By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/9/12
HERSHEY – Hallie Barnes scored 23 seconds into sudden death overtime today to give Garnet Valley a stunning 10-9 come-from-behind victory over Strath Haven, for its second straight Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) girls’ lacrosse championship at HersheyPark Stadium.
The Jaguars (24-3) came back from an 8-3 second-half deficit, and a 9-7 deficit with 1:01 to play.
Haley Warden (three goals) drew the Jaguars within 9-8 with 46 seconds to play and Allyson Heavens tied it with 27 seconds to play in regulation on a free position shot.
Garnet Valley won the draw to open the overtime and soon Barnes got the ball in front of the cage. She rolled left to right and beat Hallie Yancey (10 saves) for the game-winner.
“I think the heart and passion that we have – the experience – it all got bottled into the last few minutes,” said Barnes. “It was a gut check. We had to decide if we wanted to win or lose.”
Barnes said she considered holding the ball out before her winning shot.
“Ally (Heavens) looked at me and made eye contact,” she said. “It was either a flip pass or an X cut,” she said. “We have done it a thousand times in practice. I wasn’t sure if we should be slowing it down or shooting, but I just ripped it.”
Garnet Valley, which finished a disappointing fourth in the District 1 tournament after winning the Central League with an undefeated record, closed the year with four wins by one or two goals in the state playoffs over top-notch competition – District 3 champion Manheim Township (undefeated before the game), District 1 third-place finisher Harriton and District 1 champion Radnor along with the win over Strath Haven.
“I think this year, maybe because it’s fresher, we worked so hard,” Barnes said. “We gave everything we had and there was no turning back. It just feels awesome.”
Strath Haven (17-10), the Cinderella team which came out of the District 1 tourney as the No. 6 seed, had taken an 8-3 lead with six unanswered goals during a stunning period of 27 minutes.
In that time, the Panthers – who were defeated by Garnet Valley, 12-6 and 16-6 earlier this year – completely dominated the game and controlled the pace with a precise ball movement and steady defense as well as outstanding goaltending by Hallie Yancey (10 saves).
Kirsten Wilhelmsen (two goals) gave Strath Haven an 8-3 edge with 18:07 left to play and shortly after that Garnet Valley coach Kate Henwood was hit with a red card for arguing calls and tossed from the game.
The incident seemed to give her team a spark, though, and Heavens broke a slump of 26:43 scoreless minutes to make it 8-4 with 9:43 to play. Heavens scored again and then Warden made it 8-6 before Barnes took a feed from AnnaElise Morello to draw her team within 8-7 with 4:41 to play.
Strath Haven responded as Kristen Hansen (two goals) made it 9-7 13 seconds later. The Panthers won a draw control and began to hold the ball before finally giving it up with 1:01 to play.
“Right after coach Henwood got thrown out of the game we got so fired up,” Morello said. “We wanted to do it for her and our senior class. We figured why not make it a win?
“The one thing we stressed before overtime was the draw. No matter, we had to get the draw. We put a lot of work in this year and it’s great that it paid off.”
Added senior Missy Koscinski: “When we were down, with eight of us seniors, we knew the game wasn’t over and we weren’t going to end our season. It was our last game playing together, and ending with a loss just wasn’t a possibility.”
Strath Haven coach Rachel Busza said her team had nothing to be ashamed of. The Panthers were a considerable underdog coming in and had been badly beaten by the Jags in the two previous meetings.
“My kids are all about gallant efforts,” Busza said. “Considering the big picture – I have no first teamers (in the Central League) and no All-Americans and we were killed twice by them. And we came here and played like that. That’s our banner (pointing to a huge banner that said Believe) ‘Believe’ – that should be an inspiration to every lacrosse teams.
“If you play together you are going to get what you saw today; and who knows? Next year it will be us getting the goal in overtime. It was a shame somebody had to lose today.”
Koscinski said her team was not overconfident despite having won handily against Strath Haven twice coming in. She said the Jags used a comparison of last year when her team fell to Downingtown East by 10 goals in the district finals and then defeated the Cougars in the state final.
“We didn’t take them lightly at all and we knew they would fight to the end – and that’s what they did,” she said. “They spread the ball on offense well and possessed it so well. They had good transition. I also think we beat ourselves in the beginning.”
Garnet Valley 10, Strath Haven 9, OT
Garnet Valley 3-6-1- 10
Strath Haven 5-4-0- 9
Haley Warden 3g
Allyson Heavens 3g, 1a
Hallie Barnes 2g
AnnaElise Morello 1g, 1a
Dana Davis 1g
Ashley Pyle 1a
Kate Stroup 6 saves
Laura Rowan 2g
Kristen Hansen 2g
Kirsten Wilhelmsen 2g
Harte Clements 1g
Morgan Glassford 1g, 1a
Sara Labrum 1a
Lexi Mazur 1g, 1a
Hallie Yancey 10 saves