By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/3/08
Springfield-Delco coach Keith Broome laughed after being reminded that he could only name four definite starters just before the season began.
The Cougars – who lost nearly all of their starters from a 21-0 team – may have been an unknown quantity back then. But Tuesday night at Marple Newtown they completed a rare hat trick by defeating Great Valley, 13-11, for a third straight District One Class AA championship.
Madison Poplawski scored four goals and Sam Tajirian added three while goalie Meghan Kearney turned aside seven shots as Springfield (19-3) scored four unanswered goals to late in the first half and early in the second half to build a 10-6 lead.
“I have to be honest, at the beginning of the season we did not know who our 12 starters were,” Broome said. “We had graduated so many and we knew we had a large group of juniors coming up to go with our seniors. And they just played good as a unit.”
Rebecca Hartrum and Sam Tulskie each added two goals for Springfield-Delco while Shannon Burns and Aly Adams scored once. Shannon Doyle played strong defense.
“We have a ton of momentum and we know this is our goal every year – to win the championship,” said Kearney. “We don’t have any other goal.”
Emily Ellisen led the Patriots with four goals and Keelin Hood added three while Kim Wenger scored two goals. Colleen O’Malley and Haley Sheehan added one tally apiece.
The Cougars took control of the game when Poplawski and Hartrum scored late in the first half to break a 6-6 deadlock. Poplawski and Burns then scored early in the second half to make it 10-6 and Great Valley never got within a goal the rest of the way as the Cougars’ speed and defensive pressure wore the Pats down.
“We had Shannon Doyle and a few others marking their best players,” Tajirian said. “We were focused on getting the draws and marking tight all the way up the field. I think we played great defense.”
“In the beginning we had a couple lulls and the defense wasn’t ready,” said Kearney. “But we got into it. And anytime they scored and tried to get back in, we’d get it back.”
Kearney said the Cougar players feed off the school’s winning tradition.
“Everyone knows what they have to do to get here,” she said. “Being here three times, we knew all the work during the season pays off.”
Tajirian agreed: “I know we lost a lot of great players, but we knew we had great players again this year and we worked so hard in practice. We knew we could get here if we worked hard.”
Great Valley coach Joe Tornetta blamed himself for not having his team as prepared as he wanted.
“It falls on me,” he said. “I’m the one who is paid to get them ready to play, and unfortunately they weren’t ready to play tonight, and that’s my fault. I feel bad for the kids that I let them down”
Tornetta also credited Springfield-Delco for its speed and ball control skills.
“They’ve got speed – a lot of speed,” he said. “We needed to be smarter with the ball when we did gain possession. We needed to turn up our intensity on the draw controls; we were flat on the draw controls.”