By Harry Chaykun
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/27/21
It was only 3 years ago that Unionville lost in the District 1 Class 3A championship game, then rolled through the state tournament and captured the PIAA title.
“I’m only a sophomore, so I wasn’t on that team,” Longhorns attack player Anna Brown said Thursday night, shortly after scoring five goals and adding an assist as fourth-seed Unionville knocked off No. 3 and host Garnet Valley, 9-3, for the District 1 Class 3A championshiop at Moe DeFrank Stadium.
“I know what happened to that team that lost in the district finals, but we want to be the team that wins districts and then goes on to win states.”
The four-game state tourney opens Tuesday, and state champions will be crowned Saturday June 12 at West Chester East High. Unionville, after winning its first District 1 title since 1992, opens vs. District 1 No. 6 Great Valley, while Garnet Valley meets District 3 No. 3 Manheim Township.
Some who recalled Garnet Valley’s 10-3 win over Unionville two weeks ago might have been surprised by Thursday’s score. Longhorns head coach Tara Brown wasn’t among that group.
“We’ve just come together as a team, especially as a team,” the second-year head coach said. “They have been having fun being together and playing together. That’s our goal – to have fun every game.”
How does that happen?
“Our shot selection has gotten so much better,” Coach Brown said. “We played a great team tonight, and we’re happy with the way we did things.”
Anna Brown and Garnet Valley’s Sophie Kingsborough (two goals) traded scores in the fifth minute of the first half. Over the next 13 minutes, Brown scored three more goals (two assisted by Riley Glackin) and Shannon Garvey picked up the first of her two goals before Kingsborough set the halftime score at 5-2.
“We just played better than we did the last time against them,” said Anna Brown, who used an assortment of dodges and fakes to get by defenders on her way to goal. “We told ourselves how good a team Garnet Valley is, but we made up our minds that we really wanted it this time.”
Two more Brown goals and Garvey’s second put Unionville on top, 8-2, with 10 minutes to play before Maddie Kalish got GV’s only score of the second half and Brown set up Maddie Passarello to conclude the scoring.
Another key factor for the winners after halftime was the seven-save effort turned in by junior goalie Mattie Robitzer, who finished with 10 stops.
“We look at films from the last game and saw some of the plays they like to use,” said Robitzer, who will attend Northeastern University to play ice hockey. “Our defense was strong and didn’t let them do a lot of things.”
Among the key Longhorns defenders were Ella Zucchero, Liza Cawley, Faith Ilgner and Alexis Brown.
“I know everyone wants to talk about going on now and winning states,” Robitzer said. “But we know we have to focus on one game at a time. We’ll be playing again Tuesday, and that game will be the most important one for us. If we win it, then the next game becomes most important.”
As the Unionville but exited the parking lot, Garnet Valley senior defender Lauren Bendo could hear the players singing “’We Are The Champions.’”
“That hurts,” Bendo, who will play next spring at Catholic University, said. “We just have to come back after the weekend and get ready to try to start a four-game winning streak.”
District 1 AAA championship
Unionville 5 4 – 9
Garnet Valley 2 1 – 3
Anna Brown 5G 1A
Shannon Garvey 2G
Maddie Pasarello 1G 1A
Riley Glackin 2A
Delaney Harlan 1G
Mattie Robitzer 10 saves
Sophie Kingsborough 2G
Maddie Kalish 1G
Sierra McLaughlin 2 saves