West Grove – Five minutes into Saturday’s PIAA Girls Lacrosse Championships quarterfinal against Kennard Dale, Conestoga began a 14-1 run and never looked back, earning a 17-6 victory at Avon Grove High School.
Conestoga head coach Amy Orcutt said, “We came out strong, and our transition looked good. We dominated on the draw control, with Liz Scott. [Goalie] Jules Horning (nine saves, two caused turnovers) had a strong game. And [senior attack] Monica Borzillo (four goals, four assists, three caused turnovers) now has 93 assists for the season, which is just a fantastic total.”
Horning, who will be playing for Marquette next spring, said, “Our defense played great today, and kept coming up with big stops. We were quick off the line, and we did a good job re-defending and on the ride. This was definitely one of our best games of the season – everybody was on the same page.”
With the win, the Pioneers advance to the state semifinal June 7 against the Mount Lebanon, the No. 1 seed in District 7. Mount Lebanon defeated Chartiers Valley, the second seed in District 7, 13-8, in the quarterfinals Saturday.
Kennard Dale head coach Kelly Wetzel said, “You can’t make mistakes against a team as good as Conestoga, they’re fast everywhere across the field. They’re athletic across the board, they have great team defense, they play well in transition. We’re not used to that kind of competition every week – welcome to the Central League.”
The Rams, the top seed in District 3, got out to an early 2-1 lead when junior attack Emmie Dressel and junior midfielder Gillian Zimmerman each scored unassisted goals.
Orcutt said, “We had a couple of defensive breakdowns early, we were trying [something new] defensively, and wanted to see how it would work against Kennard Dale.”
Slowly but surely, Conestoga began taking command, scoring five straight goals in the next eight minutes, with senior midfielder Sondra Dickey, senior attack Paige Loose, Borzillo, senior attack Maggie Gladden and senior midfielder Rilee Scott firing in goals, the last two assisted by Dickey and Borzillo, respectively.
Kennard Dale momentarily stopped the streaking Pioneers when senior attack Hannah Bracey scored, assisted by Zimmerman, with 11:07 left in the first half.
Conestoga then fired off nine straight goals, five before halftime, as Scott, Loose, Borzillo, senior attack Hannah Ashton and Gladden scored before the break. Just after halftime, Dickey, Borzillo, Riley Scott and Liz Scott tallied to give the Pioneers a 15-3 lead with 15:40 to play, and the clock continuously running.
Nine of the Pioneers’ 17 goals were assisted, and Orcutt had pointed out earlier in the season that about half of Conestoga’s goals this season have been assisted. Borzillo finished Saturday’s game with four assists, and Dickey with three.
Horning noted, “We were communicating all over the field today. We were really playing well together.”
Late in the game, Kennard (23-2) came back with goals from Dressel (her second), sophomore attack Maddie Day and sophomore midfielder Morgan Bowings. Sophomore goalie Clare Boone made some nice saves, finishing with 10.
Wetzel said, “I think our entire team worked hard today, kept trying to get the ball. But you just can’t make mistakes against a team like Conestoga.”
For Conestoga, Borzillo had four goals, while Liz Scott, Rilee Scott, Dickey, Gladden, Loose and sophomore attack Amelia Kienzle each scored two.
Orcutt noted, “We had 29 fouls today, which is something for us to improve upon.”
Conestoga (19-1) needs two more wins to capture its first-ever PIAA Girls Lacrosse Championship.
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