‘Scary’ Garnet Valley starts fast in win

CONCORD — Garnet Valley All-Delco lacrosse player Emily Mathewson said it first, then coach Jenny Purvis echoed the sentiment.

“Let’s be scary in May.’

That’s the motto of the 2015 Garnet Valley girls lacrosse program. When you’re the defending state champions, you can get away with saying those types of things. The Jaguars are showing they can be a completely different team in the postseason.

“Our regular season, we know it was going to be a rebuilding time,’ said Mathewson, referencing the Jaguars’ up-and-down year that resulted in a 10-8 record. “Also, the last time we played (Haverford), we only beat them by two. We wanted to prove that we could get after them more.’

Oh yeah, the Jaguars certainly proved that they can.

Fueled by Mathewson’s six goals and three assists, the seventh-seeded Jaguars jumped out to a huge lead in the first half and held on for a 19-14 decision over No. 10 Haverford in a District One tournament second-round game Thursday night.

Mathewson set the tone immediately. The Jags (12-8) won the draw control and raced into Haverford territory. Mathewson sent a laser past Fords goalie Rhianon Connel to give Garnet Valley a quick 1-0 edge. And the Jags continued to build momentum throughout the first half, outplaying the Fords in every facet.

“At the beginning of the year, we weren’t really playing together. Our thing has been PTWT — play together, win together,’ Mathewson said. “I’m just proud of everyone for the job they did tonight.’

In the first meeting with the Fords (15-8), the Jags struggled in spots, but were able to hang on. Thursday night, they were in control the whole way, despite a strong second-half performance by the Fords, who were in no mood to go down without a fight.

“We focused on getting it done. The weather was awful the last time we played them and we needed to not focus on the past,’ said junior Michelle Koscinski, who led a spectacular defensive effort alongside fellow junior Kylie Young. Koscinski also chipped in a goal. “We just wanted to come out and play our game, like we know how.

“Our defensive unit played amazing and our goalie (freshman Makenna Mink) played amazing. She’s played two great games for us.’

Mink was thrust into the starting lineup after Lauren Kinnee, who started most of the regular-season games for the Jags, was sidelined with a knee injury. Mink finished with six saves against Haverford, two days after playing well in a first-round win against North Penn.

“She’s my little cub, I have to protect her,’ Koscinski said with a smile.

And, yes, the Jags defense gave their rookie goalie plenty of support. Koscinski was tasked with limiting Haverford’s top attacker, Mairead Janzer. While Janzer did damage, scoring five goals, Koscinski and Co. held their own against one of the Central League’s best players. Janzer could’ve easily gone off for 10 goals, but the Garnet Valley defenders were too physical, too aggressive, too good.

“We were watching film from the first game in the beginning of the season, and we were wondering if maybe we should faceguard her this time,’ Mathewson said. “We thought if we could all stick together and help each other on our slides then she couldn’t get by two of us at least.’

Mathewson scored two goals unassisted late in the first half to give the Jaguars a 12-3 advantage. Haverford shot back with a late surge. Jess Mellon scored on a great pass from Laura Winters (three goals) as time expired in the opening half, cutting the Fords’ deficit to five.

In the second half, senior attacker Madison Valerio got things started for the Jaguars, scoring her first of two markers off an assist from senior Maddie Mansi. Garnet Valley also received big production from freshman midfielder Kamryn McNeal (three goals), sophomore attacker Madi O’Brien (three goals) and junior midfielder Kara Nakrasius (three goals, one assist).

Haverford began to climb back from 10 goals down, but it was a case of too little, too late. Winters scored the Fords’ final goal with 1:15 to go in regulation.

While Haverford’s season draws to a close, Garnet Valley will play No. 2 Radnor in a quarterfinal-round matchup Saturday afternoon at West Chester East. The Raiders defeated the Jaguars, 10-9, way back on March 24, the first day of the regular season.

“It’s definitely a new chapter, a new season,’ Koscinski said. “We can no longer worry about all the bad games we had, we just need to focus on the now.’


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