By Harry Chaykun
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/17/21
The top two teams in the Phillylacrosse.com girls’ poll got together at Conestoga High’s Teamer Field Saturday morning and few were disappointed with the game’s excitement or drama.
The top-ranked Pioneers hosted No. 2 Penn Charter in a game in which both teams did plenty to make their coaches and fans happy, but neither got the result they wanted.
The visiting Quakers (7-0-1) rallied from a six-goal deficit early in the second half and ’Stoga (6-0-1) came back after falling behind with six minutes to play to force overtime. There were several excellent scoring chances as well as super saves in the two three-minute overtime periods before the final whistle sounded and the game ended in a 13-13 tie.
Charlotte Hodgson’s only goal of the game put Penn Charter on top for the first time, 13-12, with 6:16 left in the second half before Piper Kienzle pulled Conestoga even four minutes and 43 seconds before the end of regulation.
Pioneers goalie Alana Lepore made a big save on a Maddie Shoup shot in the first extra period, not long before Charter sophomore Kayla Joyce stopped Rachel Clark on a free-position play. Shoup had a last-second whistler sail just over the cage as the opening extra period expired.
Penn Charter lost Hodgson to injury on the draw for the second OT, and Darcy Felter (four goals, three assists) went off with a yellow card not long after that happened. Lepore and Joyce took turns standing tall in the face of determined pressure as they kept the score even.
“I have to say I’m proud at the way our players never gave up,” said Penn Charter head coach Colleen Kelly. “Lacrosse is a game of swings, and you have to take advantage when you get momentum. Kayla made some nice plays, but I think she lives for that.
“We know we have some big Inter-Ac games coming up, and we’re working to make sure we get better every day.”
Conestoga coach Amy Orcutt, whose team faces Garnet Valley (Thursday) and Radnor (Saturday) in important Central League contests this week, was glad her team had a tough game to prepare.
“It’s the first time I’ve coached against a Penn Charter team since I was (coach) at Agnes Irwin,” Orcutt said. “You have to know a six-goal lead might be tough to protect against a team as powerful as they have been. We had some breakdowns in the second half and we paid for them.
“It was good to see the goalies making big saves in the overtime. It was an exciting game between two good teams. We’re happy we can play this spring, and we know we have to get back to work to prepare for the games coming up on our schedule.”
Joyce, who survived overtime in a recent Inter-Ac win over Agnes Irwin, admitted that playing extra time wasn’t on her mind while she watched starting goalie Jamie Kubach play the first half as Penn Charter fell behind, 8-3.
“It can be nerve-wracking standing there,” said Joyce, who turned away five shots. “There are times I’m just meditating, thinking about making saves. I knew what the score was when I went in, but we came back and I told myself to think of it as a new game then.
“I know my defense always has my back. If someone scores on me, one of my teammates will tell me I’m going to get the next one.”
Felter, who chipped in with seven draw controls, and Shoup (three goals) were the leading scorers for Penn Charter, which got strong defensive play from Grace Turner, Maggie Turner and Gracie Shoup.
“That’s the thing about our team,” said Felter, a junior who has committed to the University of North Carolina. “We work so hard in practice. When you play against people like Maggie and Grace (Turner), you just have to get better. And when you are successful, it’s everyone being happy for everybody else as you celebrate.
“Today Kayla was so big in overtime. It was tough for me standing there wanting to get back in and help. But everyone stayed together after we didn’t give up.”
Junior Melissa Hewitt scored four goals and sophomore Kate Galica had three goals and one assist for Conestoga.
“We did some good things,” Orcutt said. “I know we won’t play this team again (in the PIAA playoffs), but it would be interesting to see what would happen if we did.”
Penn Charter 13, Conestoga 13
Penn Charter 3 10 0 0 – 13
Conestoga 8 5 0 0 – 13
Penn Charter: Darcy Felter 4G 3A, Maddie Shoup 3G, Lane Murray 2G 1A, Kaylee Dyer 2G, Charlotte Hodgson 1G 1A, Gracie Shoup 1G.
Conestoga: Melissa Hewitt 4G, Kate Galica 3G 1A, Rachel Clark 2G 2A, Piper Kienzel 2G, Gabby Ridder 1G, Kiki Liebenzeit 1G, Maryn Gerrity 1A.
Goalies – Jamie Kubach (PC) 4 saves, Kayla Joyce (PC) 5 saves, Alana Lepore (Con) 12 saves.