By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/29/08
After blowing out every opponent it saw this year, one wondered how Radnor would react to a legitimate challenge.
Tuesday the Red Raiders had their chance – and they didn’t mess it up.
Radnor fell behind, 9-7, to defending Central League champion Springfield-Delco, but rallied for a 13-12 victory over the Cougars in a showdown of league unbeatens.
The win left the Raiders – ranked No. 1 by Phillylacrosse.com – alone atop the league standings with a 7-0 mark (14-0 overall). Springfield, ranked fourth, falls to 6-1 (11-3 overall).
“It was really kind of a gut check and we hadn’t been in that situation yet, but we knew we had it in us,” said Radnor senior co-captain Kelly Barnes. “We know the target on our back keeps on getting bigger.”
The Cougars had seized the two-goal lead by rattling off the first four goals of the second half – two by Madison Poplawski and one each by Rebecca Hartrum (three goals) and Samantha Tajirian (three goals).
But senior co-captain Beth Ellis (three goals) cut the deficit to 9-8 with 18 minutes, 33 seconds to play and sophomore Courtney Campbell (six goals) scored twice to give Radnor a 10-9 advantage with 16:22 left.
Springfield-Delco responded with goals by Aly Adams and Tajirian to take the lead again, 11-10, but Ellis fed Molly Early for the game-tying tally and then put the Raiders ahead for good off a free position shot with 8:35 to play.
Barnes (three assists) scored on a crucial insurance goal with 4:49 to play before Hartrum made it 13-12 with 1:34 to play.
“For the Central League title this was an important game,” said Barnes. “They won it last year and the last time we won it was in 2003. This is something we all really wanted, and a goal we set in the beginning of the year.”
One key to Radnor’s comeback was its ability to gain possession of the draws. Ellis, Barnes, Kelyn Freedman and Kelsey Martin shared in taking the draws.
“Draw controls were the most important thing, because every time we got a draw we’d score,” Ellis said.