By Harry Chaykun
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/22/21
As she stood waiting to take a free-position shot late in the second half of Thursday night’s game at Garnet Valley, Conestoga senior Rachel Clark pictured the situation she found herself in when the Pioneers hosted Penn Charter last weekend.
“The shot I took that day flashed through my mind,” Clark said of an unsuccessful attempt in overtime against Penn Charter in a game which ended tied.
Thursday night, the clock showed 4.4 seconds remaining in the second half when Clark whistled a bullet into the back of the GV (ranked No. 3) cage as Conestoga (6-0-1, ranked No. 1) earned a 9-8 Central League decision in a battle of undefeated teams.
“Everyone knows I want to get to the goal and get my shots,” said the University of Virginia-bound Clark, whose contributions Thursday included three goals, one assist and five draw controls.
“The coaches were saying that they wanted to get the ball to me. I cut through and got the chance to take a shot. The first time I did that I missed, and then I got the shot that went in.”
Garnet Valley (8-1) grabbed a 4-2 lead 10 minutes into the game, with junior Kaitlyn Stankavage picking up two of her four goals. Melissa Hewitt, Kate Galica and Clark (from Galica) closed out the scoring in the first half for Conestoga, which led at the break, 5-4.
“We knew that we didn’t play that well and things were kind of hectic,” Clark said. “I guess it was because we were playing Garnet Valley. We just knew we had to play our game.”
Garnet Valley’s scoreless woes reached 25 minutes before Stankavage picked up the first point of the second half. Gabby Ridder and GV’s Sophie Kingsborough (two goals) traded goals to keep the score even, then it was Galica, who finished with six draw controls, and Hewitt giving the visitors a two-goal advantage with five minutes to play.
Kaitlyn Henning set up Stankavage for a goal with two minutes left, and Sydney Pyon got the tying goal 31.3 seconds before the final whistle on a play on which she was injured and had to leave the game.
“The conditions weren’t ideal,” Conestoga coach Amy Orcutt said about playing on a very cold and windy night. “I’ve never seen our girls play like this with all those turnovers. Garnet Valley was very tough.
“They did things like face-guarding Kate (Galica), which is something she hasn’t seen and will have to learn more about what she can do about it.
“We tried a couple of different things defensively that were working. I’m just glad Rachel made her shot and we got the win here tonight.”
Orcutt and her team will face the challenge of another undefeated Central League foe when Conestoga hosts Radnor Saturday morning.
Garnet Valley will be back in action Friday afternoon with a road contest at Inter-Ac League challenger Springside-Chestnut Hill Academy.
“We knew we had to be ready to play because this was such a big game,” said Stankavage, who had five draw controls in addition to her four goals. “We have to bounce back in (Friday’s) game. And the way things are going we might be seeing (Conestoga) again this season.”
Conestoga 9, Garnet Valley 8
Conestoga 5 4 – 9
Garnet Valley 4 4 – 8
Conestoga: Rachel Clark 3G 1A, Melissa Hewitt 3G, Kate Galica 2G 1A, Gabby Ridder 1G.
Garnet Valley: Kaitlyn Stankavage 4G, Sydney Pyon 2G 1A, Sophie Kingsborough 2G, Kaitlyn Henning 1A.
Goalies – Alana Lepore (Conestoga) 12 saves; Sierra McLaughlin (Garnet Valley) 5saves.