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Little’s second-half surge carries Springfield past Radnor

SPRINGFIELD >> As Olivia Little stepped up to the eight-meter line in the second half Wednesday night, she calmly placed the ball in the high grass and waited. The Springfield attacker rested her stick on the ground, wiped her hands from the muddy evening on the field, casually regathered the ball and assumed her stance.

That casually, she was ready. And three seconds later, when her high shot blistered the net behind Radnor goalie Alexa Solomon, there was no doubting that fact.

Little scored five goals, four in the second half, to lead Springfield to a 14-11 come-from-behind win over Radnor in Central League girls lacrosse.

Radnor’s Allison Lanzone, left, and Springfield’s Olivia Little square off on a draw. Little scored five times while Lanzone had two goals and three assists as Springfield bested Radnor, 14-11. (Digital First Media/Anne Neborak)

Little gave Springfield its first lead of the game at 11-10 with 12 minutes, 50 seconds left, a free-position shot deflected past Solomon on the bounce. The next chance she got — after Radnor’s Cate Cox knotted the score at 11 — was more emphatic, taking four quick steps and rippling the back of the net with a powerful shot.

“What’s going through my mind at that moment is just to get the team up,” Little said. “Once we’re (in the lead), we usually have the drive to keep going. I think that goal to get us ahead was a big goal to get.”

That goal started a streak of three straight by the Cougars (9-1 overall, 6-1 league) to finish the game, Dana Carlson adding a pair of insurance tallies as Springfield adroitly wound down the clock in possession.

The finish was in stark contrast to an active first 25 minutes by the Raiders (7-5, 4-3) in which they threatened to put the game out of reach. A string of four straight goals midway through the half, spurred by two-thirds of Julianne Puckette’s hat trick, staked Radnor to a 7-3 lead that stood at 9-6 at the break.

But Springfield adjusted at halftime, coping better with Radnor’s ball movement and pass-first mentality that pried open holes in the first half.

Six of Radnor’s first-half goals were assisted, with Allison Lanzone providing three to complement two goals and Cox dishing a pair of helpers. But Springfield’s defense adjusted after the break, holding Radnor to just a pair of markers.

“I think we were pumped up to play and try to get a win,” Lanzone said. “As we were getting assists, helping each other out on goals and not just taking it one-v-one but attacking as a team, that’s what was keeping us going.”

“A lot of the teams, they have certain girls go to goal,” Springfield senior defender Erika Biehl said. “This team had all-around girls. Two people were guarding their specific players, but everyone else was switching. And we had to really work on the feeding in. We worked on that the past two days.”

The other major adjustment came on the offensive end. The teams were even in shots (14) and draw controls (eight) in the first half, but the scoreboard disparity owed in large part to eight saves from Solomon. Many of those denials came with the senior goalie covering low attempts, requiring the Cougars to adjust to her expertise and the soggy, deadening field after the break.

Springfield’s Bridget Whitaker tries to outrun the defense of Radnor’s Allison Lanzone, center, and Nicole Massimino. Whitaker tallied a goal and an assist in the Cougars’ 14-11 win. (Digital First Media/Anne Neborak)

“If we’re going to go high on her, we have to throw a fake because she’s a very talented goalie,” Little said. “Even going low, with the surface tonight, it was just kind of going dead. If we had to go bounce, we had to go outside the crease or right on the crease to get it past her. We had to fake her out because she’s a very talented goalie.”

Little started that trend four minutes into the second half, then figured out the bounce geometry on the next goal to climb within one. Puckette pegged a goal back, set up by Cox, but Bailey O’Brien scored twice in a row to even the score at 10 with 14:39 to play.

Little nudged the Cougars ahead once, and then for good to send them toward a big win.

“It was a slow start, but I think it was once we got comfortable down in the offensive end, once we got a feel of who was out there and how good their goalie was,” Little said. “It was just trial and error, how we could run our plays or get the ball in the eight.”

Also in the Central League:

Marple Newtown 18, Upper Darby 3 >> Kristen Rutecki scored four times and Katie Nunan tallied a hat trick to lead Marple.

Rachel Feldmayer, Ali Cucinotta and Gabby Liberio scored for the Royals.

In the Ches-Mont League:

W.C. Henderson 20, Sun Valley 5 >> Anna Brown scored to go with three draw controls, and Hannah Maggio and Liz Johnson added a goal and two draw controls each for the Vanguards.

In nonleague action:

Delco Christian 14, Penn Wood 2 >> Taylor Mingle scored four times, and Allie Zubyk and Monica Lebaudy deposited two goals apiece as the Knights cruised.

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