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Garnet Valley keeps it simple, downs Parkland 15-10 in PIAA opener

NORTHAMPTON >> Garnet Valley girls lacrosse head coach Jenny Purvis keeps it pretty simple.

And on Tuesday evening, the Jaguars went back to the basics during their 15-10 win over Parkland during the opening round of the PIAA Class AAA playoffs at Northampton High School.

“If you can catch, if you can throw, play defense and take good shots,” Purvis said, “that’s gonna win you a game. You’ve just got to find ways to do it better than the other team.

“It’s really, honestly, simple lacrosse.”

Garnet Valley’s Madi McKee scores a goal during the second half of the Jaguars’ victory over Parkland in the PIAA class 3A first round. (Sam Stewart – Digital First Media)

Trailing by three goals just under six minutes into regulation, the Jaguars fired off the four next goals — and eight of the next nine — to take complete command of the game from that point forward.

“It was clear that their (Parkland’s) attack surprised us early on,” added Purvis. “We took a timeout and made sure that our defense made the changes that we needed to make. They figured it out together and from there we started to get the defensive stops and let our offense take over.”

The win sends Garnet Valley, the fourth-place finisher out of District One, to a quarterfinal round matchup with Central League foe Conestoga slated for Saturday. Conestoga beat West Chester Rustin 15-6 on Tuesday night.

Junior attack Kamryn McNeal paced Garnet Valley with four goals and an assist while junior attack Camryn Faith and sophomore Madi McKee each posted hat tricks. The pair hooked up for a textbook one-timer goal with a shade under seven minutes remaining to end Parkland’s final push and make it 13-9. Junior midfielders Riley Delaney and Madi O’Brien each scored twice to go along with an assist while sophomore Kara Nealon had a goal and Regan Nealon had two assists.

The Jaguars rode momentum throughout, utilizing the aforementioned four-goal rally in the early going before following that with another four-goal rally in the final eight minutes of the first half to build an 8-4 lead. When Parkland pushed it to 9-5 early in the second half, Garnet Valley rallied for a three-goal swing that ultimately put it away.

“Our strength is really being up,” said Purvis. “When we’re ahead, we’re a lot looser, we see the field better, we don’t force things. That’s huge for us. We’re definitely a momentum team.”

Junior midfielder Camryn Barnett scored four times while Abby Pope had two goals and four assists for Parkland. Sophomore midfielder Mackenzie Roth notched a hat trick to go along with senior Shannon Bushinsky’s solo goal.

Now as they begin to shift focus to Conestoga, Purvis and the Jaguars know fully what they’re up against. After dropping their regular season matchup — Conestoga won 13-11 on April 27 — Purvis admits that neither team will have an advantage going in.

“We know ‘Stoga is a great team, we can’t deny that,” she said. “I have confidence playing them in the playoffs — it really comes down to who will be the better team that day.

“At this point, it’s not about records or anything like that. It’s who can string together a better 50 minutes.”

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