By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, posted 7/21/09
For a player that scored over 400 career goals and won nearly every conceivable major honor at the scholastic level, it may surprise you what Emily Garrity says is her greatest source of pride.
“I always said an assist tells more about a player than a goal does,” she said. “It’s easier to put the ball in the net than to make an opportunity for a teammate. It’s always more fulfilling to get an assist rather than a goal.”
In 2009, midfielder Garrity capped a career at Strath Haven that included marks for both goals and assists that may never be reached. Garrity collected 114 goals and 124 assists in 2009, giving her career numbers of 406 goals and 289 assists for 695 points.
Garrity’s final numbers have etched her name in the National Federation of State High School Associations record book. This year she became the all-time leader in points and assists while becoming the third high school girl to score over 400 goals as she prepares to head to NCAA runner-up North Carolina.
Garrity’s talents have not gone unrecognized. She is a three-time All-American and this year was selected to play in the Under Armour Senior All-American Game in Towson. She was on the cover of Rise Magazine (May issue) and was a Beth Stone Award winner at the U.S. Lacrosse national tournament Memorial Day weekend.
And now, Garrity is the Phillylacrosse.com Girls’ Player of the Year.
Despite all the accolades, records and honors as well as the goals and assists, Garrity was thwarted in her first goal this year: helping her Panthers win the state championship.
This year, Strath Haven returned a large group of players and set the goal of winning the first Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) title. The Panthers indeed reached the finals, but were defeated by rival Radnor, 20-10.
Garrity has been disappointed other times as well. Her teams never won a Central League title and in 2007 the Panthers fell to another league rival, Springfield-Delco, in the District 1 Class AA finals.
Losing has never sat well with Garrity. But she has learned to take the good with the bad.
“Losing two state championships, it’s made me a better player,” Garrity said. “I’ve learned how to accept the losses and learned how to work on that. I’m really happy with (my career).”
Garrity will take an impressive skill set with her to Chapel Hill. Besides quickness and speed, she possesses an uncanny field sense and vision which help her create scoring opportunities for herself and her teammates. Garrity also has solid defensive skills; in fact she played close defense in the Under Armour All-Star Game for the South because the team was lacking in defenders.
One reason Garriy has developed such an all-around game is her relentless work ethic. Another reason is her upbringing; her coach since just after she began playing in 2nd grade for Media Optimist Club has been her mother, Margie.
Margie Garrity began the Haven Youth Lacrosse program when Emily hit 3rd grade and coached her through this season at Strath Haven. Garrity resigned as head coach following the season so she could watch Emily and son Alex (Penn State rising junior) play in college.
Not only has Emily played her whole life for her mother, she also had her father, Paul, as an assistant at Strath Haven all four years. Can you imagine the dinner conversations in the heat of the season?
“It’s interesting, we definitely had our moments,” said Emily, who first began playing with her brother and still credits him with teaching her new skills. “I would yell, they would yell,. What can you expect? You can’t have it perfect.
“Actually, I think this was the best year because we get along so well. With me getting older, I’m not the little teenager I used to be. We see more eye-to eye on things and I have grown as a player and I see what they see now.”
Margie Garrity said her daughter has never cared about her goal total, only winning.
“She learned early that the game of lacrosse involves passing and working with your team,” she said. “She’s not impressed with herself.
“It’s nice to score, but it’s really nice to win. Emily would rather pass and work on her defense.”
“Emily is a visual learner, so I think that helps her in athletics. She sees things well. But honestly, what makes her such a good player is that she’s the hardest working kid I ever coached.”
Margie Garrity said her daughter has been gracious in handling her accomplishments.
“One of the things I am most proud of is that she handled everything with a tremendous amount of grace,” she said. “I had somebody comment to me at the national tournament, ‘I always knew your kid was a good lacrosse player, but I never knew what a nice kid she was.’
“It was nice to see somebody recognize her talent as a player, but as a mom, it was good to see somebody see her as a quality person. That is more important than any of the goals she scored or accomplishments she earned.”
Honorable Mention Player of the Year Choices
Attack Sam Ellis (Radnor)
Midfielder Kelyn Freedman (Radnor)
Midfielder Madison Poplawski (Springfield-Delco)
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