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Defending state champion Garnet Valley will face major test vs. St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (Va.) in Katie Samson Classic next April

Wednesday, 28th September 2011

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By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 9/28/11

With all but one starter returning, defending Pennsylvania girls’ lacrosse champion Garnet Valley figures to be a highly-ranked team in the national ratings when the 2012 season begins.

On April 28, the Jaguars will face the ultimate test.

Garnet Valley, seen here celebrating its state title last June, willl face Virginia power St. Stephen's & St. Agnes at the Katie Samson tourney in April

On the stage of the 12th annual Katie Samson Lacrosse Festival at Radnor, Garnet Valley will meet perennial Virginia powerhouse St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes. The matchup is the marquee girls’ contest on the schedule, which features 14 girls’ contests and 13 boys’ games. The Katie Samson Festival raises money and awareness for spinal cord injury treatment and development. (See story on schedule released Tuesday.)

“We are stoked about the opportunity to play a long-standing Virginia powerhouse this year at Katie Samson,” said Garnet Valley coach Kate Henwood. “They have been a reigning program for decades and playing them will serve as an accurate measure about where we stand nationally.

“The girls will be ready for the challenge.”

The Jags return a brilliant senior class, led by the Phillylacrosse.com Co-Player of the Year, midfield/attack Halley Barnes (committed to Rutgers), as well as First Team All-American and All-Phillylacrosse.com midfielder Allyson Heavens (Penn State), attack Kate Stroup (Temple) and attack AnnaElise Morello (Yale).

St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes is coached by the legendary Kathy Jenkins, who unofficially is the winningest coach in scholastic girls’ lacrosse history with 582 wins since starting the program in 1976.

The Saints went 31-2 last year and won their fifth straight Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Tournament championship while taking their 17th straight DC Independent Schools League title.

More amazing is that Jenkins has lost only two starters from that club and returns 10 players that already have committed to Division I programs. Two of the commits are considered among the top juniors in the country: attack Carly Reed (North Carolina, school-record 153 goals in 2011) and midfielder Besser Dyson (Virginia). Some of the top seniors include midfielder Paige Patterson (UNC), defender Michele Phillips (Notre Dame) and attack Sarah Wilcox (Vanderbilt).

“(Radnor coach) Brooke (Fritz) thought it would be nice to play Garnet Valley since they were the top team and they pretty much had everybody back,” said Jenkins. “It should be a god matchup.”

Last year the Saints played Philly’s Episcopal Academy in the Roland Park (Md.) tournament and earned a 9-6 win as they finished the year with a 19-game win streak. St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes returns 21 players.

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