WEST CHESTER, PA -
With seven of the eight state lacrosse finalists coming from District 1 and District 12, there was bound to be some celebrations for some local schools on Saturday. Radnor, Archbishop Carroll, Springfield-Delco and Avon Grove all took home state lacrosse championships with wins at West Chester East High School’s Zimmerman stadium on Saturday.
The Radnor Raiders girls lacrosse team had an easy 20-8 victory over District 3’s Kennard-Dale Rams, who were making their first state title appearance. Radnor, who hasn’t won a state title since 2010, never trailed in this game and got a triple-hat trick of nine goals from star attacker Julianne Puckette. Stellar sophomore Cate Cox, who is top in Delaware County in assists, found Puckette on the off-ball cut all day long, leading the Raiders to the PIAA 2A girls lacrosse state championship.
The 3A girls championship was a lot closer as the Catholic League champion Archbishop Carroll Patriots battled the Springfield-Delco Cougars. In the first half, Carroll took advantage of their free-position shots after penalties called against Springfield inside the 8-meter fan. Five different Patriots scored their five goals and they took a 5-2 lead into halftime.
The Cougars came out with a purpose to start the second half and got three straight goals in the first three minutes, two from star attacker Olivia Little and the equalizer coming from Bailey O’Brien. Carroll was able to get a goal from star midfielder and Loyola (MD) commit Katie Detweiler to re-take the lead 30 seconds after O’Brien’s goal, but back-to-back goals from freshman Olivia Pace gave Springfield a 7-6 lead. That lead would be short lived as Carroll’s Sydney D’Orsogna tied it up 30 seconds later.
Then it was time for Carroll’s star attacker and Syracuse commit Sam Swart to take over, scoring two straight goals to give the Patriots a lead they would never relinquish. Despite a goal with four minutes remaining from Springfield’s Bridget Whitaker, Carroll held for a 9-8 victory and their first ever state championship.
The boys championship games both featured rematches of the District 1 title games only two weeks prior. In the 2A game, Springfield, who won the only state lacrosse championship last season, took on West Chester Henderson. Neither team was able to scratch the scoreboard in the first quarter, but that changed in the second quarter. Springfield senior Kyle Long, who already had over 100 assists coming into the game, continued to find his teammates Joe DeBernardi and Mike Tulskie, leading to three of the Cougars’ four goals in the frame. Henderson’s Matt Turse notched both 2nd quarter goals for the Warriors, leading to a 4-2 score at the break.
After Turse’s third goal of the day got Henderson within one goal, 5-4, DeBernardi scored three straight goals, two of which were off great passes from Long. In the fourth quarter, Springfield had a 9-6 lead with under four minutes to play. After a fluke goal trickled past Cougars star goalkeeper James Spence, Turse struck again with his fourth goal to make it 9-8. Henderson called a timeout with under 30 seconds remaining, had possession, but were unable to get a shot off and Springfield celebrated its’ 2nd straight lacrosse title.
In the final game of the day, the Avon Grove Red Devils matched up against the Conestoga Pioneers. In a low scoring defensive battle, goals were hard to come by. The Red Devils had a 1-0 lead after one quarter on a goal by Brendan Harman, and after a Conestoga goal by Drew Mullen to start the second quarter, Avon Grove’s Doug Jones answered at the 1:59 mark which gave his team a 2-1 lead at the break.
Pioneers star attacker Tommy Sopko notched his 82nd goal of the year at the 10:13 mark of the 3rd quarter to knot the game up at two apiece. But Avon Grove again had the answer with a goal by midfielder Scooter Whiteside at the 5:28 mark. Harman added another with less than 30 seconds remaining in the quarter to give the Red Devils the first multi-goal lead of the day for either team.
The game stayed at the 4-2 score all the way until the 2:20 mark of the 4th quarter when Sopko struck again and cut the Red Devil lead to one. Conestoga had one final possession with under a minute remaining. Senior attacker and Mount St. Mary’s commit Henry Berg started behind the cage, made his way to goal-line extended, and snuck the ball past Avon Grove goalkeeper Kevin Malone on an almost impossible angle with only 1.3 seconds remaining in regulation, ultimately sending the game to overtime.
It would take a second overtime period, but Avon Grove head coach Eric Jackson called a timeout, designed a perfect play and Harman found sophomore attacker Zach Augustine for the game-winner, giving the Red Devils their first ever state championship with a 5-4 victory.
It was a phenomenal day of lacrosse at West Chester East High School, resulting in three one-goal victories, some amazing plays and many unforgettable memories.