By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/3/08
Many have called this team one of the best in Philadelphia history. Maybe it took a serious challenge from a game Bayard Rustin to learn how good Radnor actually is.
The win capped a 23-0 season for Radnor, which won its first district crown since 2003.
“I knew we were going to win,” said Radnor senior Molly Early. “Our motto is confident, not cocky. I knew we’d pull through because I believe in every one of our players.”
Gabby Miller, Kelly Barnes and Brooke Campbell led a balanced Radnor attack with three goals apiece. Early and Sam Ellis had two each while Kelyn Freedman and Allie Martin added one each.
Second-seeded Bayard Rustin (17-3) came out strong and seized a 5-0 lead in the first four-and-a-half minutes. The Knights led, 8-4, until Campbell scored two goals in the final minute of the opening half.
Radnor then scored six of the first seven goals of the second half, winning nearly every draw control.
“She (coach Phyllis Kilgour) said, ‘You guys are better, play your game,’” Early said of her coach’s halftime speech. “We started playing our game in transition. Then we settled down the attack and the draw controls were so crucial.”
Allison Tatios and Leanna Brewer each scored four goals for Rustin while Alyssa Gallen added two and Morgan Holbrook scored once. Kelsey Sward had 11 saves.
“You know as well as I do, you can’t score if you don’t have the ball,” said Rustin coach Dale Watkins. “I just think my kids worked very hard this season and deserved to be here. They’re disappointed, but they shouldn’t be.”
The Red Raiders used goals by Miller and Campbell to tied the game, 8-8, early in the second half. After Tatios put her team ahead, 9-8, Radnor scored four straight goals – by Early, Miller, Barnes and Martin – in a four-minute span to take a 12-9 lead.
During the half, the Raiders used their speed and ability to win draw controls to dominate possession.
“They’re very fast and they put it on you in a hurry,” Watkins said. “We almost did it, but almost doesn’t count.”
Miller said she had no doubts her team would rally in the second half.
“I never had a doubt that we were going to win,” Miller said. “We worked too hard to lose.”
Kilgour, who last week made the bold statement that this team was her best ever, was equally relieved and proud the Raiders managed to finish the season undefeated.
“It’s so rewarding to everybody,” she said. “I am so glad we did it. It would have been such a horrible shame if they had not been able to do it. I don’t think I could have lived with myself.”
Miller said the players dealt well with high expectations and a load of recognition.
“We’ve never let any of that publicity get to our heads and we’ve just played together,” Miller said. “That’s why we won, because we played as a team. No one had to say anything at halftime. We just had to work hard and get it done.”
Kilgour said this Raiders’ team has captured the devotion of everyone at Radnor.
“I can’t even describe it. It’s just an awesome group. It’s not just me the whole school loves this team. Every time I walk in that building, I have a teacher or someone in the cafeteria, or somebody stopping me, and telling me how great they are.”