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Mueller, Cox power Radnor’s youth movement

LOWER MERION >> One has a family athletic tradition that has centered around the game of lacrosse. She began playing as a first grader.

The other comes from a basketball family and didn’t take up lacrosse until she was in eighth grade.

Radnor sophomore Cate Cox and freshman Ellie Mueller put their skills on display at Harriton Saturday afternoon, helping the Raiders (17-7) to a 20-8 decision over Villa Maria in a PIAA Class AA quarterfinal game.

Radnor’s Cate Cox, right, scored six times and added four assists in a 20-8 win over Villa Maria in the PIAA Class 2A quarterfinals. (Digital First Media/Anne Neborak)

Then, while their senior teammates left the scene as quickly as they could to join their classmates at the senior prom, Cox and Mueller were left to talk about what had happened in the game as well as in their lacrosse careers.

“My dad (Dave Cox) played lacrosse at Syracuse and Maryland,” Cox, who scored six goals and chipped in four assists, said. “We’ve played 1-on-1 against each other.”

Mueller was born in Bermuda and spent her first two years there before her family moved to the United States. Her father, Christopher “Kit” Mueller, a native of the suburban Chicago area, was a two-time Ivy League Player of the Year and Academic All-American while playing basketball at Princeton University.

He was a member of the Tigers team that dropped a one-point decision to the top-ranked Georgetown team that included Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo and Big East Player of the Year Charles Smith in the 1989 NCAA Tournament.

She was among the Radnor defenders who helped limit the Villa Maria attack to four goals in each half.

“We knew who their top three scorers were, and we wanted to cut them off,” Mueller said.

Cox had four goals in the first half, including three in a seven-minute streak in which Radnor went from a 1-0 deficit to a 5-1 lead. Mueller got her two goals and one assist before the halftime break.

“Our defense did a great job,” Mueller said. “And our offense did what it was supposed to do.”

Also contributing on attack as well as defensively before heading off to the prom were seniors Nicole Massimino (two goals, one assist, seven draw controls), Hope Smith (three goals, one assist), and Allison Lanzone (two goals, five draw controls).

“Our defense is so solid,” Cox, who also played basketball during the winter, said. “We play 7-on-7 and in a lot of game situations at practice. We have All-Americans on our defense like Allison, Nicole and Natalie Junior. Going against them each day can only be a positive thing for us.

“We knew their goalie liked to go down low on shots, so we wanted to try to take advantage of that. Now we have to get ready to play (Bishop Shanahan) again.”

Villa Maria had six seniors on its roster, and first-year head coach Allison Mongan was pleased with what they meant to her program.

“Today was a real emotional roller coaster for them,” said Mongan, who became an assistant coach at Villa when the members of the Class of 2017 were freshmen.

“They had their graduation this morning, then they had to come over here and play this game against Radnor, which is an elite program. We lost, but it was to a team that we know will turn out to be one of the best in the playoffs.”

Junior Erin Finley got two goals and a pair of assists, freshman Adele Iacobucci contributed two goals and one assist, and Hannah Young and Annina Iacobucci also scored twice for the Hurricanes.

“We had as good a season as any Villa Maria team has had,” Mongan said. “And we just hope that the girls we have coming back will want to get back here again and keep going on in the playoffs.”

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