By Harry Chaykun
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/24/12
Natalie Miller has been looking for a new Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association championship medal since misplacing the one she earned in 2010.
Second-year Radnor head coach Brooke Fritz was looking for a goalie late in the first half of Thursday night’s District 1 championship game against Conestoga and found what she had sought.
Miller scored four goals and had one assist and Colleen Packer, who replaced starter Grace Collins when she had to leave the field for a yellow card, ended up with seven saves on 10 shots, helped Radnor to a 14-7 decision over Conestoga at West Chester East Thursday night for the Red Raiders’ second district title in three years.
Radnor (19-4) opens PIAA Tournament play at West Chester East against Hatboro-Horsham, District 1′s seventh-place team, Wednesday afternoon in the opening game of a doubleheader. Conestoga (15-8) and Great Valley, the fifth-place finisher in District 1, meet in the second contest in a rematch of their district quarterfinal game, in which the Pioneers handed the Patriots their only loss of the season.
Miller scored three of her four goals in the first half, helping Radnor to a three-goal advantage at halftime. Libby Lowry (three goals), Taryn Deck (two goals), Miller and Shannon Quinn (two goals, two assists) scored the first four goals of the second half, and the Red Raiders rode the strong play in goal of Packer to control things in the second half.
“I had just turned to Molly Samson and told her to warm (Packer) up,” Fritz said. “And Colleen did a good job. We had a freshman (Hannah Procter) guarding (Meghan) McGillis (Conestoga’s scoring leader in its quarterfinal and semifinal wins) and she held her to one goal.
“This was a good win for us as a team.”
Packer, who has shared starting duties with Collins during the season, didn’t have time to worry when Collins was sent off the field 1:54 before halftime.
“I always try to make sure I’m ready to play,” she said. “I did get a little excited.”
So did her coaches, teammates and the Radnor fans when she kept turning shots away.
Abby Lord and Maggie Friel were Conestoga’s leaders with two goals apiece.
“It’s great to be a senior and to feel like you’re more a part of the team,” Lowry, who will play at Duquesne, said. “All of us who are seniors didn’t like the way last season ended.”
The 2011 campaign ended before Radnor had the chance to get back to states and defend its championship.
“That’s something that has helped us make sure we keep up our work ethic,” Miller said. “We all would like to get back to Hershey (site of the state final) again.”
In the third-place game:
Harriton 11, Garnet Valley 10
Freshman Jane Henderson scored the Rams’ last three goals, getting the game-winner with 2:55 to play, and sophomore goalie Melina Avery turned away Halley Barnes on an 8-meter shot 50 seconds before the final whistle.
Caeligh Foust finished with four goals for Harriton, which faces the District 11 champion in the opening round of the state tournament Wednesday. Top-seeded Nazareth and No. 3 Parkland meet for the District 11 title Friday.
Barnes scored three goals, AnnaElise Morello added two goals and Allyson Heavens got one goal and three assists for Garnet Valley, which will take on undefeated District 3 champion Manheim Township in the opening round at states.
Radnor 14, Conestoga 7
Conestoga 4 3 – 7
Radnor 7 7 – 14
Conestoga – Abby Lord 2G, Maggie Friel 2G, Elsie Wagner 1G, Kelly Morrison 1G, Meghan McGillis 1G, Mackenzie Orr 1A.
Radnor – Natalie Miller 4G 1A, Libby Lowry 3G, Shannon Quinn 2G 2A, Taryn Deck 2G, Amelie Yeager 2G, Kristen Norden 1G 1A.
Saves – Conestoga: Sarah Priem 10; Radnor: Grace Collins 3, Colleen Packer 7.
Harriton 11, Garnet Valley 10
Harriton 6 5 – 11
Garnet Valley 5 5 – 10
Harriton – Caleigh Foust 4G, Jane Henderson 3G, Jessica Schwab 3G, Sabrina Tabasso 1G.
Garnet Valley – Halley Barnes 3G 1A, Annaelise Morello 2G 1A, Allyson Heavens 1G 3A, Erica Coyne 1G, Ashley Pyle 1G, Kara Stroup 1G, Haley Warden 1G.
Saves – Harriton: Melina Avery 8, Garnet Valley: Kate Stroup 8.