All-Delco: Keating aims to keep spotlight on Agnes Irwin

RADNOR — There’s a YouTube video that encapsulates the immense talent of Agnes Irwin junior attacker Hannah Keating in one 60-second clip.

Keating was in the middle of an early-season game. She’s filmed sprinting down field with the ball in her stick. Once she enters the 8-meter arc and approaches the net, she stops on a dime, twists around and fires a behind-the-back laser past the opposing goalie.

It’s an amazing highlight.

Months later, Keating laughed about the fancy goal, one of 104 during her spectacular junior season.

“It was in the moment and I didn’t really plan on doing it, but all last year my brother (and former Haverford School standout) Connor and I would go out and shoot pretty much every day. We kind of worked on that shot together,’ Keating said. “I noticed that I had run past the goal a little at first. So I tried shooting behind the back and it went in.’

She made it look so, so easy.

Keating delivered many awesome moments in 2015. She led Agnes Irwin (23-1) to the most wins in program history and its first outright Inter-Ac League championship since 1994. Powered by Keating’s six goals and three assists, the Owls capped a brilliant year by routing Episcopal Academy, 14-4, to claim their first Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association title.

For her efforts, Keating is the 2015 Daily Times Girls Lacrosse Player of the Year. Keating also earned the newspaper’s top honor in soccer last fall, which makes her the first two-sport Daily Times Player of the Year in the same school year since Radnor’s Kelyn Freedman (cross country and lacrosse) in 2010.

Joining Keating on the All-Delco lacrosse team, which is selected after consultation with area coaches, are Agnes Irwin teammates Hailey Andress, Kristin Burnetta, Laura Pansini, Sarah Platt and Kate White; Radnor’s Katy Junior, Nicole Massimino, Reilly Masterson and Hannah Proctor; Archbishop Carroll’s Avery Murphy; Episcopal Academy’s Jane Crager; Garnet Valley’s Emily Mathewson; and Springfield’s Emily Santana.

Keating received competition for Player of the Year from Mathewson, who guided Garnet Valley to its fourth PIAA championship in five seasons, and its second in as many years. Keating, Mathewson, Murphy and Santana are two-time All-Delco selections.

Keating was on another planet. She finished the year with 291 career goals, and it’s conceivable she will hit the 400 mark before she graduates next spring.

“Hannah has the quickest shot release I have ever seen,’ Agnes Irwin coach Jen Duckenfield said. “Her dazzling behind-the-back goals frustrate goalies, and her shot fakes and placement demonstrate her incredible stick skills.’


At the outset of the season, the Owls were considered the favorite in the Inter-Ac along with Episcopal Academy. As the year progressed, though, Agnes Irwin garnered recognition for being not just the top program in Pennsylvania, but one of the best in the country. The Owls finished as the No.1-ranked team in the state, according to, as well as’s best team in the tri-state area.

“We anticipated (the success) a little more because we had a whole new year to grow together as a team,’ Keating said. “We knew this year that we wouldn’t be the underdogs anymore. We just had to come out and play the best we could. It was really exciting how everything turned out, but I wouldn’t say it was surprising.’

Following a 7-6 overtime setback to Episcopal Academy April 7, the Owls ended the year on a remarkable 16-game winning streak. Keating and the Owls avenged the loss to Episcopal in the teams’ second regular-season meeting. The first outcome could be described as a blessing in disguise.

“Without that loss, I don’t think we’d come out as hard and as focused the way we did for the rest of the season,’ Keating said.

On the eve of the PAISAA final, the Owls got a visit from legendary Haverford School coach, John Nostrant.

“Nostrant came out to talk to us, to talk about the rivalry (with EA),’ she said. “I think that can be our problem sometimes. We think, ‘ Oh my gosh, it’s EA.’ If we just don’t think too much about, and focus on what we have to do to win the game, then we would be OK. That was kind of the message.’

During the year, the Owls defeated Conestoga and Garnet Valley, which repeated as PIAA champions. The Owls, of course, are a non-PIAA school and don’t have the opportunity to win what is considered the real state title in Pennsylvania.

“We got to play these teams this year,’ Keating said. “We beat ‘ Stoga and we beat Garnet Valley. But it’s a little annoying not to be considered the actual state champions.’

It’s scary to think Keating has a year to go at Agnes Irwin. That spells doom for her soccer and lacrosse opponents. It’s worth noting Keating was never tempted to give up soccer to focus entirely on her lacrosse career, considering she’ll play the sport at Harvard in 2017.

But before she worries about college, Keating will hone her game this summer with Phantastix Lacrosse Club, while looking ahead to the 2016 season.

“I’ve got to work on my draw a lot this summer,’ she said. “I come out everyday and work on my shot placement. I work a lot on defense, running and doing sprints and getting strong physically.’

It’s hard to fathom, but the Owls project to be an even better squad next year. Keating can’t wait.

“We lost only one senior and just about everyone is coming back,’ Keating said. “I think we’ll only keep improving, honestly.’

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