By Harry Chaykun
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/23/14
Thursday’s hailstorm in West Goshen pushed back the District 1 championship game between top-seeded Garnet Valley and No. 2 Springfield-Delco until Friday afternoon.
Cougars senior Kate Ryan did her best to get some sleep as the hours passed Thursday night into Friday morning.
“I kept dreaming and thinking about something awesome happening today,” Ryan said, after her goal with three seconds to play lifted Springfield-Delco (21-2) to its 13th consecutive victory, a 10-9 decision over Garnet Valley, and the Cougars’ first district title since 2009.
The Cougars (21-2) will face Downingtown East, District 1’s No. 6 seed, in the opening round of the PIAA Tournament Wednesday, while Central League champion Garnet Valley (20-2) will face District 1’s fifth seed, Conestoga. The Jaguars earned a 10-8 decision over the Pioneers in a Central League game last month.
As the final seconds ticked away in this game, Ryan had trouble coming up with a pass from Emily Santana in front of GV goalie Paige Mitros.
“I was a little nervous, and I dropped (the ball),” Ryan said. “I knew I had to shoot it.”
She did, by flicking her stick upward so that the ball found its way to the back of the cage. The Cougars coaches couldn’t have drawn it up any better.
Ryan, who also scored in the final minute of the first half to tie the score (4-4), had two minutes on the sideline just before her first goal to think about what she had been doing wrong in that opening half. She was called for a dangerous check and given a yellow card 3:42 before halftime, and while she was serving her penalty she got a few words of advice from assistant coach Kathleen Geiger.
“She just reminded me about letting people get in my head and told me to calm down,” said Ryan, who will play at Monmouth next spring.
The pace of the game and intensity of the players were such that the coaches and fans didn’t have much chance to stay calm. Springfield-Delco scored three of the first foul goals – two by Santana – then Garnet Valley countered with goals by Dana Davis, Erica Coyne and Emily Mathewson, who finished with four scores.
Taylor DeBernardi and Aly Gormley, who also had two assists, gave Springfield-Delco a three-goal lead with 6½ minutes to play, then Sabrina Fusco, assisted by Davis, Madison Valerio (Kara Nakrasius assist) and Mathewson pulled Garnet Valley even as the Jags appeared on the verge of playing a second consecutive overtime game.
Santana earned the draw control after Mathewson’s score, and the Cougars worked patiently on attack, looking for the opening that could give them the lead goal.
“She made a big play,” Santana said of Ryan.
Springfield-Delco head coach Keith Broome was delighted with the work of his goalie, Katie Bedard (10 saves, including several in key moments down the stretch) and his defensive unit, which included Emily Verica, Emily Paulus, Noelle Morrissey, Ryan, Shannon Jackson and Bridget Whitaker, who earned a key draw control that led to the ninth Cougars goal.
“Emily Verica was relentless, and Bridget Whitaker’s had big draw controls for us before, especially in the Conestoga game (in the quarterfinal round),” Broome said. “Katie Bedard’s been playing well, and she came up with some big saves. This was a great win.”
Garnet Valley coach Jenny Purvis was happy with her team’s comeback.
“Give our girls credit for coming back after we were three goals down,” she said. “I had faith in them.
“But sometimes little things make a big difference in winning and losing, and (Springfield-Delco) did the things at the end that they needed to do to win the game. I think we might be seeing them again.”
If that were to happen, it would be at Hersheypark Stadium in the state championship game June 7.
Springfield 10, Garnet Valley 9
Springfield-Delco 4 6 – 10
Garnet Valley 4 5 – 9
Springfield: Emily Santana 3G 1A, Kate Ryan 2G, Aly Gormley 1G 2A, Taylor DeBernardi 1G, Emily Paulus 1G, Autumn Spence 1G, Cailyn Gormley 1G, Bridget Whitaker 1A.
Garnet Valley: Emily Mathewson 4G, Dana Davis 2G 1A, Erica Coyne 1G, Sabrina Fusco 1G, Madison Valerio 1G, Kara Nakrasius 1A.
Saves: Katie Bedard (Spr) 10, Paige Mitros (GV) 8.