By Harry Cjaykun
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/7/16
Even Radnor head coach Brooke Fritz and some of her players admitted that there were doubts about whether the Raiders could bounce back in the second half after their sluggish performance in the first half of the PIAA Girls Lacrosse semifinal at Penncrest High Tuesday night.
District 1 champion Radnor rallied in the final 25 minutes and earned a 10-9 decision over two-time defending state champion Garnet Valley, outscoring the Jags after the halftime break, 6-1, to earn the chance to try to win a state championship for the third time.
The Raiders (20-6), the No. 1 team in the Phillylacrosse.com Rankings, will play Central League rival Conestoga in the state final at noon Saturday at West Chester East High’s Zimmerman Stadium. Conestoga blitzed Mt. Lebanon, 20-5.
The Raiders were up, 2-1, after 6½ minutes Tuesday night before Garnet Valley tossed in seven goals in just a little over 11 minutes to gain an 8-2 advantage. Two late scores by Emily Games (four goals) brought Radnor closer by the halftime break.
“We really didn’t change things at halftime,” Fritz said. “We knew a lot of what happened (in the first half) was our own errors.
“And a big thing was for us to get the draw controls in the second half.”
Garnet Valley had coasted to an easy quarterfinal win over Owen J. Roberts by winning 17 of 22 draw controls in its game Saturday. In the first half Tuesday, the Raiders trailed in that category, 9-4, but they claimed five of the eight second-half draws, including a couple at key times.
Senior Abby Lord was particularly effective in getting draws to her teammates for possessions.
“When we had the ball, we wanted to make sure we worked time off the clock,” Lord said. “You can’t let a team like Garnet Valley take over and just destroy you.”
Radnor’s Katie Quinn (three goals) and GV’s Michelle Koscinski (two goals) traded scores in the first seven minutes of the second half, but the Jaguars went scoreless in the final 18 minutes while Quinn scored again and Games and Hope Smith (three goals) both got a pair in the last 10 minutes for the Raiders.
Fallon Quinn was hurt taking a draw in the second half for Radnor, but she came back later to gain a big possession.
“Abby (Lord) is just so good on those draws,” said Fallon Quinn, who is headed to Columbia. “Our game plan was to take time off the clock, but we weren’t doing that in the first half.”
The Raiders, who got only seven shots before intermission, almost doubled that total in the second half with a lot more accuracy.
After Games tied the score on an 8-meter shot with 5:41 to play, Smith scored on a crease roll with 3:09 left to put Radnor on top for the first time in almost 38 minutes.
“You start to think about how you can chip away (at the lead),” Smith, a La Salle University recruit, said. “You keep your head in the game, trust the person next to you and hope you can get better scoring chances.
“I think (her teammates) saw that I had the chance to go to goal on that play, and they were encouraging me to do that.”
After that, it was one last Lord draw control, and the Radnor seniors, who endured an overtime loss to Harriton in the 2013 state final, knew their last game in a Raiders uniform would be their second state final.
“It’s great that we will have that chance,” Fallon Quinn said.
Garnet Valley coach Jenny Purvis – whose team has won four of the past five state titles with the last two under her reign – was proud of what her team accomplished by returning to the state semifinals for third straight year.
“We knew coming into this game that it would come down to the last couple minutes – it does with Radnor every time,” she said. “Radnor had a wonderful second half and I cannot say how much I am proud of these girls. Only two teams go to the state championship every year. It’s impossible to get there on a consistent basis.
“That’s the tough part the expectation is so high when you get to this point. And that’s why I think it’s so heartbreaking, because they don’t want this to be over. It makes me so happy that they continue to love it and that’s something you can’t take away from them.
“I told the seniors they accomplished more than anyone in school history – they won two state championships and had the school’s best record as sophomores. Their love and passion for the game is top notch and I love coaching them completely.”
Radnor 10, Garnet Valley 9
Garnet Valley 8 1 – 9
Radnor 4 6 – 10
Radnor: Katie Quinn 3G, Emily Games 4G, Hope Smith 3G, Alexa Solomon 5 saves.
Garnet Valley: Kamryn McNeal 3G, Michelle Koscinski 2G, Madi O’Brien 2G, Emily Mathewson 2G, Lauren Kinnee 7 saves
PIAA Championship game scores
2009 – Radnor 20, Strath Haven 10
2010 – Radnor 14, Springfield-Delco 7
2011 – Garnet Valley 17, Downingtown East 14
2012 – Garnet Valley 10, Strath Haven 9, OT
2013 – Harriton 8, Radnor 7
2014 – Garnet Valley 13, Springfield-Delco 9
2015 – Garnet Valley 13, Conestoga 10
2016 – Conestoga vs. Radnor, Saturday, June 11, West Chester East, noon