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District 1 girls’ AAA semis: DeStefano, Springfield-Delco stuns Garnet Valley in OT

Wednesday, 25th May 2022

Categories Girl's/Women's, High School, Posted 5/25/22
Staff Report

The message that Erin DeStefano heard in overtime Tuesday afternoon was simple in principle but vital in practice.

With the ball, up a player due to a Garnet Valley yellow card, the Springfield-Delco junior attacker knew not to look for the first pass, but rather the best pass.

“We love to be patient and smart, because if we possess the ball for as long as we can, we have the game,” DeStefano said. “We just kept passing to get to the open girls.”

DeStefano was the right girl at the right moment, burying her fourth goal of the day to send 14th-seeded Springfield to the District 1 Class 3A final, its latest upset a 10-9 OT victory over No. 7 Garnet Valley.

The Cougars (16-6) will face top-seeded Conestoga for the district crown Thursday at West Chester East at 7 p.m. Conestoga handled Radnor, 12-4, in the semis. Garnet Valley (14-7) plays at Radnor in the third-place game Thursday at 4:15 p.m.

It’s the latest step on the path for the Cougars, who entered the postseason on the back of three straight losses – including a 15-10 setback on May 6 at Conestoga. But the Cougars advanced to the semis with wins over third-seeded North Penn (4-2) and sixth-seeded Methacton (13-12),

Tuesday’s triumph meant avenging a 13-9 loss in late March to the Jaguars (14-7) and overcoming a 7-3 halftime deficit.

For a perennial power team that went just 12-7-1 in 2021, that lost to Garnet Valley by 11 goals, that missed the state tournament thanks to a second-round districts humbling at the hands of Radnor by a 15-goal margin, wearing the underdog label is just fine.

“Last year, we didn’t have the best season at all,” said senior Gabby Rizzio, who scored twice, including the game-tying goal with 2:34 to play. “Playing this team last year, they kicked our butts by at least 10. Last year, we lost to Conestoga, Radnor by so much. This year I definitely feel like we were overlooked and everyone thought it was going to be an easy game. And we’re here to prove everyone wrong and try to win it all.”

DeStefano scored twice in the second half, both times off feeds from Bella King. Jaclyn Guille set up Maddie Kane to get within 8-7, then tied it at eight with 10:44 left in regulation.

Garnet Valley nudged back ahead when Mia Raucci bounced home her second goal to go up 9-8 with 7:46 left. The teams traded big saves in the tense final five minutes – Springfield’s Maddie McBride stoned Sophie Kingsborough with a chance to make it 10-8; Mak Butler stood tall in the GV cage on a Claire Lynch bid to tie.

When Springfield called timeout with 2:44 left, they drew up their play, then let Rizzio exploit a mismatch by zooming in on goal and finishing 10 seconds later.

“We always have plays,” Rizzio said. “Our coach Kathleen (Geiger) and (head coach Keith) Broome, they always set us up to our strengths. We had a play, but it’s always, if you know you can take it yourself and you know you can beat your girl, go and do it.”

Garnet Valley won the ensuring draw via Erin Barnes. With so many options – Raucci, Ava Kane and Mia Zebley had two goals each, Maddie Shoemaker a goal and two assists – the team cycled through options for more than two minutes before the possession ended with McBride gobbling up a loose pass at the top of her crease.

Maddie Kane controlled the overtime draw, and with Kate Stankavage off for a yellow card, DeStefano took a pass behind the cage, turned up field, twirled back under her defender and buried a shot high over Butler to set off the celebrations.

For DeStefano, any trepidation about taking the big shot was superseded by knowing that her teammates created for her the best possible look.

“There’s a lot of fear,” she said, “but with your teammates, anything is possible.”

Springfield-Delco 10, Garnet Valley 9
Springfield 3 6 1 – 10
Garnet Valley 7 2 0 – 9

Mia Valerio 1g
Erin DeStefano 4g
Gabby Rizzio 2g
Claire Lynch 1g
Maddie Kane g, 1a, 5 DCs
Bella King 2a
Jaclyn Guille 1g, 1a
Maddie McBride 6 saves

Garnet Valley
Mia Raucci 2g
Mia Zebley 2g, 1a
Lex Garrity 1g, 1a
Maddie Shoemaker 1g, 2a
Sophie Kingsborough 1g
Ava Kane 2g, 4 DCs
Kate Stankavage 1a
Mak Butler 5 saves

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