By Harry Chaykin
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/11/17
Over the years, any game in any sport against West Chester Henderson has meant a lot to the players at West Chester Rustin.
Throw in the chance to win the Ches-Mont League girls lacrosse title for the first time since the members of the Class of 2017 were third graders and Thursday night’s matchup at Rustin took on more meaning.
“It’s Henderson vs. Rustin,” WCH head coach Lauren Purvis said. “You don’t have to say to much else.”
It turned out to be a game the coaches, players and fans from Rustin will take about for a long time – and not just because it was a tight rivalry thriller.
Rustin used a solid defensive effort, anchored by junior goalie Maddi Montebianco, to earn a 6-5 decision over Henderson, claiming its first Ches-Mont title since 2008.
“This whole season has been about winning the Ches-Mont League,” Rustin’s third-year head coach Mike St. Clair said. “They started last December, when they hit the weight room. Everything has been about the team with all of them.
“We’re a balanced team. Everybody contributes. Today the defense was unbelievable. We’ve said all along that defense is what wins championships. Now I think we need a few days off. At least I know I do. Then we’ll see where we will be when the playoff pairings come out.”
In winning its sixth consecutive start, Rustin finished 11-1 in the league (15-2 overall), one game ahead of Unionville (which the Knights defeated 8-7 last week) and Great Valley.
Rustin pulled away from a 2-2 halftime tie to take a three-goal lead with seven minutes to play on goals by Michelle Chessock, Skyler Demis (her second), Ashley Chisholm and Kylie Videon. Shannon Early had the only Henderson goal in the first 18 minutes of the second half.
Things got interesting when Jordyn Bauer and Peighton Bement scored for the Warriors (10-7, 6-6), who were within one goal of tying the contest and still had one minute and 50 seconds to work for that goal.
Henderson got the benefit of a call on the draw after Bement’s goal, but Montebianco came up with a pair of big saves in the closing minute to keep the game from going overtime.
“Our defense was amazing tonight,” Montebianco said. “We knew if we tightened up against them we could pull through.
“Since we started we’ve been talking about winning the Ches-Mont League. It’s great to be able to do that here tonight.”
Isa Miraldi, Elise Krikorian, Blaise Cugini, Chessock and Jessica Ciarrocci were among the Rustin players working in front of Montebianco to shut down the Henderson attack, which got two goals from Bauer and Bement.
“We supported each other and tried to play them tough,” said Krikorian, who is headed to Penn State to major in nursing.
Henderson which suffered its fourth loss in a row, had averaged 11.5 goals per game in its other Ches-Mont contests.
“I don’t remember when I’ve seen a game like this,” Purvis said. “We did give them a run for it. We’ll see what happens when we find out about the playoffs this weekend.”
West Chester Rustin 6, West Chester Henderson 5
WC Henderson 2 3 – 5
WC Rustin 2 4 – 6
West Chester Henderson: Jordyn Bauer 2G, Peighton Bement 2G, Shannon Early 1G.
West Chester Rustin: Skyler Demis 2G, Tina St. Clair 1G, Michelle Chessock 1G, Ashley Chisholm 1G, Kylie Videon 1G.
Saves: Ann Lalicker (WCH) 8; Maddi Montebianco (WCR) 9.