By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 10/15/22
Kate Galica said Conestoga coach Amy Orcutt was, in every way, the leader of a team that had a special year in 2022 that featured three championships and closed with a PIAA 3A title.
“This past 2022 season was just a dream and we couldn’t have done it without Amy,” said Galica, now a senior who earned USA All-American and Phillylacrosse.com Co-Player of the Year honors. “Amy is not only our coach, but a second mom to us.
“On the first day of our season we had talked about phases and not thinking ahead to the next phase (league, district, states.) Amy set us up for success throughout the entire season; teaching us new plays and constantly helping us get better everyday at practice. We truly wouldn’t be able to do what we do as a team without Amy as our coach.”
On Thursday Orcutt was recognized by state directors. She was named by the PIAA in conjunction with the National High School Federation (NHSF) as the 2022 Pennsylvania Girls’ Lacrosse Coach of the Year. The selection was “based upon Coach Orcutt’s coaching impact as well as the success of the Girls’ Lacrosse program during the 2021-2022 school year,” according to a PIAA press release.
“I can not think of anyone else more deserving of this award than Amy!” said Galica. “And I personally wouldn’t be the player I am today without her.”
Conestoga finished 24-1 and defeated Manheim Township, 15-7, in the PIAA finals in May. Conestoga lost only to 2A champion Archbishop Carroll (24-0), 11-10, and then reeled off 18 straight wins to sweep a rare triple crown with Central League, District 1 3A and PIAA titles.
“That loss to Carroll was a monumental part of our season,” said Orcutt. “We were winning by two goals with a few minutes left. We learned a lot from that.”
The Pioneers had a strong mix of seniors, a junior class led by the talented Galica, and a sophomore class that became a focal point in the playoffs.
“We had so many young players, but I knew we had a lot of talent,” said Orcutt, whose team also won the state crown in 2016, but suffered some heartbreaking defeats in the state playoffs in recent years. “I think the younger girls were very eager to learn and wanted to be main contributors.
“We relied heavily on them. Most of them had contributed as freshmen so we knew they had some experience, but they came a long way throughout the year with the help of so many strong juniors and seniors.”
It is rare to win the league, district and state crowns in the same year. Orcutt said the team’s consistency and attention to detail as well as its camaraderie was the key.
“It’s very hard to do – we always had the target on our backs,” said Orcutt, the Conestoga coach since 2009. “There’s so many great teams in our area and it was a dogfight all the time. That’s what makes winning those big titles so special.
“We beat (defending PIAA champion) Radnor three times; that’s unheard of because they are so strong and it’s a great local rival. I am very proud of everything the girls accomplished last year and I’m excited to see what we can do this year with our returning starters and some new girls.”