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Radnor rolls to healthy win behind Solomon

RADNOR >> Alexa Solomon was sick, alright.

Just not with the stomach bug — although it was enough of a concern for Radnor lacrosse coach Brooke Fritz to keep the JV goalie on deck.

No, Solomon’s performance in goal was sick, as she stopped 11 shots, most of them in close quarters, including a handful of free positions and the Raiders did the rest to secure an eye-opening 14-6 Central League win Tuesday over rival Garnet Valley.

Radnor goalie Alexa Solomon, left, blocks a close-in shot by Garnet Valley’s Madi McKee in the first half Tuesday. Solomon made 11 saves as the Raiders rolled, 14-6. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)

“I knew that I had to be ready,” Solomon said. “I took a little nap this afternoon. I had a really good warm-up and I was feeling on. When I feel on and they take the free positions, I just feel like I can get there. It just happens.”

It happened, for sure.

When the Jaguars grabbed a 1-0 lead on the first of two goals by Madi O’Brien, it sure looked like it was going to be a long afternoon for the Raiders.

But Solomon answered the gut check and the Raiders’ passing game began clicking thanks to a variety of players who fed Julianne Puckette.

With Puckette in rhythm, the Raiders scored the next six goals and led, 9-2, at the intermission.

Puckette tallied all four of her goals in the first half for the Raiders (11-6 overall, 8-3 league). She also had one assist and won five draw controls.

Cate Cox added three goals and three assists, Hope Smith and Ellie Mueller chipped in two goals each. Nicole Massimino added two goals and four draw controls.

“The goalie played well and she’s been out so she was not 100 percent,” Fritz said of Solomon. “I’m glad she was able to get out there and play strong. Puckette was on. I thought Nicole Massimino played out of her mind. Hope Smith played really great. We have a great senior class, all 10 of them, and they’re all really strong. And I know the seniors have really been sort of anxious because they haven’t put together a whole game yet and they really wanted to do it.”

Consider it done … almost.

The Raiders held a 13-2 lead with a little less than 11 minutes remaining when the Jaguars scored four straight goals.
In spite of the late breakdown, the Raiders gave themselves a glimpse of what they want to be as they look toward the District 1 Class 2A playoffs.

“It wasn’t 100 percent pretty but this is a game I think we can build on,” Smith said. “We’ve been trying to put together a full 50 minutes all season. We knew Garnet Valley was a difficult opponent for us. We thought if we came out 100 percent and put together a full 50 minutes that no one could stay with us.”

Radnor’s Natalie Junior, left, collides with Garnet Valley’s Riley Delaney in the first half at Radnor Tuesday. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)

At times, the game was a blur. Other times, it was tough for Jaguars coach Jenny Purvis, who used to coach with Fritz, to keep her players from suffering total demoralization.

Two potential Jaguars goals in the first half were rubbed out by a crease violation and a charge. That would have changed the halftime speech.

“I think their speed in transition and their speed going to goal kind of caught us off guard a little bit,” Purvis said of Radnor. “And just that deficit of seven goals at the half, it’s just so hard to come back from. I said to the girls that one positive was, other than the last goal in the last four seconds, it was a tie game in the second half. It’s a hard deficit to come back on anyone, let alone Radnor. It gets frustrating. I give Radnor’s defense credit. They forced us to take some low percentage shots. Their goalie stepped up and had some really nice saves.”

Radnor participates in a different playoff classification than the Jaguars, who operate in Class 3A.

That said, the Raiders, who are the 2016 state runners-up, were looking for a reason to feel good after stumbling down the homestretch.

“It’s a huge win for district seeds,” Solomon said. “And it was also just a great moral booster. We kind of needed a big win like this. We haven’t really been winning the games that are close. I think that this was a great boost for our team confidence-wise and also seed-wise.”

The Jaguars (12-5, 7-4), on the other hand, have one more chance to get the loss out of their system.

“This will impact, potentially, our overall seeding just because our record isn’t as good,” Purvis said. “That’s where the pain might come, a little bit. We were ranked eighth yesterday so we’re right on that brink of getting a bye and not getting a bye. So it remains to be seen what will happen. Hopefully our last game can propel us up a little bit, too.”

Elsewhere in the Central League:

Ridley 17, Upper Darby 3 >> Sydney Zimmerman contributed three goals and one assist, Emily Johnston and Haley Adam had two goals and one assist each as a dozen different players tallied for the Green Raiders.

Springfield 10, Strath Haven 9 >> Dana Carlson and Bridget Whitaker scored three goals each to lead the Cougars, who built a 7-5 lead in the first half. Bailey O’Brien and Olivia Little added two goals each.

Nicole McNeeley and Margot Hotham produced three goals apiece for the Panthers. Maddy Ruffini added two goals.

In Catholic Academies action:

Mount St. Joseph’s 16, Sacred Heart 7 >> Danielle Santora and Hannah Seifried (one assist) registered three goals each for Sacred Heart.

In Del Val play:

Chichester 19, Academy Park 12 >> Maura Murray scored six goals, Hayley Fritz (two assists) and Camryn Toper had four goals apiece to lead Chichester. Adrian Willoughby added a hat trick.

Riley Street tallied six goals for Academy Park. Zyah Newsome chipped in three goals and goalie Terae Mason made 15 saves.

In Inter-Ac action:

Episcopal Academy 19, Springside Chestnut Hill 6 >> Olivia Dirks and Taylor Lucey scored three goals each as EA rolled. Lucey contributed seven assists, Dirks one assist and four draw controls.

Notre Dame 15, Baldwin 6 >> Kelly Coyle registered four goals, two assists and four ground balls to lead Notre Dame. Makenzie Irvine added three goals, Hannah Gillespie and Caitlin Mullen netted two apiece.

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