WEST GOSHEN >> Lorraine Beers has been around the sport of lacrosse for a long time. She’s coached some incredibly talented players, both at Archbishop Carroll and with her Phantastix club, and sent more of them than she could count to play at the collegiate level.
When she says that someone is special, you can take her at face value for it, so when the subject of Sam Swart came up after Carroll’s 13-11 win over Garnet Valley in Tuesday’s PIAA Class 3A semifinal at West Chester Henderson, Beers didn’t mince words.
“When you go back and you think of some of the really great players from Radnor, Conestoga and stuff, clearly, she’s right up there if not one of the better ones, within the top five,” Beers said. “I’d have to do some research, but she’s obviously a gamechanger for everybody. It’s almost impossible to shut her down.”
Most teams would settle for slowing down the explosive two-sport All-Delco, let alone dream of stopping her. The Syracuse-bound Swart erupted for the second straight game, pouring in seven goals and setting up fellow All-American Katie Detwiler for another. Detwiler finished with five goals, so between the two of them, the Patriots’ fantastic duo secured 12 of the 13 Carroll goals. Anna Murphy was the lone outlier for Beers’ group.
That touchdown gave Swart a ridiculous 18 goals in three state tournament games. Strath Haven had the most luck with her, limiting her to two goals. A round later, she tagged Owen J. Roberts for nine goals before besting the Jaguars for seven. Saturday, she’ll look to end her career in style as Carroll squares off with Springfield at noon at West Chester East for the state championship.
With the way she can get to her left hand, no matter who’s covering her, and her killer instinct, Swart is almost impossible for anyone to cover.
“She’s a scorer, and a true scorer believes that they’re going to get every goal that they shoot,” Beers added. “She’s happy to take every shot she can have. Our job has been working with her to getting her to see what’s in front of her to get the best shot and the best opportunity for the team. We’re branching out here.”
The Patriots are branching out with their team accomplishments, too. It’s the first time that a school from outside of District 1 will play for a state championship. The Patriots have boasted several talented teams in the past, but none had been able to break through the glass ceiling of the second round. Saturday, Beers’ group will be considered the favorite to end the season while holding hardware. Carroll is undefeated against PIAA competition this year, its lone loss of the year a 12-8 setback at the hands of PAISAA champion Agnes Irwin.
“Being a senior, it means a lot,” Swart said. “If I was a junior, yeah, that’d be awesome, but it’s my senior year and I want to bring the team as far as I can. We’re really on a roll and it’s just one more game, so I think we can do it.”
“There were so many alumni here today that had our backs,” Detwiler added. “I feel like our whole school seems to be around us. I’m so happy about it.”
Garnet Valley, which has won four state championships in the past six years, nearly willed its way back to the final again. Riley Delaney was at the heart of it all as she went off for seven goals of her own. Her career high helped the Jaguars maintain pace with the Patriots, but Garnet Valley could never get a run going after Carroll took a 7-4 lead into halftime. Twice the Jaguars scored back-to-back goals, but neither of those runs ever ended up being more than two.
“They just had the draw every single time. They always had the momentum and they were so fast as a team,” Delaney said. “Off the draw, we couldn’t stop them as much we should have.”
There’s plenty to like about Garnet Valley’s team next season. The Jaguars will lose some firepower, including goalie Lauren Kinnee, who stopped seven shots, but there’s also a lot coming back. For once, it’s the Jaguars embracing the future, but it’s the time for Carroll to set its sights squarely on Springfield and a state championship.
“This could have been our last game, for all we knew,” Detwiler said. “I think everyone just put all of it in. We didn’t think we were going to lose at all.”
This team might never lose again.