Lower Providence >> For the Unionville seniors, the Indians’ 14-9 win against defending state champion Archbishop Carroll in the PIAA 3A state quarterfinal at Metachton High School Saturday was extra special.
Unionville head coach Suzanne Sheehan said, “This has been a great senior class. Madison Doucette (12 saves) and Taryn Burke (two caused turnovers) have been leading us on defense, and Annie McDonough (three goals, one assist, six draw controls) has been working well with the middies.”
On the scoring end, Unionville seniors tallied 12 of the Indians’ 14 goals Saturday, with Hannah Close and Erin Garvey each scoring four times. This has been a season of milestones for Unionville, and Close and Garvey are no exception. When Close scored the first goal of the game, it was her 100th career goal; earlier this season, Garvey scored her 200th career goal. Both were in fine form Saturday.
“With about a minute to go, I saw Erin Garvey had tears [of joy] in her eyes,” said Sheehan. “Then, when the final buzzer sounded, and I saw the subs run out to greet Madison and our defense, it was icing on the cake. All the coaches and all the girls got a little emotional at the end of the game because this was a battle we won, and [a state title] is something that we think we can really achieve if we keep working hard at it.”
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Close said, “When the final buzzer sounded [Saturday], it was breathtaking. And, oh my gosh, we were tired at the end.”
Garvey added, “My first thought at the end of the game was, ‘Wow – we made it this far and we’re not done yet.’”
Last spring, Unionville did not make the PIAA 3A state tournament, losing to Strath Haven in the second round of the District 1 tourney. But on Tuesday, Unionville, the third seed from District 1, will face District 1 champion Garnet Valley in the PIAA state semifinals at at place and time to be determined. On March 26, the Indians lost to Garnet Valley, 7-6, in Unionville’s season opener.
“The [seniors] know this is their last chance,” said Sheehan. “They will graduate on Tuesday morning at the University of Delaware, then play in the state semifinal [against Garnet Valley] later that day – Tuesday will be a big day for them.”
Carroll head coach Lorraine Beers, whose Patriots lost to the Indians 10-9 at the Katie Samson Foundation Lacrosse Festival in April, said, “Unionville is an awesome team, they could go all the way. They have excellent athletes who are in great shape [handling Saturday’s hot, humid weather] and they played a great game.”
Saturday, Close opened the scoring just 1:25 into the contest, giving the Indians a 1-0 lead.
Close, who will play lacrosse for Coastal Carolina this fall, said, “I knew it was my 100th [career] goal after it went in. But it wouldn’t have happened without a great pass from Erin Garvey. We were passing the ball well today.”
Two minutes later, Carroll’s Grace Gallagher and Kate Detweiler scored within 11 seconds of each other to give the Patriots a 2-1 lead that held up for six minutes. When Unionville junior attack Emma Malone (two goals, two assists) scored with 15:29 left in the first half to tie the game at 2-2, it marked the last time Carroll held the lead.
Unionville scored four goals in the next minute in a man-up situation to go ahead 6-2. Veronica Hineman scored to put Unionville ahead for good, then McDonough scored twice, then Close closed out the scoring run to make it 6-2 with 14:11 left before halftime.
Garvey, who will play lacrosse for University of Michigan this fall, said, “The first 10 minutes of the game is so key, and once we got our momentum during that [four goal] run, we built on that.”
Sheehan said, “Once we got that first goal, the momentum kept coming with us. Everyone on our team was feeling the excitement and we just held on to that for as long as we could.”
After Carroll called time out, the Patriots began to chip away at Unionville’s lead, with goals from junior Amber Germer, senior Katie Detweiler (who finished with a hat trick) and junior Alex Cabahug-Almonte, cutting Unionvile’s edge to 7-5 with 4:46 before the half.
Then it was Unionville’s turn to counterpunch. Close scored after a long run to make it 8-5, a Garvey-to-Malone goal made it 9-5 with 1:12 left; then Garvey fired in a shot after a spirited sprint five seconds before the half ended. Unionville went into halftime with a 10-5 lead.
Close said, “We were winning the draws, got possession and protected the ball, and kept composed.”
McDonough, Hineman, Garvey and Close combined for 14 draw controls Saturday.
Sheehan said, “We knew Carroll was super-talented on the draw control, and we tried different combinations to offset that today.”
Beers noted, “We had a lot of turnovers in the first half, and we just couldn’t put 50 minutes together.”
After halftime, Carroll put some defensive pressure on Unionville, causing several turnovers, and when Gember scored her third goal of the game, it cut the Indians’ lead to 10-8 with 15:57 left. Germer, who finished with four goals, scored her third goal of the second half with 12:32 left to cut Unionville’s lead to 11-9.
The final 12 1/2 minutes, Unionville kept Carroll scoreless, thanks to the Indian defense and the goalkeeping od Doucette, who will be taking her lacrosse skills to Northwestern University.
“Madison is such a leader of our defense,” said Sheehan. “When errors are made, she’s so positive in the way she approaches the defense, she is able to fix the changes that need to be made in a very positive way, which I think is great to have as a captain and a leader in the defensive end. I’m impressed with the way she leads a young defense which is mostly sophomores and one senior, Taryn Burke. Madison is going to be hard to replace [next year].”
Following a key stop by Burke, Garvey scored her third goal of the game to make it 12-9 with 6:15 left. Doucette kept making key saves, while the Indians went into a passing mode.
With 2:47 left, following a long passing sequence by Unionville, Garvey cut across the middle, found an opening in front of the goal and fired in her fourth goal of the day to make it 13-9. Close then scored her fourth goal of the game after a long run to make it 14-9 with 0:51 left.
Sheehan also noted the defensive efforts of freshman defender Shannon Garvey, younger sister of Erin Garvey, down the stretch Saturday.
On the Carroll sideline, a number of talented seniors who will be taking their skills to college said farewell to their Patriot career Saturday – Rachel Matey (James Madison), Grace Gallagher (St. Joseph’s University), Sydney D’Orsogna (LaSalle), Katie Detweiler (Loyola-Md.) and Shea Neary (Cabrini).
Beers said, “Our girls fought hard; our senior worked incredibly hard. They were part of our state title team last year, I’ll miss them and I’ll see them at the alumni game.”
Unionville 14, Archbishop Carroll 9
Unionville 10 4 – 14
Archbishop Carroll 5 4 – 9
Unionville goals: Close 4, Malone 2, McDonough 3, Garvey 4, Hineman.
Archbishop Carroll goals: Dermer 4, Detweiler 3, Cabahug-Almonte, Gallagher.
Goalie saves: Doucette (UN) 12, J. Dellarata (AC) 6.