WEST GOSHEN — Springfield came up three wins short of a second straight District One girls lacrosse championship Saturday afternoon at West Chester East High School.
The ninth-seeded Cougars were eliminated by No. 1 Conestoga in the quarterfinal round. Led by junior Sondra Dickey’s six-goal performance, the Pioneers defeated the Cougars, 17-7.
Conestoga moves to Tuesday night’s semifinal round at Haverford High to play No. 4 Great Valley, which downed No. 12 Souderton, 15-7. Springfield still has a shot at states, but will need to take care of Souderton Tuesday night in the first playback round. The top five teams out of District One qualify for the PIAA Tournament.
As for Pioneers, they continue to show teams who’s boss.
“I think it was really important to show them what we got, because we have a lot of talent on our team and obviously we want to go as far as we can,’ Dickey said. “It’s important to give it all we got in every game, and this one was no different. I think you were able to tell that we came ready.’
No questions asked.
The Pioneers, who have won 20 straight games following a season-opening loss to Agnes Irwin, made life tough on the Cougars, who struggled to get anything going offensively until the later stage of the first half. The game wasn’t 15 minutes old when Dickey, a junior, had already recorded a hat trick, while senior Maggie Stetson and sophomore Scottie Growney had two goals apiece. ‘Stoga scored the first seven goals and its supersized lead was never in doubt.
“Mainly, it was about spreading out on offense (and) making sure we play our own game,’ Dickey said. “We kind of got caught up in driving singularly and we got a couple dropped balls and forces. Mostly, it was making sure we played team-oriented offense, making sure we executed our passes, and obviously (Springfield’s) D is really strong, so we had to focus a lot on them.’
All-Delco Emily Santana, who was hounded most of the day by Maddie Little (two goals, three caused turnovers) and the ‘Stoga defense, finally got the Cougars on the scoreboard with 12:13 to go before halftime. That created a brief momentum shift in Springfield’s favor. Impressive sophomore attack Bailey O’Brien sprinted from about 60 yards out and sent a laser past Conestoga first-half goalie Laney Stenson (four saves) for Springfield’s second goal. With two minutes to go before the break, Caitlyn Clark scored to cut the Cougars’ deficit to 7-3.
Whatever good vibes the Cougars had gained quickly dissipated as Dickey and Stetson went back to work, netting a back-to-back goals in the final minute. O’Brien and Santana scored two goals each in the second half, but the Pioneers were too far in front for it to make a difference.
Conestoga defeated Springfield, 18-6, earlier this month, but the Pioneers didn’t put much stock in the recent past.
“Every game is new. It doesn’t matter if we beat them by 10 goals last time, playoffs are so different, you know?’ Dickey said. “All that matters is what happens in the playoffs. We treat every team like we’re playing them for the first time and we give it all we got.’
And this stage, it’s clear the Pioneers are the team to beat in the district playoffs. Who’s going to stop them?
“‘We just have to keep doing what we’re doing,’ Dickey said. “As a team, we’re playing with a lot of confidence.’