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Garnet Valley tops Henderson in family ‘feud’

CONCORD >> Except for an early bump in the road, Garnet Valley dominated West Chester Henderson from start to finish in their District 1 Class 3A girls lacrosse match Tuesday.

Kamryn McNeal and Cameron Faith scored three goals apiece and Madi McKee used her size advantage to dominate the draw controls and power the ninth-seeded Jaguars to a 17-5 triumph over the Warriors.

The Jaguars advance to play at eighth-seeded Upper Dublin Thursday.

Garnet Valley’s Madi McKee (18) used her height to ward off the efforts of West Chester Henderson’s Emma Laudermilch during Tuesday’s District 1 Class 3A girls lacrosse match. McKee’s fast start enabled the Jaguars to take command early in cruising to a 17-5 victory. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)

It was a bittersweet victory for Garnet Valley coach Jenny Purvis as Henderson counterpart Lauren Purvis is, you’ve got it, family. Twenty-four teams in the district tournament and the committee opened with a sister-versus-sister showdown.

“That was interesting when we found out at the seeding meeting,” Jenny Purvis said. “It was like ‘Great, we’ll see each other first round.’ We knew a lot about each other’s teams going in. We’re always talking and we get along well. We knew we needed to play our best lacrosse today and be really sharp against them and for the most part we did that.”

McNeal was all over the field for the Jaguars, dishing three assists and generally setting a tempo for the attack. McNeal put on a show for her biggest fan, her grandmother Marilyn.

“She sits on my shoulder every game — metaphorically, I mean,” McNeal said. “It was just a tremendous game. I think everybody played extremely well together like off-ball movement and getting open for each other. I think it really worked today.”

McKee set the tone for the Jaguars from the opening draw. The serious sophomore popped the opening draw control high into the air, came down with the ball and rolled right down the boulevard to set Faith up for what proved to be the go-ahead goal … just 14 seconds into the contest. She won five draw controls on the afternoon.

“I’m 6-1 and it is extremely helpful because I’m going up against a lot of short girls who can be a lot stronger than me and they just push really hard,” McKee said. “It helps when the ball goes up in the air and I can easily get it.”

PHOTO GALLERY: W.C. Henderson vs. Garnet Valley

McKee won the next draw control. In 12 seconds it was 2-0, McNeal finding the back of the net.

Less than a minute later, McKee scored after winning another draw control but it was waved off and she received a yellow card for “dangerous propel.”

With McKee gone for two minutes, the Warriors (10-8) got on the board, junior Jordyn Bauer scoring the first of her three goals. That was as close as they got the rest of the day. Lily Suskind had the other two goals.

Garnet Valley’s Regan Nealon, left, puts a shot over West Chester Henderson goalie Ann Lilicker Tuesday during the Jags’ 17-5 win in the first round of the District 1 Class 3A tournament. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)

For the Jaguars, McKee (one assist), Riley Delaney and Regan Nealon scored two goals each and Beth Hofmann won two draw controls. Additionally, Abby Kalish chipped in one goal, one draw control and one caused turnover and Kara Nealon added one goal and three ground balls.

“It’s tough to end the season like that,” Lauren Purvis said. “We knew coming in that they were a really good team. They’ve been a consistently good team for a long time. I think if we’d kept playing to the skills level we have we could have stayed much closer.”

The Jaguars led, 10-1, at the intermission. After O’Brien, McNeal, Delaney and McKee scored to make it 14-2, the Jaguars subbed liberally.

For Lauren Purvis, there’s always next year. And next time, in terms of playing her big sister.

“This is the first time we coached against each other,” Lauren Purvis said. “We truly are best friends. At the seeding meeting, I didn’t think my team would be in. We were just happy we were in. She was so excited for me that we got in the playoffs. We’re always rooting for each other.”

Three years older than her sibling, Jenny Purvis played big sister. She knew the Warriors would battle to the end. After all, the Purvis sisters played lacrosse and field hockey together at Hatboro-Horsham, lined up next to each other in lacrosse at Penn State and shared a state title in 2015 at Garnet Valley, Lauren in the role of assistant.

“She had me over for dinner last night,” Jenny Purvis said. “She said ‘It’s the sisterly thing to do.’ It was cute.”

The opponent in the next round of the districts isn’t nearly as familiar. The Jaguars don’t know much about Upper Dublin. They just know they’re still in a knockout round.

“We’re coming in as the underdog for the next game,” McNeal said. “It’s going to be a good game. We heard they’re a pretty decent team. And it should be a very, very competitive game.”

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