster and stronger they’ve become. And we had a real chance in OT, but Julia (Ward) got us.”

Kelly said that she tried to prepare her team for a tough second half after building a 6-3 advantage at the intermission.

“I told them at halftime that three goals is nothing,” she said.

At a meeting between officials, captains and the coaches before the overtime, the Swifts broke into laughs while digesting the irony of a family feud playing out to the nth degree.

“Is this really happening, are we going into overtime,?” Kelly said she asked Abbey.

It did happen — and not in Abbey’s favor.

“It stings a little,” Abbey admitted before heading off the field with other family members — including their mother, Debbie — for a dinner together. “But it was such a cool opportunity. Not many people can say that they’ve had an opportunity like this.”

Abbey, a former Towson High and UMBC lacrosse standout, said that she’s proud of how well Kelly is molding the Bulls into such a formidable team in Baltimore County.

“She’s kicking butt, and I’m really happy for her,” Abbey said, before taking one more dig at her sister. “I taught her everything she knows.”

Debbie Swift was much more diplomatic, saying that she now knows how the mother of the football Manning brothers and Harbaugh brothers must feel.

“I sat right in the middle (of fans of both teams),” she said. “I’m just thankful that they’re not living at home and sharing a bedroom.”

Pictured above: Hereford coach Kelly Swift, center, had her team well prepared to knock off younger sibling Abbey’s John Carroll squad on Monday.

NO. 16 HEREFORD 9, JOHN CARROLL SCHOOL 8 (2 OT)

John Carroll 3 5 0 0 — 8
Hereford 6 2 0 1 — 9

Goals: John Carroll- E mmie King, Lydia Ward, Natalie Kelly, Lily Lutz, Macy Vail, Caitlyn Duranchek 2, Grace Milliron; Hereford – Maya Antonakas 3, Jordan Peterson 2, Lindsey Moneymaker 2, Kennedy Ziegler, Madison Izzo.
Assists: John Carroll – Lydia Ward, Natalie Kelly 2, Lily Lutz; Hereford – Jordan Peterson, Maddie Fuller, Kennedy Ziegler.
Saves: John Carroll – Julia Ward 6, Emma Bison; Hereford – MK McGonigle 6.