By Harry Chaykun
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/27/13
There were a lot of motivators for Harriton today at the 13th Katie Samson Festival at Radnor High.
The Rams were facing Great Valley, which had won 12 consecutive games, the last nine by at least an eight-goal margin. A victory over the Ches-Mont League co-leaders would look good when the seeding meeting for the district tournament comes around.
There also was the fact that the Festival helps raise funds to improve the quality of life for those with spinal injuries, and before each game an announcement was made in memory of those from the Seton Hill lacrosse program who lost their lives in an accident in March as well as in memory of the victims of the tragedy at the Boston Marathon.
With a lot to think about – and a little extra incentive after falling behind at halftime – Harriton (12-1) surged ahead in the second half to earn its ninth consecutive victory, 15-13, while handing Great Valley (12-1) its first loss.
Caleigh Foust tossed in five goals, the last two during a 5-0 Rams run in the first four minutes of the second half. Jane Henderson and freshman Alex Ladd got three goals apiece, Katie Melvin had two goals and two assists, and Sabrina Tabasso finished with five assists in addition to one goal for the winners.
“Great Valley is very good, but they played yesterday and I think they ended up getting a little tired,” Harriton coach George Dick said. “This is a big win for us now, but I think we could win up seeing them again in districts and maybe in states, if we’re luck enough to get that far.
“We forced some things in the first half, and our defense got all out of sync. We did things a little better at the defensive end (after halftime), and Melina (Avery, junior goalie) saved us when things started getting tighter near the end.”
Harriton claimed a 15-9 advantage with eight minutes to play as Tabasso set up Melvin, but Great Valley ended up with the game’s last four scores.
Key draw control wins by Tabasso and Melvin and two sharp saves by Avery made a big difference for the Rams.
“We knew because this was such a big game that we had to keep our composure,” Harriton junior defender Hillary Lemonick said. “We knew there would be a lot of people here, some yelling for us and some yelling against us.
“You know there will be times when things won’t go well, but you have to be sure you have someone there ready to pick up for you in case that happens.”
Lemonick said that having Katie Samson pay a visit to her school to speak to the players made a big impression on the Rams.
“You realized after that what had happened to her and what she was trying to do to help others,” she said.
Harriton captain Alison Tepper was one of the Rams defenders who did her best to handle the strong Great Valley attack, which got five goals from senior Emily Scullin and four from junior Brittany Edwards.
“This was the first game we weren’t ahead at halftime,” Tepper, who is headed to the University of Indiana of the Big Ten, said. “In other years, when something like that happened, we might not come back.
“This year I think we’re a lot stronger mentally, and we were able to get ourselves back together for the second half.”
Harriton 15, Great Valley 13
Great Valley 7 6 – 13
Harriton 5 10 – 15
Emily Scullin 5G 1A
Brittany Edwards 4G
Avery Murphy 2G 2A
Kim Hooven 2G
Jessie Boyle 1A
Merrilee Viguers 12 saves
Sabrina Tabasso 1 G 4 A 9 DCs
Caleigh Foust. 5 G 2 DCs
Jane Henderson 3 G 3 DCs
Katie Melvin 2 G 2 A
Alex Ladda 3 G
Julia Marks 1 G
Hilary Lemonick 2 DCs
Melina Avery 8 saves