By Harry Chaykun
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/8/21
The best-of-3 series that was Radnor vs. Conestoga 2021 came to an end Tuesday afternoon.
The sunny weather and warm temperatures that marked the beginning of the PIAA Class 3A semifinal game at Springfield-Delco High at noon were replaced by dark skies, windy conditions and the threat of a thunderstorm, which arrived just as the teams began exiting the playing area.
While the Conestoga players marched solemnly toward their bus for the ride home on a day on which the Pioneer seniors would become high school graduates, family members, friends and some school officials tried to congratulate the Radnor girls on their 12-9 victory before lightning and thunder forced everyone to seek the shelter of the vehicles in which they would be traveling back up the Blue Route or Rt. 320.
Radnor will be playing for the state championship at noon Saturday at West Chester East High’s Zimmerman Stadium vs. District 3’s Manheim Township, an 18-8 winner over Sewickley Academy. Radnor will be making its sixth appearance in a PIAA title game, having won titles in 2009 and 2010 with one classification and the 2017 AA title.
Conestoga claimed victory over Radnor when the teams met during the Central League’s regular season, but it was the Raiders who took the District 1 third-place match from the Pioneers.
“That second game was our revenge game,” Radnor senior Sheila Esgro, who scored a goal in each half and set up a tally late in the opening half after a Conestoga turnover, said Tuesday.
“Today we just wanted to show that we could win because we have worked so hard,” said Radnor senior Sheila Esgro, who scored a goal in each half and set up a tally late in the opening half after a Conestoga turnover. “We won’t have practice (Wednesday), but we’re glad we will be back on the field Thursday.”
Conestoga freshman Chloe Brown and senior Anna DeVuono responded with man-up goals after a late Radnor yellow card, enabling the Pioneers to enjoy a 7-6 advantage at the halftime break.
Radnor head coach Kristin Addis didn’t have to say much at intermission. Her 13 seniors let everyone know that they did not plan to go home disappointed.
“They really hung tough in the second half,” Addis said, after her team picked up its third yellow card five minutes after the break and played the final 20 minutes doing what it could to avoid getting another yellow and being forced into a one-player down situation.
’Stoga scored twice while the Raiders were a player short after their first yellow card, and got two more goals after the second yellow.
“You work so hard to get this far, and you get nervous when you are in the situation we were in today,” said Radnor freshman Sarah Kelley, who had four goals. “I just knew we would play great defense.”
Kelley’s two second-half tallies came from sharp passes by senior Tori DiCarlo, with the second when she accepted a low feed and sling-shotted the ball to the back of the cage.
“She just makes such good passes,” Kelley said of DiCarlo.
“I know she’s going to catch the ball,” said DiCarlo, who finished with two goals, three assists and six draw controls.
Radnor got a break with 13 minutes to play when Conestoga sophomore Kate Galica (three goals, two assists, five draw controls) was sent off with a yellow card.
DiCarlo, Esgro and Margaret Mooney scored while the Raiders had the advantage, putting Radnor up, 12-8. Melissa Hewitt got a ’Stoga goal with five minutes to play before the big turning points of those closing minutes took place.
With 4:30 to go, Galica was sent off with her second yellow card, ending her playing time for the game. Two minutes later, the Pioneers’ Megan Marengo appeared to score, but Conestoga was ruled offside and the goal was not allowed. Radnor maintained possession until the final whistle, when a celebration that was cut short by the weather began.
“I learned about being confident early in the season from all these seniors,” Kelley said. “They just give 100 percent effort all the time.
“Since we started our goal has been to make it to the final. I know (Coach Addis) will look at the other teams’ game to see what she has to do to get us ready for whoever it will be that we play Saturday.”
Radnor 6 6 – 12
Conestoga 7 2 – 9
Radnor: Sarah Kelley 4G, Tori DiCarlo 2G 3A, Margaret Mooney 2G 2A, Sheila Esgro 2G 1A, Cierra Hopson 1G 1A, Karis Mameniskis 1G.
Conestoga: Kate Galica 3G 2A, Rachel Clark 3G 1A, Chloe Brown 1G, Anna DeVuono 1G, Melissa Hewitt 1G.
Goalies – Abby Jansen (Radnor) 3 saves; Elise Palmer (Radnor) 3 saves; Alana Lepore (Conestoga) 6 saves.