By Harry Chaykun
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/7/13
Each Central League girls team played 11 league games. Four of those teams will be able to hang a banner in the gym bearing the words “2013 Central League Champion.”
Strath Haven saw to that Tuesday afternoon, earning a 12-11 decision over visiting Harriton, leaving the Panthers, Rams, Radnor and Springfield-Delco deadlocked with 9-2 league records.
When the district tournament committee meets Sunday to put together pairings for the district tournament, which begins May 14, Radnor should be the top seed, with Springfield-Delco at No. 2, Strath Haven at No. 3 and Harriton No. 4. The Red Raiders and Cougars had 2-1 records against the other teams that shared first place, but Radnor gets the seeding advantage because of its 9-8 win at Springfield last week.
Strath Haven and Harriton were 1-2 against the top teams, and the Panthers’ win Tuesday puts them ahead of Harriton for seeding purposes.
“This is great winning the Central League, but we all know that our big goal is to get back to states,” said Strath Haven junior Lily Kovach. “We were there last year and lost the final. We don’t want that to happen again.”
Harriton coach George Dick was called for a yellow card late in the first
half and the penalty led to two Panther goals.
“We’ll be No. 4 for the third year in a row,” said Dick, whose team’s 12-game winning streak came to a halt. “Give (Strath Haven) credit for playing well, getting draw controls and winning groundballs. We came back and were right there at the end. We just needed one more draw control.
“I got a yellow card (with 2:03 remaining in the first half) and they scored twice. Then we got a goal just as the half ended, so I’ll take the blame for that extra goal they got then. Now we know we have a new season starting next week, and we’ll have to be ready for it.”
Strath Haven (14-3), which dropped a 9-5 decision to undefeated Moorestown (N.J.) Saturday, was ready for Harriton (15-2), scoring five goals in the first 10 minutes, with Kirstin Wilhelmsen, who finished with three goals and two assists, finding the back of the cage twice.
Before the half ended, Wilhelmsen set up goals by Kristen Hansen and Morgan Glassford with Haven playing 1-up. Jane Henderson answered just as the half ended, leaving the visiting Rams three goals down at the break.
“Every Central League team you play capitalizes on your mistakes, and you have to capitalize on their mistakes,” Strath Haven coach Rachel Busza said. “Our team likes to play for each other, and we wanted to be patient when we were on attack.”
That patience resulted in three of the first four goals of the second half. Wilhelmsen countered a score by Harriton’s Maura Henderson, then Glassford (four goals, two assists) scored twice before Jane Henderson, who had three goals in the opening half, got the first two of her three after the break.
Glassford picked up her fourth goal with 10 and a half minutes to play.
“Harriton can really be tough when they’re on the attack,” Glassford said. “I thought our defense played well in stopping them when they had to. We believed if we played our game, we would win.”
Harriton junior Sabrina Tabasso, who had been held off the scoreboard for the first 41 minutes, got a pair of goals 45 seconds apart, and the Rams were only two goals behind.
Katie Sherry came up with a key draw control for Haven, and Glassford set up Katherine Restrepo for a score with 6:30 left. Restrepo left the game with an ankle injury in the first half, but contributed key minutes for Haven in the second.
Jane Henderson finished off her scoring splurge less than a minute later. After Maura Henderson earned the draw control for Harriton, the Rams sent Caleigh Foust to goal and got the results they wanted when she was fouled and fired in the 8-meter shot with 3:53 left.
Haven junior Lily Kovach drew the defensive assignment on the high-scoring Foust, who got only the one late score.
“I knew I would be face-guarding her today, so I worked on that against Morgan in the 7 v. 7 at practice yesterday,” Kovach said. “We knew (Foust) was good, and we knew we had to stop (Tabasso and Jane Henderson), so (Wilhelsem and Bri Irons) did what they could to help shut them down. They got a lot of their goals with fast breaks, when we just couldn’t keep up with them.”
Hansen played a big part in Haven’s 16-9 advantage in draw controls by winning seven. She picked up her most important one of the match after Foust’s goal, and the Panthers worked their delay game to perfection as they ate up the remaining time on the clock.
Kovach, Jess Borbee, Bridget Sherry, Irons, Wilhelmsen, Kate Sherry and Glassford did their share to make the Strath Haven defense effective.
“We’ll have a fun practice tomorrow,” Irons said. “Then Thursday it will be back to work getting ready for the playoffs.”
Strath Haven 12, Harriton 11
Harriton 4 7 – 11
Strath Haven 7 5 – 12
Harriton: Jane Henderson 6G, Sabrina Tabasso 2G 1A, Katie Melvin 1G, Maura Henderson 1G, Caleigh Foust 1G, Julia Marks 1A.
Strath Haven: Morgan Glassford 4G 2A, Kirstin Wilhelmsen 3G 2A, Katherine Restrepo 2G, Bri Irons 2G, Kristen Hansen 1G.
Saves – Harriton: Melina Avery 9. Strath Haven: Hallie Yancey 5.