By Harry Chaykun
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/3/14
The statistics sheet showed that eight Springfield-Delco players scored in the Cougars’ 13-8 PIAA semifinal victory over Great Valley at West Chester Henderson’s J. Oscar Dicks Stadium Tuesday afternoon.
Four of those goals were scored by junior Emily Santana, who also had a pair of assists. There were so many other numbers that indicated what an impact Santana had in making it possible for the Cougars to return to Hershey for the PIAA championship game for the first time since 2010, when Springfield-Delco bowed to Radnor in its only PIAA finals berth.
Santana claimed nine draw controls as well as causing a pair of turnovers, and because of her efforts as well as those her 12 senior teammates, sophomore midfielder Cailyn Gormley and freshman midfielder Bridget Whitaker, Springfield-Delco (24-2) will meet Central League and District 1 rival Garnet Valley in the PIAA title match at noon Saturday in Hersheypark Stadium.
“Our seniors have been together for so long,” Santana said. “They want it so bad, and all of us want it for them.”
With that in mind, the Cougars, who had defeated Great Valley, 19-11, in the semifinal round of the district tournament, went at each other Monday afternoon on Halderman Field.
“It was an intense practice,” Santana said. “We really worked hard on what we knew that they did well. And we were prepared for their double-teams we knew would be coming.”
Aly Gormley got both of her goals in the first four minutes, the first assisted by Santana. Then Autumn Spence, who missed much of the 2013 postseason because of a knee injury, made it 3-0 eight seconds after Gormley’s second score.
Brittany Edwards (five goals) countered for Great Valley (20-4), before Springfield-Delco finished the first half by getting four of the last five goals and claiming a 7-2 lead. Santana started the run, then Kate Ryan, freshman Bridget Whitaker and midfielder Emily Paulus, who was among the Cougars’ key defenders, also got goals.
In the second half, Santana continued her draw dominance, using her reach advantage in helping the Cougars earn eight of the 13 draws.
“You just have to be ready,” she said. “We’ve worked on crashing the circle, and I know what I have to do when it looks like I’m going to win the draw or lose the draw.”
Goals by Olivia Muscella, Edwards and Courtney Cortese, with Natalie Kahn assisting on the latter pair, helped Great Valley cut Springfield’s lead, which got as high as seven goals, to three with just under 10 minutes to play. Goalie Katie Bedard (seven saves, two interceptions) turned away Kahn’s bid to pull Great Valley to within two goals with six minutes left.
Not long after that big save, Cailyn Gormley got a pass through to Taylor DeBernardi for a Cougars goal, and 42 seconds later, Santana rolled the crease and delivered again as the countdown to Hershey began among the team’s loyal fans.
“I started toward the net, then I went the other way,” DeBernardi said, explaining the final part of the play on which she scored.
The goal was set up by Paulus’ efforts in obtaining a loose ball.
“We work hard in practice and we’re all on the same page,” Paulus said. “We know this is our last chance and the last time we’ll be playing together. That’s why you have to make sure you get the ball on plays like that.”
Broome let his assistant coaches pass out Hershey bars after the game and talk to the players about their Saturday trip before accepting congratulations from parents, faculty members, former players and ex-coaches who were at Henderson to cheer on the Cougars.
“It’s nice to know that this group is going to Hershey,” he said. “They’re a great group of lacrosse players. They’ve been tested in the Central League, and winning districts was a thing for them to do.
“Now they get to play a team that has beaten them, and that they have beaten. That should be a great game Saturday.”
NOTES – Edwards, a senior All-American, finished with a District 1 high 147 goals this year.
Springfield-Delco 13, Great Valley 8
Great Valley 2 6 – 8
Springfield-Delco 7 6 – 13
Great Valley: Brittany Edwards 5G 1A, Courtney Cortese 2G, Olivia Muscella 1G, Linnea Hughes 3A, Natalie Kahn 2A, Jessie Boyle 1A.
Springfield-Delco: Emily Santana 4G 2A, Aly Gormley 2G 1A, Kate Ryan 2G, Taylor DeBernardi 2G, Autumn Spence 1G 1A, Emily Paulus 1G 1A, Bridget Whitaker 1G, Cailyn Gormley 1A.
Saves: Mia Tornetta (GV) 7; Katie Bedard (S-D) 7.