By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/1/11
There really were no losers Saturday when Bryn Mawr (Md.) defeated host Radnor, 14-9, in a special matchup at the 11th annual Katie Samson Lacrosse Festival.
The game pitted one of Baltimore’s top teams – a squad ranked 22 by ESPN RISE – and the two-time Pennsylvania state champion Red Raiders.
More importantly, it showcased the true meaning of the Katie Samson Festival.
One of Radnor’s starters is junior defender Molly Samson, Katie’s sister. One of Radnor’s assistant coaches is none other than Katie Samson herself, who recently moved back to the area after living several years out West.
And one of Bryn Mawr’s top players is the Samson’s first cousin, Kaleigh Noon, a standout lacrosse player headed to William & Mary.
Noon had come to the first nine Katie Samson Festivals as a fan. For years it was hoped that that the Festival could draw top girls’ programs from outside of the Philadelphia region – and this year the Bryn Mawr Mawrtians became a new ambassador for the cause of raising money and awareness for spinal cord research by making a remarkable fundraising drive.
Bryn Mawr raised over $2,500 for the Katie Samson Foundation through bake sales, a youth clinic and by getting donations. In its 11 years, the Foundation has raised more than $1 million for spinal cord research in the name of Katie Samson – a Radnor alum who suffered a serious spinal cord injury 11 years ago in a sledding accident after leading Middlebury College (Conn.) to a Division III National championship.
Noon said getting to participate in the Katie Samson Festival was an honor and a dream come true.
“I have come up every year except last year because I had a game that day,” she said. “To get everyone involved and for everyone to come up here meant a lot to me and my family.”
Noon said she educated her teammates and the Bryn Mawr community about Katie Samson and how she has continued to live a full live and participate in adaptive sports while being in a wheelchair.
“I tried to explain what happened and everyone at Bryn Mawr wanted to raise money – not just the lacrosse teams,” Noon said. “We got parent donations, had bake sales and we had a clinic for younger kids.
“We sent out flyers through the whole Baltimore community and explained it was to raise money for spinal cord awareness. We had about 70 kids. We hope more teams from Baltimore will come up.”
Bryn Mawr’s remarkable stickwork and passing skills were superior in the game. The Mawrtians (13-2) got four goals and an assist for North Carolina-bound Morgan Rubin and four more goals from Kassandra Bowling.
Lindsay Grossman led Radnor with three goals and Leah Gallagher add two goals and an assist while Taryn Deck scored twice and Annie Woehling made 11 saves.
“I just think it doesn’t get much better than this,” said Molly Samson. “We played on a beautiful day and we we were playing for a great cause – my sister!
“It (the Festival) started when I was six years old and it’s grown so much. I am so happy that I can now be a part of it. The community really comes together and they are so supportive.”
Samson said her team learned a lot about itself from playing Bryn Mawr.
“Their stickwork and the way they move the ball is amazing,” she said. “We learned we need to use our strengths.
“We are definitely faster than them and we didn’t take advantage of that. We needed to take some risks because we had nothing to lose. I don’t think we’ll play anybody better than them.”