Kenneally sparks rally in big win for Radnor

RADNOR — Senior Lexi Kenneally could hardly handle the pressure Tuesday.

It was getting late and the Radnor girls lacrosse team was clinging to a one-goal lead against Garnet Valley, the reigning Central League and PIAA champion. This was no ordinary contest.

It was a showdown of Pennsylvania powers, a game that could be played again in May or June for a much bigger prize.

Kenneally was nervous, but she never rattled. When Radnor needed her to make a big play, she was there.

The UConn-bound midfielder scored three of her four goals in the second half, highlighting a furious comeback by the Raiders.

“I was almost sick to my stomach the last 10 seconds or so. The intensity was there from the start and never let up,’ Kenneally said. “This was a game we had to win, it was kind of everything for us.’

Kenneally delivered what proved to be the winning goal with less than six minutes to go in regulation and Radnor held on for a 10-9 victory.

Due to inclement weather, Tuesday’s contest was the 2015 debut for the Raiders and Jaguars. Both squads offered an exciting first look into what figures to be another amazing season for Delco’s top lacrosse programs. For Radnor, what better way to kick-start a season than by defeating the best in the state?

“We were prepared for a fight,’ senior midfield-attack Reilly Masterson said. “We knew Garnet was a really good team and we were just excited to play an amazing team in one of our first games. I think, when they started scoring early on us, it kind of woke us up a little bit. We wanted it more than anything.’

Indeed, Radnor was tasked with overcoming a sluggish start. Garnet Valley’s defense stymied the Raiders as the Jaguars also showcased their tremendous balance on attack. The visitors scored the first five goals of regulation and five players netted at least one goal in the first 25 minutes of action.

Hannah Proctor, Masterson and Kenneally scored three of the final four goals in the opening half to keep Radnor within striking distance.

“It was more discouraging than anything else,’ Kenneally said. “Luckily our teammates are all so supportive of each other, which we were able to bring out of each other. We knew we weren’t out of the game at that point.’

The Raiders took control after halftime, dominating draw controls and time of possession. After freshman Camryn Faith registered her second tally to extend GV’s advantage to 7-3, Radnor scored the next six goals. Emily Games had a pair in the span of 32 seconds, Hope Smith fired in the equalizer and Kenneally gave Radnor its first lead 10 minutes after halftime.

The Jags, though, found a second wind.

Kara Nakrasius jumped in the air to intercept an errant pass from Radnor goalie Maddie Lally (four saves) and then saucered a perfect pass to Madi O’Brien, who fired a strike into the net to cut GV’s deficit to one. Moments later, Madison Valerio evened things up for the Jags with her first goal of the game.

Kenneally’s time to shine was up next.

“One good play turns the entire game around for us,’ she said.

Radnor survived a last-ditch effort by Garnet Valley in the last minute. Valerio was whistled for a dangerous shot, a questionable call that ultimately snuffed out GV’s rally in the final seconds as the Raiders escaped with a hard-earned victory.

Proctor had a hat trick for the Raiders. Faith, O’Brien and Kamryn McNeal each scored twice for the Jags.

“I think when we look back on this, it will show us how hard we hustled and how hard we worked to get this win,’ said Masterson, a Penn State recruit. “It’s a game we can use as motivation.’

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