By Harry Chaykun
phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/27/22
Top-seeded Conestoga completed its domination of the PIAA District 1 Class 3A girls tournament with a 14-3 romp over Springfield-Delco at West Chester East High’s Zimmerman Stadium Thursday night.
The Pioneers will host District 1’s sixth-place team, Downingtown East, while District 3’s third-place team will visit Springfield in the opening round of the PIAA tournament Tuesday.
In four district playoff games, Conestoga outscored the opposition, 61-20 for an average victory margin of 10.5 goals.
Conestoga (20-1, ranked No. 3 by Phillylacrosse.com and No. 1 in AAA in the State Lacrosse Rankings) pitched an 8-0 shutout in the opening half and then blanked the Cougars for almost 10 minutes of the second half before Mia Valerio scored her 100th career goal for Springfield.
Junior Kate Galica (five goals, two assists, three draw controls) scored three of the first four goals for Conestoga and had four goals by halftime.
“We just do things phase by phase,” Galica said. “Winning the Central League was one phase and winning districts was the next. It’s like playing a game. You get the first draw, the first groundball, the first goal. And you keep on going and keep on winning.”
Sophomore Ellie Wisch backed up Galica’s scoring efforts with two goals in each half. She also had seven draw controls to help ’Stoga to a 13-5 advantage.
“We’re doing draws a little differently from the last time we played Springfield,” Wisch said. “If things aren’t going well at first, they put me in and it’s either a self-draw or I try to get the ball to (Galica).”
Brooke Braslow, Kiki Liebezeit, Emma Nikolic, Keating Hopkins and Kat Bielinski were among the Conestoga defenders who helped goalie Alana Lepore get her 100th save of the season.
“I have the best defense,” said Lepore, who signed with Campbell University (N.C.). “At practice I get to work against so many great players, and that has really helped me.
“It was great to get off to a good start like we did today. Now we have to get ready to start the state tournament.”
Piper Kienzle and Melissa Hewitt both goal a goal and an assist for Conestoga.
“I was very happy with the defensive effort tonight,” Conestoga coach Amy Orcutt said. “They’ve been working hard with such a good attitude. And they’ve been having fun.
“I think they know what they have to do if we want to continue playing as well as we have.”
Junior Erin DeStefano scored a pair of goals for 14th-seeded Springfield (16-7), which reached the final with wins over high seeds North Penn (No. 3), Methacton (No. 6), and Garnet Valley (No. 7).
“We just have to get back to work and get ready for our next game,” said Valerio.
Conestoga 14, Springfield-Delco 3
Springfield 0 3 – 3
Conestoga 8 6 – 14
Springfield-Delco: Erin DeStefano 2G, Mia Valerio 1G 1A.
Conestoga: Kate Galica 5G 2A, Ellie Wisch 4G, Piper Kienzle 1G 1A, Melissa Hewitt 1G 1A, Keating Hopkins 1G, Kiki Liebezeit 1G, Natalie Yarmark 1G, Chloe Brown 1A.
Goalies: Madison McBride (S) 3 saves; Alana Lepore (Con) 4 saves.