By Harry Chaykun
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/11/16
Conestoga High senior Paige Loose came home from Hershey last June with a silver medal after the Pioneers lost to Garnet Valley in the PIAA girls lacrosse championship game.
“That silver medal’s been hanging on my mirror, and I’ve looked at it every day,” Loose said Saturday, while wearing a gold medal after Conestoga had earned its first PIAA title with an 18-7 victory over Radnor at West Chester East’s Zimmerman Stadium.
Senior Monica Borzillo scored four goals and added eight assists, and Loose and sophomore Amelia Kienzel got three goals apiece for the Pioneers (24-1), who reversed their only loss, which came against the Raiders in the District 1 quarterfinals, at West Chester East.
“This has been the most intense week we’ve had this season,” Loose said, after the Pioneers set a state championship game record for largest margin of victory.
“I remember talking to my dad five years ago and saying that there was no doubt that the girls who were going to be in this year’s senior class were going to win the state title.”
The teams were tied, 2-2, with 12:30 left in the first half. By the halftime break, Conestoga was up, 10-3, getting the final two goals of the first 25 minutes in the last 10 seconds. After Hannah Ashton scored, assisted by Rilee Scott, Borzillo fired a pass downfield after the draw to Scott, who put the ball past Radnor goalie Alexa Solomon just before the horn sounded to end the half.
Katie Quinn was the leading scorer for Radnor (20-7) with three goals. Fallon Quinn and Emily Games chipped in with two goals apiece.
Liz Scott, who got a goal in each half, led the Pioneers with seven draw controls.
“The two most important phases of this game are in goal and on draw controls,” Liz Scott said. “If you win those two phases, you win games.
“I’ve been going to Radnor’s games the last two weeks and filming every draw. I watched their girls’ feet, how the ball went up and where it went. I just wanted to make sure I was ready for this game.”
Scott was one of many Pioneers who saw an early lead disappear in a 14-10 loss to Garnet Valley in the 2015 PIAA final.
“It’s been a long 371 days and 5,000 hours,” she said. “We all figured out the math and made sure what happened to us then would help us this year.”
Borzillo, who recorded her 100th assist of the season in Tuesday’s semifinal win over District 7 champion Mt. Lebanon, helped out on eight of her team’s 18 goals Saturday.
“We hadn’t played well against Radnor this season,” she said. “The last time we played them, we all weren’t on the same page.
“We just came over here today expecting to win, and we played with heart. What happened last year (in the final) was over. We just played an all-around game today. If I threw the ball away, the defense would recover it for us. And now we’ll always be able to say we were the first Conestoga (girls) team to win the state championship.”
Kienzle got two goals in the first half and added another in the second half. Borzillo assisted on two of the scores.
“We practiced against all the different things we expected to be going against today,” Kienzle said. “We knew if we had intensity and played with focus and believed in ourselves, we would be able to do this.”
Conestoga head coach Amy Orcutt could see that her players were ready for a big effort.
“The coaches talked about how this was our best week of practice,” Orcutt said. “That’s a very talented group of girls that we had. We told them how much the coaching staff loved them and how we all wanted the best for them.”
Radnor coach Brooke Fritz was proud of her team’s accomplishments, which included a District 1 championship and the distinction of the only team to defeat Conestoga this year.
“We got here by outhustling (teams) and today the better team won,” she said. “Conestoga played out of its mind and had some unbelievable plays. We made mistakes and weren’t able to bounce ack from them.
“We gave ‘Stoga its only loss. So much overachieveing went on this year. It’s because of the leadership – the senior class is just special. They are driven, but they want to do it in a fun way – not in a tense way and they have always been able to keep it light and keep it fun.”
Fritz also was thrilled about her team’s maturation after a 5-5 start.
“We were losing eight starters and it takes a while to figure out their roles,” she said. “We had some young kids that never played together. Some didn’t have varsity experience and a level of intensity experience. These guys bought in quickly, which helped.”
Conestoga 18, Radnor 7
Conestoga 10-8 – 18
Radnor 3- 4 – 6
Monica Borzillo 4g, 8a
Paige Loose 3g, 1a
Amelia Kienzle 3g
Liz Scott 2g
Sondra Dickey 2g, 1a
Maggie Gladden 1g
Hannah Ashton 2g
Rilee Scott 1g, 1a
Jules Horning 10 saves
Fallon Quinn 1g
Katie Quinn 3g
Emily Games 3g
Alexa Solomon 8 saves