NEWTOWN SQUARE >> Emily Mathewson and Jaguar head coach Jenny Purvis first arrived at Garnet Valley High School together four seasons ago.
Mathewson, then a freshman looking to leave her mark and Purvis, preparing for her first year as varsity head coach, have come a long way since.
And if things continue to go the Jaguars’ way, Mathewson could graduate Garnet Valley a three-time defending state champion.
The senior midfielder was masterful Saturday, notching a game-high seven goals — including the 300th of her career — in Garnet Valley’s 15-6 win over Owen J. Roberts in the PIAA quarterfinal round at Marple Newtown’s Crozer-Keystone Stadium.
“Coming into this game, my goal was for us to win and advance to the next round,” said Mathewson, a Vanderbilt commit. “Then, as the goals started
trickling in, I thought ‘Oh, I could get this today.’ It was really special. To be able to score my 300th goal in a state playoff game…it’s hard to put into words.
“The most important thing for us, though, was getting to semis. Everything else that happened was a bonus.”
Staring down OJR keeper Claire Hampton at 299 career goals, Mathewson waited for the whistle, saw her chance and flicked it into the net for No. 300 to make it 14-4 with just under 10 minutes left in regulation. Within seconds, the she was surrounded by her teammates on the field during the ensuing timeout.
As she toed the line, she kept a shooter’s approach in the back of her mind.
“Halfway through the season, Coach Purvis told me to take an approach like Steph Curry,” she said. “Every time he shoots, he knows it’s going in. So that was my mentality. When I was on the line, all I was thinking was ‘We got this, Em.’”
For Purvis and her coaching staff, that moment served as a tribute to the work their four-year starter has put in over her career.
“I felt like a freshman when I was in my first year coaching here,” said Purvis with a laugh. “I feel like I’ll always have a bond with Emily and the rest of my seniors because we started this together. They’re all incredibly special to me.”
Sophomore Kamryn McNeal notched three goals and an assist while junior Madi O’Brien scored twice. Camryn Faith, Michelle Koscinski and Regan Nealon each added solo scores. Junior Lauren Kinne made six saves in goal.
With a 7-3 advantage two minutes into the second half, Garnet Valley rattled off six-unanswered goals in a matter of 4:35. The Jaguars also dominated the midfield, securing 18 out of the game’s 23 draws.
“They are what they are,” said Owen J. Roberts head coach Joe Tornetta of Garnet Valley. “I don’t think we competed all that well today. Maybe we focused on the wrong things coming in — it’s not so much the X’s and O’s, the preparation as much as it is wanting to come out here and be competitive.
“That’s on me, not them.”
Though the game fell out of reach quickly into the second half, Joe Tornetta and the Wildcats still have plenty to hold their heads up about.
“They had a great year,” he added. “They did a great job getting here. The fact that we got here and did it under some adverse conditions and against some really tough teams says a lot about these kids. I don’t want this game to take away from everything they’ve accomplished this season.”
This season, Owen J. Roberts won its second consecutive PAC-10 title, and earned a place in the District 1 Championship game — where the Wildcats lost to Radnor.
Kerry Huzzard scored once and provided an assist on Maddie Gebert’s goal for OJR’s first score of the game. Anna Lavelle, Frankie Carroll, Danika Swech and Eloise Gebert each scored once while Soophia Murray posted an assist.
With the win, Garnet Valley will face Central League foe Radnor — 11-9 winner over Bishop Shanahan — in the PIAA semifinals on Tuesday.
“That’s gonna be a dog fight, no matter what,” said Purvis. “For the most part it comes down to the final minutes and who’s playing smarter at that point. We beat them in the regular season and they beat us at districts.
“So I think it’s safe to say that both teams are looking to settle the score.”
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