By Harry Chaykun
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/30/12
Conestoga High senior Emily Pillion and Haverford senior Katrina Geiger are friends.
“I was playing against her in the regular season and I fell and broke my wrist,” Pillion said. “I remember standing there watching some of our games when I wasn’t allowed to play. That was really tough.”
Wednesday night at West Chester East High, Pillion was on the field at Zimmerman Stadium wearing a heavily padded cast as the Pioneers, who were runner-up to Radnor in the District 1 tournament, took on District 1′s No. 5 seed, Great Valley in the opening round of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) girls’ lacrosse tourney.
‘Stoga, which had lost to Great Valley (22-2) in the regular season but beat the Patriots in district play, used a solid defensive effort to earn a 13-9 decision and a rematch with Central League rival Strath Haven (a 9-8 winner of Archbishop Carroll) in the quarterfinal round of the state tournament Saturday.
“Emily made some big plays, and it’s great to have her back on the field,” a smiling Conestoga head coach Amy Orcutt said. “We played great team defense tonight. Great Valley had the ball a lot in the second half, and that put the pressure on our defense.
“But they held it together, and Sarah Priem (10 saves in goal) was strong again. It is really rough having to play a team that good three times.”
Conestoga outscored Great Valley in the last eight minutes, 3-1, with Kelly Morrison, Mackenzie Orr and Catie Smith getting the goals. Meghan McGillis led the Pioneers’ attack with four goals and Smith had three.
“It was great to have our scoring spread around like it was,” Orcutt said.
Great Valley trailed at halftime, 6-5, but Emily Scullin (three goals) pulled the Pats even early in the second half. Morrison and McGillis answered for Conestoga, then Megan Cameron and McGillis countered a goal by Avery Murphy.
As the Pioneers (16-8) worked on protecting their lead, Pillion, Priem and the others on the defensive unit stayed solid in the face of Patriots pressure.
“When you play a team three times,” the James Madison-bound Pillion said, “you learn a lot about what you have to do against them. We played our hearts out tonight. It was a team effort. I did get to play against Strath Haven earlier, and I’m anxious to play against them again.”
Strath Haven earned an 11-9 decision over Conestoga when the teams met in a Central League contest.
“We know they beat us,” Orcutt said. “And we knew Great Valley had beaten us before we played them in districts.
“We plan to be ready for Saturday’s game.”
Conestoga 13, Great Valley 9
Great Valley 5 4 – 9
Conestoga 6 7 – 13
Great Valley – Emily Scullin 3G, Brittany Edwards 2G 1A, Kirsten Hale 1G, Ali Karwoski 1G, Caitlin Kratzer 1G, Avery Murphy 1G.
Conestoga – Meghan McGillis 4G 1A, Catie Smith 3G, Mackenzie Orr 2G, Kelly Morrison 2G, Maggie Friel 1G, Megan Cameron 1G.
Saves – Great Valley: Jenna Morris 5. Conestoga: Sarah Priem 10.