By Matt Chandik
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/24/17
There’s one constant every year in the District 1 girls’ tournament.
No matter the seeds and no matter the regular-season results, the Central League has been dominant in the post-season. Only twice since the PIAA began sanctioning a state tourney in 2009 has a team from outside the Central League reached the District 1 finals before this year.
Eventually, the Central teams start running into each other again, and that’s when things get really interesting. Springfield-Delco’s 12-8 win over Garnet Valley proved that Tuesday.
“It’s definitely hard on our end because they know a lot about us,” said Springfield’s Olivia Little, who scored three times, set up two more goals and snagged six draw controls. “We also know a lot about them. Having three out of the final four being Central League teams is crazy. The Central League is that strong. We definitely pulled it out (Tuesday) and I’m proud of us.”
It marked the second time this season that the Cougars (17-3) knocked off the four-time state champion Jaguars (16-6) and the third time in a row. Springfield moves on to play Conestoga, a 9-8 winner over Owen J. Roberts, in Thursday’s district title game at West Chester East at 4 p.m. OJR and Garnet Valley square off in the third-place game at Owen J. Roberts at 7 p.m. (seven teams qualify from District 1).
Little was a standout – tallying all five of her points in the second half – and Dana Carlson bagged four goals while Bailey O’Brien (two goals, one assist) and Bridget Whitaker (one goal, two assists) each pocketed three points to spearhead the Springfield offense.
Everything turned around, though, on one call. Garnet Valley’s Riley Delaney had tied the game at four and Cam Faith followed it up with an apparent goal, but it was called back for a dangerous follow-through. Shortly thereafter, Belle Mastropietro kicked off a 7-0 Springfield run with her lone marker of the game and the Jaguars never recovered.
“I think after that goal got taken back, we just, I don’t know, lost our minds and stopped, really,” said Garnet Valley’s Regan Nealon, who led the way with two goals and two assists. “We just lost our intensity off of that. I think all the Central League teams know each other, so they all know what the other is trying to do, too.”
It didn’t hurt the Cougars that they made some timely adjustments at the half, either.
“At halftime, we really focused on picking where we were going to shoot,” O’Brien said. “A lot of times at practice, we shoot wherever, but we focused a lot on fake and finish and we know their goalie (Lauren Kinnee) is active, so we had to move her.
“I thought we passed the ball really well in the second half and we always had someone behind to chase, so we got a lot of second opportunities, which helped.”
Conestoga 9, Owen J. Roberts 8
Ceara Sweeney (two goals) scored the game-winner on a free position goal with 5:29 left to advance the Central League champions into the title game.
Scottie Rose Growney led the Pioneers with three goals and Dana Chichitti added a pair. Pioneer Julia Littlewood had the game-tying goal with six minutes left off a feed from Liz Scott.
Conestoga will be making its first District 1 title game appearance since 2012; it has not won a district crown since 2006, three years before the PIAA began sanctioning a lacrosse championship.
Springfield-Delco 12, Garnet Valley 8
Springfield-Delco 4-8- 12
Garnet Valley 3-5- 8
Regan Nealon 2g, 2a
Madi McKee 2g, 8 draw controls
Madi O’Brien 2g
Kam McNeal 1g
Riley Delaney 1g
Lauren Kinnee 6 saves
Dana Carlson 4g
Olivia Little 3g, 2a, 6 draw controls
Bailey O’Brien 2g, 1a
Bridget Whitaker 1g, 2a
Maggie O’Connell 1g
Belle Mastropietro 1g, 1a
Julianne Clemens 4 saves
Conestoga 9, Owen J. Roberts 8
OJR 5-3- 8
Scottie Rose Growney 3g
Ceara Sweeney 2g
Dana Chichitti 2g
Liz Scott 1g 1a
Julia Littlewood 1g
Anne Frascell 6 saves
Owen J. Roberts