By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/2/09
Emily Garrity scored seven goals, including the 400th of her career, as Strath Haven raced to a 13-4 lead and held off a late Unionville rally to claim a 16-14 victory tonight in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) girls’ lacrosse semifinals at West Chester East.
The victory vaults the Panthers (21-4) into the championship game Saturday against Central League rival Radnor at noon (tape relayed on PCN at 4 p.m.). Radnor advanced with an easy 23-2 rout of District 3 champion Manheim Township.
The matchup between Radnor and Strath Haven will pit the No. 1 and No. 2-ranked teams in the state in the PA Media Rankings. To–ranked Radnor defeated Strath Haven twice this year, 19-18 in the regular season and 20-11 in the District 1 finals.
The Panthers, though, looked their best in the first half and early in the second half tonight when they built the cushion against a team that eliminated District 1 champion Springfield-Delco, 10-8, on Saturday.
Although Garrity reached the milestone, it was a day when Strath Haven’s ball movement and ability to win the draw controls proved to be the real story.
Annalise Penikis added three goals and two assists for the Panthers while Ana White had three goals and one assist and Alex Duckenfield scored twice. Claire Sherry scored once and freshman goalie Lela Meunier made nine saves.
“We played as a team and that’s what we love to see,” said Garrity, a North Carolina signee who now has 402 career goals. It is unknown where she stands in state history for career goals. “We love to see our teammates finish as much as ourselves. We’re selfless, anything to get the goal in the net.”
“It’s a rush going to states for the first time ever,” added Duckenfield. “We just played like a team. We included everyone. That was one of our best games this season. It showed just how much of a team we are.”
Lindsey Smith led the Indians (21-4) with four goals in the second half and five overall. Julie Moran had three goals and two assists and Erica Midiri added three goals while Jackie Thaeder, Julie Truluck and Erin Linthicum each scored once.
Smith’s efforts in the second half helped bring the Indians back into the game after they fell behind, 14-5, on a Duckenfield goal with 15 minutes to play. But after a timeout by coach Wendy Landry, Unionville got five of the next six goals to draw within 15-10. Duckenfield scored with 5:43 to play to make it 16-10, but the Indians continued to press and drew within 16-13 on a free position goal by Moran with 1:28 to play.
Strath Haven, though, got a key possession and the Indians managed just a tally by Midiri in the final 11 seconds.
“When I called the timeout, I told them you have to press the ball and get it back,” Landry said. “I said, ‘What are you waiting for? And if this is how you want to go out, that’s up to you.’
“I am so proud of my team for the heart that they showed. Unfortunately, we waited until it was too late to try and come back.”
Landry said the Indians changed their strategy from the first time the teams met (a 10-6 Strath Haven win).
“The last game we played them we tried to take Emily out,” Landry said. “Lindsey (Smith) is the only one who can stay with her and that took Lindsey out of our game. And, we told the girls, if Emily is getting the ball you have to be more aware. We were too intimidated in the first half.
“We weren’t smart. We weren’t marking Emily tight and we weren’t marking Ana White tight. We were throwing the ball away; Strath Haven just played a full game.”
White said the Panthers have had the confidence all along that they could reach the state finals, even though they did not reach the district finals after suffering the disappointing 20-11 loss to Radnor in the semis.
“I think we just believed in ourselves,” White said. “We’re all tightly bonded and we are all one unit. We worked really well today.”
Strath Haven 16, Unionville 14
Unionville 4-10 – 14
Strath Haven 9-7 – 16
Unionville: Lindsey Smith 5g, Erica Midiri 3g, Julie Moran 3g, Jackie Thaeder 1g, Julie Truluck 1g, Erin Linthicum 1g.
Strath Haven: Emily Garrity 7g, Annalise Penikis 3g, Ana White 3g, Alex Duckenfield 2g, Clare Sherry 1g.
Saves: Melissa Lloyd (U) 6, Lela Meunier (SH) 9.