By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 8/6/10
Sara Carzo said Strath Haven had no doubts it could defeat Radnor when the host Panthers geared for their Central League game against the defending state champions on May 6.
“We had a positive mindset,” said the junior attack. “We had been preparing for this game mentally and physically, and we were ready.”
Indeed, the Panthers proved they were prepared for the contest. They defeated the
Red Raiders, 9-8, on Carzo’s goal with 20 seconds left in the second overtime in the 2010 Phillylacrosse.com Female Game of the Year. (See Honorable Mention games)
The game, played in front of a huge crowd, was chosen for its impact on the season, drama and overall importance. It helped Strath Haven claim a tie for its first-ever Central League crown (with Radnor and Springfield-Delco) and snapped the Raiders’ 34-game league win streak – its lone regular-season defeat of the past three years.
The win also was the first for Strath Haven over Radnor in at least 10 years.
After the loss, Radnor ran the table, winning its final 10 games to claim the District 1 championship and repeat as Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) champion with a 26-1 record and a ranking of No. 3 in Lacrosse Magazine and No. 5 in LaxPower. Many of the Raider players pointed to that game as a turning point to their season after taking the state crown at HersheyPark Stadium.
For Strath Haven, the victory was redemption in another way – it had fallen to Radnor, 20-10, in the state finals the previous year. And even with the loss of Phillylacrosse.com Player of the Year Emily Garrity, three of its four other top scorers to graduation and long-time coach Margie Garrity, the Panthers proved to be a force again.
Radnor led, 8-7, late in regulation, but Ana White (three goals) tied it with four minutes to play. Alex Duckenfield (one goal, two assists) had the assist on Carzo’s game-winner.
“It was a total team effort,” said Carzo, who scored twice. “They had a very strong attack, but our defense was really on all in sync with each other. We knew what we had to do and we went out and did it.”
Carzo credited first-year coach Jen Duckenfield for the game-plan.
“Coach Duck really prepared us and motivated us,” Carzo said. “We couldn’t have done it without her. She gave us the positive mindset”
Carzo said the Panthers had something to prove to everyone in 2010.
“We lost Emily and people really weren’t expecting us to be the team we were this year,” she said. “If we had an advantage (against Radnor), it was that they weren’t expecting us to be that good.
“I think our whole attack played well in that game, and they could not mark just one person. I think it was a great accomplishment. I am really happy for the team that we were able to do it this year.”
Summer O’Donnell,, Jenna Frost and Lexi Mazur also scored for Strath Haven while Caroline Kelly, Kelly Molloy, Caroline Murphy and Clare Sherry paved the defense and goalie Lela Meunier had 11 saves in a strong performance.
“We knew they were the best team we were going to face the entire season,” said O’Donnell. “We had to take care of the ball and be really careful of our shots.
“We just knew we had to play good team defense and we stepped it up and probably had our best defensive effort of the entire season and post-season when we needed it the most.
“We went in confident and worked as a team, which was awesome. There was such a great atmosphere after the win. For us to come together and accomplish that finally proved Haven lacrosse is still a great program.”