East Whiteland – The All-American duo of Great Valley senior midfielders and co-captains Olivia Muscella and Natalie Kahn have enjoyed a memorable four-year run with the Patriots. Some of the highlights:
— Two Ches-Mont League championships and one District 1 title.
— Only three Ches-Mont losses in four years.
— Back-to- back Ches-Mont American Division MVP awards for Muscella.
— A total of 163 goals this season for the duo (more than half the team’s total), who also dished out more than half of the Patriots’ assists.
But to Great Valley head coach Kim Wenger, their story is really about the partnership between them, and how they maximized their work ethic, dedication, and passion to facilitate the Patriots’ field presence and dynamic these past four years.
“It’s no secret that the pair have been a dangerous threat and capable of kick starting their team in controlling any game, and they are as responsible for the other’s success as they are their own,” said Wenger. “Nat and Liv know each other’s tendencies better than anyone could prepare for. The two could find each other all over the field, even if their eyes were closed.
“Growing together as players, they visibly shared a mutual love and joy of lacrosse. They are the two friends and teammates that work out together, practice together, stay after hours to play longer together.”
Muscella said, “Nat and I have been playing together for so long, including summer lacrosse, and we are best friends off the field. We play on the beach together and we will often go to Malvern Prep or to Great Valley to practice. This all helps with our chemistry on the field. I know Nat’s tendencies and she knows mine and we both have great confidence in each other.
“We have lots of tricky plays together and they are so fun to run because I know that Nat can get the ball to me and I can get the ball to her.”
Kahn said, “Liv and I began playing lacrosse together in the Greater Chester Valley Girls Lacrosse program when we were in elementary school. A lot of girls our age would play in the league and we would just have a blast.
“We have been best friends since the second grade and to be honest you could call us sisters. We have been playing together for so long that we have developed a trust and confidence in each other’s abilities.
“I don’t have to say a word to Liv for her to know what I am thinking and vice versa. On the field we are able to read each other’s body language in order to make a play. We seem to have a feel for where the other will be. We can make a cut or pass without having to say anything to one another.
One of the biggest highlights for the duo was being an integral part of the Patriots’ District 1 championship in 2015:
Muscella said, “It was definitely the highlight of my Great Valley lacrosse career. It was a beautiful night at West Chester East, perfect weather to play lacrosse in. I remember running down the field to our goalie at the end of the game and we all jumped into each other’s arms in excitement. It was a great night to be a Great Valley lacrosse player, parent, and fan. Everyone was very excited.
Kahn said, “The games leading up to that championship, including beating Conestoga, were just as important and equally as satisfying. My most vivid memory from the championship game was being in a dog pile of girls celebrating the win.”
Great Valley’s winning tradition and the confidence it spawned was not lost on the Patriots’ dynamic duo.
“The best aspect of playing lacrosse for Great Valley was our confidence,” said Muscella. “When we walked on the field we walked on with confidence in our teammates and with confidence that we were going to win. We knew that people had to play their best game for them to even compete with us and everyone was out to try to beat us.”
In the two following years after the district championship, Muscella was named Ches-Mont American Division MVP.
“It’s a great honor to be chosen as Ches-Mont MVP in back-to-back years – there are a lot of great teams and players that come out of our league,” said Muscella. “My accomplishments would be nothing without my teammates and coaches.”
In the fall, Muscella will be playing lacrosse for University of Massachusetts-Amherst, while Kahn will be playing for Duke.
Kahn said, [Coaches] Joe Tornetta and Kim Wenger have been important figures in my life and always will be – their continued belief and coaching styles has helped me attain the goal of being a Division I athlete. Knowing them has made me not only a tougher individual, but an overall better person as well.”