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Radnor’s Kate Boujoukos gets second chance to play hero with OT goal

Radnor's Kate Boujoukos heads home the game-winning goal in double overtime to defeat Garnet Valley Tuesday afternoon. (PETE BANNAN - DAILY TIMES)

RADNOR — As Kate Boujoukos lined up at the top of the 18-yard box and the clock ticked under three minutes to go in the second overtime Tuesday afternoon, the Radnor senior spied an opportunity.

At a late, curling run into the box to try and meet Jane Daiutolo’s corner kick, yes. But also at a chance to nod the momentum of Radnor’s season in a different direction.

Boujoukos’ header in the 98th minute capped the Raptors clawing back from a two-goal deficit for a 3-2 victory over Garnet Valley. But such a win, for a team that started the season with six straight victories but have since stumbled along at under .500, could augur much more.

Boujoukos’ goal came on the second straight corner in overtime. After nearly getting on the end of the first Daiutolo delivery, she made no mistake on the second, powering a drive that goalie Garnet Valley Alexandria Marren got one hand to but couldn’t repel.

Radnor midfielder Emily Daiutolo, right, scored twice in Tuesday’s 3-2 win over Garnet Valley. (Pete Bannan/MediaNews Group)

“I knew it was the end of the game and these were the last chances we had,” Boujoukos said. “In practice, we work on them all the time and a lot of the times, Emily (Daiutolo) is shooting them or I’m shooting them and Jane’s putting in these perfect corners at the end of the game. And I just knew on the second one, I had to make the late run in because she was chipping them high. I just read it right at that moment.”

Poise was required by the Raptors as Garnet Valley (5-10, 3-6 Central) jumped on them early with two Maddie Smith goals in the game’s first 21 minutes. Smith is one of seven freshman starters for the Jaguars, though little about their aggressive style of play would betray that youth.

But Radnor (9-4, 6-2) steadily worked its way back into an exciting and well played affair. It didn’t hurt that it could rely on the right foot of Emily Daiutolo, who roused the sleeping Raptors with a 35-yard drive in the 26th minute that dipped and dived perfectly over Marren’s head.

“I think it just lit a spark underneath us, and everyone wanted to win at that point,” Boujoukos said. “I think the last couple of games, we’ve been having a hard time mentally. But at that point, everybody was invested and we put our heads down and we started to actually work.”

As if that wasn’t enough, Daiutolo loaded the cannon for another blast in the 55th, teeing off from a mirror image location. In a game where Radnor controlled the run of play, earned seven corner kicks to GV’s three and owned a wide edge in shots, it took a moment of Daiutolo’s class to break the ice.

“I think I try to push myself a little harder” when we’re down, Daiutolo said. “I know I should have that mindset throughout the entire game but I think when we are done, I try to put a little bit more of that on myself.”

The Jaguars showed early and often why the future is so bright, with seven freshmen starting. An eighth, midfield dynamo Ella Bryan, played the bulk of the minutes, getting stuck into tackles to wrest control of midfield away from the Boujoukos-and-Daiutolo triangle.

Garnet Valley’s Maddie Smith scored both of the Jaguars’ goals in a 3-2 loss to Radnor on Tuesday. (PETE BANNAN – DAILY TIMES)

Marren made seven saves in net, the best in the first half when she dove at full stretch to parry a Selah Koleth shot off the post after Koleth took down a long ball with her right, shook her marker and lashed a shot with her left foot. Marren also dove to her right to push aside an effort by Emily Daiutolo from 25 yards out and scrambled to cover the carom in a tense second half.

Fellow freshman Samantha Wood did tenacious work at right back. Lauren Ricevuto, not even on the varsity roster to start the season, commanded central defense. Sydney Strulson was a vital midfield conduit. All those rookies paired with Alyssa Wert, the speedy senior winger and escape valve, and the versatility of Mia Zebley to play anywhere from center forward to holding midfield.

“As a freshman, you kind of want to prove yourself,” Smith said. “So you do everything you can to score or help your team out and create offense for your team.”

Smith created plenty early on. The first strike came in the sixth minute, when midfielder Lana Ung chested down a long free kick. The second ball bounced in a trouble area until Smith found it, whipped around and lofted a volley over goalie Mallory Toomey all in one turning motion.

The second goal was her favorite for the team aspect. A sustained move wended the ball to Wert on the right wing, and as her cross filtered into the box, Smith reacted first to get to it a half-step ahead of the onrushing Toomey, poking a shot under the sliding goalie.

“We just went out being relentless to start out,” Smith said. “We kept pushing and we connected really good as a team, and that’s how we were able to get those goals.”

Garnet Valley’ goalie Alexandria Marren makes a save as Radnor’s Ivy Chaskelson looks for a rebound. (PETE BANNAN – DAILY TIMES)

Smith had the best chance of overtime, Strulson springing her down the left channel. But Toomey got down quickly and fought off the rising shot.

That allowed Boujoukos to play the hero late. And it allows a team that started the season with six straight one-goal wins to use another character victory to hopeful restart that momentum.

“I think it’s definitely going to carry on for our next couple of games and into playoffs,” Boujoukos said. “We really want it this year, and we have a group of really talented young ladies, so I think this is going to be the turn for our season.”

Also in the Central League:

Springfield 3, Strath Haven 0 >> Caroline Walters scored a goal and added an assist, and Emily Boyer made three saves for the shutout for the Cougars (11-3-1, 6-2-1). Molly Henry and Sara Bean also scored for Springfield.

Haverford 2, Marple Newtown 0 >> Nora Burns’ goal in the 26th minute was the game-winner for the Fords.

In the Inter-Ac League:

Episcopal Academy 3, Agnes Irwin 1 >> Ava Roberts scored twice in the second half to hand the Churchwomen a win over their rivals.

Bella Piselli had opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the first half. Kate Dente and Bridget Dempsey added assists. Aya Naimoli made five saves for the win.

Lily Fusco got the Owls on the board off a feed from Liz King with 19 minutes to play, but that’s as close as Irwin would get.

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