WEST GOSHEN >> Liz Scott made a simple statement one year and five days ago.
“We’ll be back,” she said, after a devasting loss in the state final. “We need to give it 110 percent, but I know we will back here next year and we’ll win it.”
Scott and the Pioneers lived up to that promise.
Thanks to eight different scorers — and a key 10-1 run — Conestoga rolled past District 1 champion Radnor, 18-7, Saturday at West Chester East, to bring home the first girls lacrosse state title in school history and avenge last year’s 14-10 loss to Garnet Valley.
“I’m speechless,” Scott said with what seemed like a permanent smile. “We have been thinking about this game for 371 days. That’s how long it’s been and every single day leading up to this we have been working for this moment. This is incredible. I will never forget this feeling and what our team accomplished. We made history today.”
The fifth seed from District 1 hit the ground running at Zimmerman Stadium for an unusually early 10 a.m. start time. Three minutes into the contest, senior attacker Paige Loose put the Pioneers (24-1) on the board when she buried a free-position shot low left.
After holding Radnor (20-7) on the defensive end, Conestoga’s Monica Borzillo wheeled around the net and deposited her first goal of the game. It was just the beginning of the senior’s monster day. The University of Cincinnati-bound attacker finished with a game-high four goals and eight assists.
“We knew we weren’t losing today,” Borzillo said. “Last year I thought we were a little bit nervous and we made a lot of mistakes, but today we were ready. Radnor is an amazing team and we knew we had to play our best game of the season and we did that. We played our style of lacrosse and everyone played a key part in today’s win. For us seniors, we knew this was our last game ever so we wanted to give it everything we had.”
The Red Raiders responded quickly. Back to back free-position goals from Katie and Fallon Quinn helped the District 1 champions tie the affair at 2-2.
“This team fought all year,” said Radnor head coach Brooke Fritz said. “They have been a resilient bunch that never gave up once this season and that didn’t change today.”
From that point on it was all Conestoga. Two goals by Amelia Kienzle, along with scores from Loose, Borzillo, Liz Scott, Maggie Gladden, Hannah Ashton and Rilee Scott opened the floodgates and helped the Pioneers grab a commanding 10-3 lead at the half.
“Our motto has been ‘razor sharp focus’ all season long,” Liz Scott said. “We kept saying that every two minutes out there one the field. We were able to stay razor sharp focus today and that’s what helped us pull away with the win.”
Another key reason the Central League champions were able to establish the comfortable advantage was due to goalie Jules Horning. The senior netminder turned away 13 shots, including six impressive saves in the first half.
“We knew coming into today that Radnor has some of the best shooters in the area,” the captain said. “I was able to track the ball really well. My defense did a great job taking away the angles so they had a harder time getting good shots off. We also did a really nice job communicating out there and making their offense turn the ball over.”
In the final 25 minutes, Radnor’s offense continued to challenge the Pioneers’ goalie but were unable to cut the deficit to anything lower than seven goals.
With a standing ovation coming from the Conestoga fans, the entire Pioneers’ sideline stormed the center of the field as the final buzzer sounded.
Before its 2016 campaign began, head coach Amy Orcutt told her team their goal was to make this the best season ever. Throughout the three-month span, it was evident her message was received loud and clear. Between collecting their first state title, their best record ever, and finishing undefeated regular season Central League champions for the second-straight year, her players were able to bring that goal to fruition.
“I couldn’t be prouder of this team,” Orcutt said shortly after a postgame Gatorade shower. “The players, the coaches, everyone played a part in this title. This is seriously a dream come true. These girls battled so much adversity and they never gave up. After losing the way we did last year, and battling through so many injuries this year, they never quit and they stayed focused on this goal. This team truly is like a family and I couldn’t be happier for them.”
Radnor graduates eight seniors, including captains Katie Quinn and Abigail Lord. On top of winning the district title, the 2016 Red Raiders dethroned back to back state champions, Garnet Valley, with an eight goal comeback in the PIAA semifinals this past Tuesday.
“I will remember that night as one of the greatest games I have ever seen,” Fritz said. “That comeback on Tuesday is something this team will never forget. They accomplished so much this season and they should hold their heads up high and be proud of themselves.”
For the Pioneers, their 12-member senior class finished with a remarkable 78-22 record over the past four years. They captured two Central League titles, a state championship and went a combined 47-5 their junior and senior seasons.
“Today we made history at Conestoga,” Borzillo said. “That was so important for our senior class. We did it for this group but we also did it for the seniors last season. They did so much for us and they are equally apart of this championship. We wanted our last game ever in a Conestoga uniform to count and we did that today.”
Conestoga 18, Radnor 7
Conestoga 10 8 – 18
Radnor 3 4 – 7
Conestoga goals: Borzillo 4, Loose 3, Kienzle 3, Dickey 2, Ashton 2, L. Scott 2, Gladden, R. Scott.
Radnor goals: K. Quinn 3, Games 3, F. Quinn,.
Goalie saves: Horning (C) 13, Solomon (R) 8.