HAVERFORD — A case could be made that No. 3 Harriton won its District One girls lacrosse tournament semifinal over second-seeded Radnor in the first five minutes of regulation Tuesday night.
Sometimes, all it takes is a fast start, and Harriton set quite a tone from the opening draw.
They weren’t messing around.
The Rams scored five straight goals in the first 5:16 and were able to maintain a consistent attack the entire distance. The result was a 13-11 triumph over the Raiders, propelling the Rams into the District One final Thursday night at West Chester East. Meanwhile, Radnor will play a third-place game against top-seeded Conestoga, which was upset by No. 4 Great Valley earlier in the night at Haverford High.
“Every time we play them, it’s just like that. It’s always an intense game,’ said Harriton coach George Dick, a former Haverford College lacrosse standout. “We got out ahead a little bit, which is a little surprising because last time we struggled against them. They beat us 11-8. Today, they came out a little flat and we came out flying and we kind of held. We don’t have a lot of depth, so we kind of had to hold on.’
The key to the 5-0 bulge was Harriton’s ability to move the ball in open space, which led to a bevy of prime scoring chances. The Raiders were playing catch-up in the early stages and didn’t quite settle in until Emily Games got them on the board following a timeout.
“We have a lot of fast players and we say go. We’re not afraid to go 1-on-2 or 1-on-3,’ Dick said. “We told them before the game that they’re going to be coming double from behind, but if we move the ball quick we’re going to get open shots and we did. It was exactly what we talked about. So, they knew to move the ball and you saw when we were running our offense, we were getting wide-open shots.’
Radnor and Harriton have had some memorable battles in recent years. The teams squared off in the district semifinals in 2013, with the Rams dispatching the No. 1-seeded Raiders. Several weeks later, the teams tangled again in Hershey to determine the state champion, with Harriton winning in overtime fashion.
It’s safe to say Harriton has had Radnor’s number in postseason play.
One big reason for Harriton’s success this year is senior Jane Henderson, who is bound for Lehigh University along with her twin sister, Maura. Jane said the Rams entered Tuesday’s game with the belief that they could create offense off their defense, which forced 12 Radnor turnovers.
“Getting to that early lead really helps. When they scored their first goal… when they got it, I knew we still had a lead and we didn’t have to worry. They weren’t in the game, we were still comfortable with our lead, and I think it was because we got all those goals in the beginning.’
Jane Henderson had all three of Harriton’s goals in the second half and finished with five on the night. Games also netted five for the Raiders (19-2), who cut their deficit to two with 1;13 to play. Games registered back-to-back tallies to make it 13-11. Radnor threatened to score again, but another mistake led to Alex Ladda securing a ground ball that enabled Harriton to run out the clock.
Emma Arronson played with a bandaged shoulder, but the kid can fly with the ball in her stick. Senior Julia Marks also played well on defense, getting her stick involved to disrupt Radnor’s attack and picking up a key groundball with five minutes to go.
Freshman Devin McClain made a big difference in net for the Rams, stopping five shots.
“Our offense is really flowing, but our defense has been a great help,’ Henderson said. “Even when the other team is getting off their shots, they are making them slow things down, which is a huge help for us.’
Hannah Proctor and Fallon Quinn each had a pair of goals for Radnor and goalie Maddie Lally stopped five shots. Radnor still qualified for the state tournament and will get its second chance to beat Conestoga Thursday in the third-place contest. Prior to Tuesday’s losses Radnor had ripped off 15 straight victories, while ‘ Stoga had been winners of 20 in a row.