By Harry Chaykun
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/31/14
The PIAA girls lacrosse tournament turned six years old this spring.
After Radnor earned the first two championships and Garnet Valley claimed the next pair, Harriton wanted to become the third team to win back-to-back titles.
Garnet Valley put those Rams’ dreams to rest at West Chester East’s Zimmerman Field Saturday afternoon, capturing a 16-12 decision in the quarterfinal round of the 2014 PIAA Tournament.
The Jaguars, who have won 13 of 14 and are 22-2, will take on District 7 champion Mt. Lebanon (22-0), a 12-8 winner over District 7 runner-up Quaker Valley Saturday, in a semifinal game Tuesday at a site (probably near State College) and time to be determined. Harriton, which battled through some key injuries to get back to the state tourney, finished the season at 18-7, with three of the losses to Garnet Valley by a total of six goals.
Sabrina Fusco, who also contributed a pair of assists, and sophomore Emily Mathewson tallied four goals for the Jaguars. Each of Mathewson’s four scores came on a free position shot, while Fusco scored three times in the second half.
Garnet Valley ran off six goals in the last 15 minutes to close the first half with a 10-4 lead. Haley Warden, whose contributions included four draw controls and a pair of steals, had three of the six goals.
“That run was big for us,” Warden said. “It gave us a lead that we felt we could protect if they started getting close to us. Beating (Harriton) is always good, but to do it in states means a lot.”
Katie Melvin scored five goals – four in the second half – and Sabrina Tabasso had four goals, three assists and seven draw controls for Harriton, which got as close as four goals down with 12 minutes to play before Mathewson fired in another free-position shot. Garnet defender Katie Stec, who was celebrating her 18th birthday, claimed a groundball to help the Jags get Fusco free for her final goal, which set by up by Dana Davis’ fourth assist.
“Playing Harriton is always a challenge,” Fusco said. “As long as we play together as a team, we know we will be able to succeed.”
Tabasso recalled the days before she got to Harriton, when the Rams really struggled on the lacrosse field.
“It’s been a lot of fun doing all that we have done,” the Loyola University-bound midfielder said.
Harriton head coach George Dick will be sorry to say good-bye to Tabasso, Melvin and his other seniors, including injured goalie Melina Avery, Bailey Ebby, Hilary Lemonick and Jessica Herman.
“It’s been a great run, coming from the Del Val League and not being able to win games to joining the Central League and doing all that they have done, like getting to the state playoffs four years in a row,” he said. “They put in the work they knew they needed to do to earn that success.
“Some of them ran cross country, or they were in the weight room. And they became better lacrosse players. Garnet Valley took advantage of our mistakes today, so you have to give them credit.”
Garnet Valley 16, Harriton 12
Harriton 4 8 – 12
Garnet Valley 10 6 – 16
Katie Melvin 5G 1A
Sabrina Tabasso 4G 3A
Jane Henderson 2G
Julia Marks 1G
Sophie Grady 4 saves
Sabrina Fusco 4G 2A
Emily Mathewson 4G
Haley Warden 3G
Madison Valerio 2G
Dana Davis 1G 4A
Kara Nakrasius 1G
Erica Coyne 1G
Paige Mitros 5 saves