By Harry Chaykun
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/16/13
Six months ago, Conestoga sophomore Laney Stenson had a talk with Pioneers head coach Amy Orcutt.
“I was the varsity goalie for the soccer team,” Stenson said. “I played defense for the JV team in lacrosse last year, but (Orcutt) asked me if I would consider switching to goal.”
Stenson agreed to give it a try, and she spent a lot of time working with former Conestoga and Bucknell University goalie Katie Hartsock. Tuesday afternoon at Teamer Field, Stenson, who stands about five feet tall, came up very big for the Pioneers, turning away a dozen shots as ‘Stoga (7-1, 4-1) bounced back from last week’s loss to Harriton to deal visiting Radnor (6-2, 4-1) its first Central League loss, 16-9.
The Red Raiders came into the game as the only Central team with a perfect league record.
Stenson, who is left-handed, stopped six shots in each half and watched as her teammates stretched a two-goal lead with 22 minutes to play to an eight-goal advantage. Maggie Friel had two goal and an assist and Mackenzie Orr a goal and an assist in the five-minute run.
Friel and Orr shared high-scoring honors for ‘Stoga with three goals and one assist each, while Meghan McGillis scored twice and had a pair of assists and Catie Smith (one assist), Lexi King and Megan Cameron each had two goals.
“We felt we just didn’t want it enough in the Harriton game,” said Friel, a junior who spent her winter helping Conestoga’s 4 x 400-meter relay team qualify for the Indoor National Track Championships in New York. “We had to put it behind us and move on to today’s game.
“Radnor’s become one of our big rivals, so it wasn’t hard to come out with intensity for this game.”
Conestoga scored the first four goals of the first half, then Radnor answered with four scores. Smith and McGillis offset a goal by Radnor’s Shannon Quinn in the last four seconds to give the Pioneers a 6-5 halftime lead.
Smith’s steal and sharp pass set up Orr, then McGillis assisted King as Conestoga opened the second-half scoring before Quinn, who finished with four goals, tallied for Radnor. The next six times a number advanced on the scoreboard, it was on the Pioneers’ side of the board.
At the other end of the field, Stenson was getting defensive support from Hamblett, Jessie Beer, Smith, Brittany Bowers, McGillis, Elsie Wagner and Orr in frustrating the Red Raiders.
“I had the goalie’s mentality from soccer, and I just let my instincts take over,” Stenson said. “I had the stick skills from playing defense.
“We had lost our last league game, but we just decided to put all that behind us and start another winning streak.”
Last summer, Stenson played for the Phantastyx club team. This summer, she will play for a team under the direction of Brooke Fritz, Radnor’s head coach, who got to see just what she can do in yesterday’s game.
Conestoga 16, Radnor 9
Radnor 5 4 – 9
Conestoga 6 10 – 16
Radnor: Shannon Quinn 4G 1A, Brooke Pancoast 2G, Taylor Quinn1G, Hannah Proctor 1G, Kate Stanley 1G.
Conestoga: Maggie Friel 3G 1A, Mackenzie Orr 3G 1A, Meghan McGillis 2G 2A, Catie Smith 2G 1A, Lexy King 2G, Megan Cameron 2G, Blake Hamblett 1G, Claire Jackson 1G, Abby Lord 2A.
Saves – Radnor: Grace Collins 5, Maddie Lally 3. Conestoga: Laney Stenson 12.