Radnor Storms Past Strath Haven to Win Girls' PIAA Crown

By Chris Goldberg, Phillylacrosse.com

HERSHEY - Radnor scored 11 unanswered goals in a scintillating stretch of the first half and rolled to a 20-10 victory over Strath Haven today in the first Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) girls' lacrosse championship game at HersheyPark Stadium.

The Red Raiders (26-1) were considered by nearly all to be the large-school state champion last year when they finished 23-0 and won the District 1 Class AAA title. This year they left no doubts which team was the best in the state after Pennsylvania's first sanctioned tourney.

Sam Ellis, one of only two seniors who played for Radnor, led the attack with six goals whole junior Kelyn Freedman had four goals and three assists, junior Allie Martin contributed four goals and two assists and junior Courtney Campbell added three goals.

"It's one of the most special days and I want to soak it all in," said Campbell. "It doesn't happen very often, it's the greatest feeling ever. It's a really special day; It's so exciting. All of us are so close and we're all loving it together and having the greatest time."

Strath Haven (22-5) two-time All-American Emily Garrity scored the game's first two goals, but after that Radnor put on a clinic by dominating the draw controls and intercepting several passes while also scooping most of the groundballs.

Ellis scored to make it 2-1 with 22 minutes, 43 seconds left in the half and Freedman tied it a little more than five minutes later. The Raiders scored four goals by Martin, Ellis, Campbell and Campbell - within a span of 1:23 to take a 5-2 lead and then Martin and Ellis scored within 34 seconds to make it 8-2 with 9:01 to play in the half. The spree continued late in the half when Freedman, Ali Kelly and Martin scored within 1:03 to make it 11-2.

"That's what cost us the game draw controls," Garrity said. "That's what we focused on, but Kelyn Fredman is so strong in draw controls. Their height (is a key); we're not blessed with height at Strath Haven, but they also came up with their groundballs and we didn't."

Freedman was not worried when her team fell behind, 2-0. "We always seem to get off to a bad start and we know we're better," said Freedman. "We just had to go to the ball tougher and once we got going. We were fine."

Radnor, ironically, may have benefited most from its only loss of the past two seasons. After the Raiders fell to Central league rival Springfield-Delco, 14-9, in the District 1 finals, they regrouped and raised their level of play another notch.

"We didn't play very well that game and we knew we wanted to prove to everyone that we could do it," said Martin. "This is a very special team."

Martin said winning the draws was crucial in helping set the attack while also keeping Garrity from handling the ball. "We knew Emily was a threat and we wanted to do whatever we could to keep the ball away from her."

Garrity led the Panthers with four goals and two assists, and Ana White had three goals and one assist, while Annalise Penikis contributed two goals and three assists. Garrity, recently chosen to participate in the Under Armour All-American Senior Game at Towson, finished her remarkable career with 406 goals and 290 assists. That gives her the all-time record for points, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations record book.

She said team goals, though, were more important, but that reaching the finals was a great accomplishment. "We had a saying this year 'twenty-seven,'" Garrity said. "And we made it to the 27th game. It's disappointing not to come out on top in the 27th game, but I am proud of my team. It's bittersweet to end it, but it's nice to have gotten his far and I'll miss these girls."

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2009-06-06



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