By Harry Chaykun
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 3/24/15
When your first scheduled game is postponed because of snow and your first league game is against the defending state champion, you have to stop and wonder just how tough the season could turn out to be.
Radnor High faced all of that as well as a big first-half deficit Tuesday afternoon before rallying for a 10-9 decision over visiting Garnet Valley in the season- and Central League opener for both squads.
The Jaguars, who beat Springfield-Delco in the 2014 PIAA championship final in Hershey, had leads of 5-0 and 6-1 before settling for a 6-3 advantage at halftime.
Three minutes into the second half, Garnet Valley had added another goal, but it would be almost 14 minutes before the Jags scored again.
The Red Raiders capitalized on the Jags’ offensive woes, which included 10 turnovers and only four draw controls to Radnor’s seven in the second half, with a six-goal run that gave them a two-goal lead 12 minutes before the final whistle.
Senior Lexi Kenneally, who is headed to the University of Connecticut to play lacrosse, led Radnor with four goals. After Garnet Valley’s Madison Valerio tied the score at 9-9 with 7:25 to play, Kenneally turned the next Radnor possession into the game’s final score with 6:42 left.
Kenneally made a slick move around a defender and put her shot over the shoulder of Jags sophomore goalie Lauren Kinnee, who turned away 13 shots.
“Playing the (defending) state champs might have been a motivation for us,” she said. “But then getting down 5-0 was discouraging. We realized that if we worked together we could still be in the game.
“I take the draws, and it’s great to have Reilly and Hannah (Proctor, who scored three goals) there on the circle. After I got the ball and spun, I put the ball top left (for the deciding goal). It was so intense, and we all wanted to win so badly.”
Radnor coach Brooke Fritz said the game was typical of most first-game theatrics.
“First game of the year,” Fritz said with a slight smile. “It wasn’t pretty but it will count as a win. And we got a tough one out of the way early.”
Radnor had more shots and more draw controls than GV in the first 25 minutes. Freshman Kamryn McNeal scored twice and set up a goal by Camryn Faith, another ninth grader, to give the Jaguars the edge on the scoreboard at the break.
“We knew we couldn’t get down on ourselves,” Radnor senior goalie Maddie Lally said. “If we got things together, we knew we could get back in the game.”
Lally claims that her skills at stopping a softball as a catcher when she competed in youth leagues before getting to middle school led her seventh-grade lacrosse coach to point to the goal crease and say “get in there.”
Getting ready for game action was difficult during the pre-season because of the weather conditions and the fact that Radnor has three girls teams practicing on the same field each afternoon.
“The other day we went over and played wall ball,” Lally said. “I was working on my stick skills. I think that my stick skills have gotten better this year.”
Reilly Masterson (one goal) also did plenty of things to make it possible for her team to win Tuesday’s game.
“She’s amazing on draw controls and getting turnovers,” Lally said. “That’s what really gets everyone else so pumped up.”
Garnet Valley coach Jenny Purvis knows her team will have to work harder after falling behind in the league standings this early.
“We have some things to correct and do better,” the third-year head coach said.
Radnor 10, Garnet Valley 9
Garnet Valley 6 3 – 9
Radnor 3 7 – 10
Garnet Valley: Camryn Faith 2G, Kamryn McNeal 2G 1A, Madi O’Brien 2G, Emily Mathewson 1G 2A, Kara Nakrasius 1G 1A, Madison Valerio 1G.
Radnor: Lexi Kenneally 4G, Hannah Proctor 1G, Emily Games 2G 1A, Hope Smith 2G, Megan Massimino 1A. Reilly Masterson 1G.
Saves: Lauren Kinnee (GV) 13; Maddie Lally (Radnor) 6.