By Harry Chaykun
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/8/13
HERSHEY, Pa. – All spring, the Harriton High team’s motto has been “one shot.”
It took two shots in overtime – both from senior Caleigh Foust – for the Rams to claim their first state title. Foust scored 28 seconds into the extra period to give Harriton (25-2) an 8-7 decision over Radnor (20-5) in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Championship Game at Hersheypark Stadium Saturday afternoon.
It was the fifth consecutive state crown for a Central League team. Radnor won the first two PIAA titles (2009-10), then Garnet Valley took two in a row (2011-12) before Harriton earned the championship in its first trip to Hershey.
Harriton, ranked No 2 by Phillylacrosse.com and No. 15 nationally by TopLaxRecruits.com, finished an amazing turnaround from a team that was 3-12 in 2007, the year before George Dick took over as coach.
Foust, who finished with five goals despite Radnor’s face-guarding defense, won the draw control in the extra period. She raced down the field and fired a shot on goal, just a little high. The Rams got the ball back for the restart, and Foust received the ball behind the cage, circled in front and found an opening down the middle.
She fired high past Grace Collins for the game-winner.
“When we got the ball on the draw, I just went straight for the goal,” Foust said. “We didn’t want to stay out there any longer than we had to in overtime. When the first shot (missed), I knew I had to finish things off for my teammates because they had worked so hard.”
“Overtime is Caleigh Foust time,” said Dick. “She won the game for us, as well as our defense in the second half and Melina (Avery) making those big saves.”
Avery, Harriton’s junior goalie committed to Syracuse, was a standout with nine saves. She had several big ones in the first half when Radnor bolted to a 5-1 lead.
Foust lifted her team to a 5-5 tie six minutes into the second half. After Radnor had take the four-goal lead, Foust converted a free position shot with 2:12 left in the half and sophomore Maura Henderson hit from the 8-meter mark nine seconds before the stanza ended.
The Rams’ run continued as soph Jane Henderson connected one minute into the second half, then Foust finished a free position try 5:36 later. Two minutes later, Henderson and Foust scored 13 seconds apart as Harriton gained control of the momentum and appeared ready to solidify its ninth consecutive victory to close the season.
Radnor answered with goals from Shannon Quinn – her second – and Kate Stanley on 8-meter shots to even the score with 13:31 to play. Then the defenses and goalies Avery and Collins took over. Collins stopped Jane Henderson’s free position try with 5;15 left, then Avery shut Quinn down from the 8-meter mark two minutes later.
Both goalies also had key stops in the last 1:45, and the PIAA title was decided in overtime for the second consecutive year (Garnet Valley beat Strath Haven with a goal in the first extra minute of the 2012 title match).
“Give Radnor credit,” Dick said. “They played great defensively when they were building a 5-1 lead. I knew we’d make our run like we always do, but then they came back.
Avery and the defensive unit, which included Katie Melvin, Hilary Lemonick, Maura Henderson, Alison Tepper (the only other senior besides Foust), Jessica Herman and freshman Alexa Foust (Caleigh’s sister) worked very hard in limiting Radnor to seven shots in the second half. Lemonick was off with a yellow card as the half ended and overtime began.
Harriton finished a difficult trifecta – winning the Central League title (sharing with Radnor, Strath Haven and Springfieldf-Delco), the District 1 crown and now the state championship.
“Staying focused and getting the draw helped us get that (last goal),” Avery said. “When knew overtime was a new game and the score was back to 0-0. It was just up to us to change that.
“From the beginning, I’ve had it in my head that we could get here. And we worked very hard to make it.”
Radnor head coach Brooke Fritz, who was an assistant when the Red Raiders earned their two state titles, was delighted with the effort her players had given in their attempt to bounce back from regular season and playoff losses to Harriton.
“We had a wonderful season.” Fritz said. “The girls played their hearts out today. They did everything we asked them to do.”
Harriton 8, Radnor 7, OT
Harriton 3-4-1- 8
Radnor 5-2-0- 7
Caleigh Foist 5g
Jane Henderson 2g
Maura Henderson 1g
Melina Avery 9 saves
Shannon Quinn 2g
Kate Stanley 1g
Reilly Masterson 1g
Sara Curley 1g, 1a
Brooke Pancoast 1g
Sydney Cowles 1g
Grace Collins 7 saves