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Toohey, Garnet Valley steam past Radnor for Central League title

Garnet Valley's Camryn Faith, center, fires a goal past Radnor goalie Phoebe Proctor in the first half of a 14-4 win for the Jaguars. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)

CONCORD >> You could hear it on the Garnet Valley sidelines. You could hear it in the huddle. You could hear it in the background of the postgame interview.

When the Jaguars got a chance Tuesday to shout the nickname of midfielder Kathryn Toohey, they took it. And with the sophomore constantly roaring up the field in possession, like a freight train, that moniker — “Toooo-Toooo” — a nickname dragged out like a train whistle, resounded from the GV sideline.

Garnet Valley players celebrate with Kathryn Toohey (13) after her first-half goal started a 14-4 win over Radnor to decide the Central League Championship Tuesday. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)

“Kathryn is an amazing player,” senior Kamryn McNeal said. “She’s quick and she’s a savvy player. The ball’s over here, and she’s moving in the other way to get open. And when she gets the draw control, she’s a bull.”

Toohey clacked out the rhythm of a goal, an assist and six draw controls, including five in a dominant first half, as Garnet Valley routed Radnor, 14-4, in a battle of the top two teams in the Central League that clinches a title for the Jaguars.

Toohey’s energy epitomized the jump that Garnet Valley (15-2, 10-1) showed from the get-go, scoring the game’s first three goals and building an 8-1 halftime lead. She opened the scoring four minutes in off a feed from Madi McKee, and she controlled three of the first five draws in a half where Garnet Valley won eight of 10 draws to control the clock.

Most of all, as Radnor’s offense was harried into 19 turnovers, Toohey’s poise with the ball, steaming upfield in transition, settled the Jaguars and translated energy into offense.

“I think everything clicked really well from the start, and we got possession, which is good,” Toohey said. “I think we didn’t really have any doubts. We just went for it and it worked out.”

“Our transitions have gotten so much better as the season goes on,” defender Caroline Carruthers said. “We really focus on the bold passing and just always having a trail pass so that if they can’t run it up like they always do, then we have someone back and we just swing it around quick. We do take our time in transition, but we don’t want to waste the time. We want to, from that turnover, make a goal happen.”

By halftime, they had made plenty of offense happen. McKee, who controlled three draws with her six-foot frame, turned distributor with a goal and three assists. Cam Faith and Riley Delaney scored twice each by the break, Delaney’s second coming with 3.4 seconds left off a transition head-manned by Carruthers.

The Jaguars prepped for a Radnor surge out of the break, which came via goals from Ellie Mueller and Cate Cox in the first seven minutes of the half to narrow the deficit to 8-3. But McNeal furnished an answer, earning an eight-meter chance and flinging her shot home 56 seconds after Cox’s tally to make it 9-3. McNeal scored the Jags’ first three goals of the second to restore an 11-3 edge and erase doubt. Two came from eight meters, the senior patiently earning fouls before shooting. The other was set up by Toohey.

PHOTO GALLERY: Radnor at Garnet Valley

“We knew that going into the second half, Radnor was going to make a lot of changes,” McNeal said. “We knew that we had to adjust quickly to what they were doing. Just overall team play and playing together, moving the ball quick and it just all seemed to flow together, and we pulled it out. It was a great win.”

One thing that didn’t relent was the swarming defense of the Jags. Often, that meant preventing Radnor (14-3, 9-2) from getting into its offensive rhythm. In the first half, Garnet Valley allowed just one solitary shot by Radnor, and for the game outshot the Raiders, 23-9. Sam Hamalak made four saves in goal, but often the Jags defense prevented fires before they started.

That meant limiting the options available to Cox at the corner of the crease, where she can be deadly picking out attackers. Cox scored twice, and Cat Belveal and Mueller had a goal and an assist each.

The key, Carruthers said, was making sure the Jags defense was on the same page matching the off-ball movement, executing and communicating in a way that Radnor couldn’t.

Garnet Valley’s Kamryn McNeal, left, attacks in the second half as Radnor’s Carleigh Goldstein defends. McNeal scored four times in a 14-4 Jaguars win. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)

“We really focused on the two behind (Molly May and Cox), because we knew they were the feeders,” Carruthers said. “We knew to send the slides early to, and on the stacks to zone it, and we just really went in really well-prepared. We’re all about the team defense and communication, and that really helped us today.”

“I think we just needed to keep our communication up and that’s what we failed at,” Belveal said. “We started putting our heads down and trying to play as individuals. We’re a great team on attack, and I just really think we had an off day.”

With the league season ending, both teams will branch off into their respective district tournaments. Radnor heads to Class 2A as the reigning District 1 and PIAA champs, heavy favorites to repeat, notwithstanding a tough test from Central rival Penncrest.

Garnet Valley enters the typically treacherous Class 3A field in search of a fifth PIAA crown.

“The overall win was really great for our team,” McNeal said. “It’s a big motivator and just if we can keep playing the way we’re playing, I think it’ll get us far.”

Also in the Central League:

Springfield 16, Strath Haven 10 >> Belle Mastropietro and Dana Carlson scored five goals apiece, Carlson adding three assists, and Olivia Little paired a hat trick with four assists as the Cougars broke open a one-goal game at the half.

Olivia Memeger paired three goals with three assists, and Gillian Brennan added a hat trick for the Panthers.

Haverford 14, Marple Newtown 9 >> Nora Janzer and Reilly Morgan tallied four goals apiece, and Lauren Johns made 14 saves for the Fords in a vital win for playoff hopes.

Kylie Gioia led Marple with a hat trick, and Christina O’Rangers turned aside 15 shots.

In the Catholic League:

Archbishop Carroll 19, Cardinal O’Hara 2 >> Katie Detwiler and Sydney D’Orsogna scored three times each, and Detwiler and Rachel Matey each grabbed seven draw controls to pace the Patriots (11-2, 10-0). Kelli Ann Matey, Alex Cabahug-Almonte and Sabrina Narda had two goals and an assist each.

In the Bicentennial League:

Lower Moreland 8, Delco Christian 2 >> Monica Lebaudy and Maddy Vavala scored, and Isabelle Brewster made 11 saves for the Knights.

In nonleague action:

Sun Valley 15, Chichester 6 >> Abby Seasock (six goals) and Anna Brown (three goals, three assists) had a hand in three goals each, and Carli Komorowski also notched a hat trick for the Vanguards. Alexis Colasante made 12 saves in goal.

Adrianna Willoughby paced Chichester with three goals.

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