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Conestoga thwarts game Rustin to reach quarterfinals

BERWYN >> “No not at all.”
So said Conestoga girls lacrosse coach Amy Orcutt after the game when asked if West Chester Rustin was your typical number 17 seed. Battle tested in the crucible of the Ches-Mont League, the Golden Knights fought back from an early deficit to make things a slight bit worrisome for the Pioneers and their fate.
But, the task of staying with the top seed proved too much for Rustin as they were overwhelmed in the second half. Conestoga posted a 20-8 victory in the second round of the District 1 3A playoffs Thursday at Teamer Field.
The Pioneers improved to 17-1 and waltzed into the quarterfinals Saturday morning, where they will host No. 8 Downingtown East, another team from the Ches-Mont League.
“Rustin played an outstanding game,” added Orcutt. “I thought they came ready to play in the first half. Defensively, I felt like we were letting some mistakes take over. Our attack was doing their job, then in the second half, it all came together.”
Kiki Liebezeit got things going for ‘Stoga, scoring from distance after the opening minute. Three more goals followed in short order one from Elle Wisch, the first of her six on the evening, and two from Kate Galica, to open up a 4-0 advantage with 18:09 left.
“I think I played well today because we were all pumped up and my teammates found me in good positions,” said Wisch.
Elizabeth McGurk scored consecutive goals to cut Conestoga’s lead to 4-2. But, Conestoga scored the next three goals to build a 7-2 lead with 10:05 left.
McGurk was at it again, scoring twice in a row and the Golden Knights trailed, 7-4.
“McGurk is s a great kid,” said Rustin coach Sarah Kropp. “She can either be your top scorer or your top assister or she can be a role player and dominate on the draws. That’s all we ask of her and she does a great job of being the person we need that day. Today, we needed her to score goals, and she did that.”
Later in the half, Skylar Baur notched her second goal despite being knocked down in front of the net to trim the Conestoga margin to 9-6.
“I feel like we’ve been in that situation before and the girls have enough confidence in themselves to know how to handle situations like that,” said Orcutt.
The Pioneers rebounded by netting the final three goals of the half to find a little breathing room, leading 12-6 at half.
They came out of the break with everything coming together. They scored the first six goals of the half and held Rustin off the scoreboard for the first 19 minutes of the second half. By the time McGurk broke the scoring drought, the Golden Knights were trailing 18-7 and a berth in the quarterfinals were waiting for Conestoga.
“We’re excited,” said Orcutt. “Every game is a big game, so one step at a time. We’re excited for the opportunity to continue to play.”
Wisch scored most of her six goals cutting across the middle and found herself open across the face of goal.
“It worked because when Kate (Galica) was getting face-guarded, we went off of her shoulder because her defender didn’t slide, so that was always open.”
The Golden Knights closed their season at 11-8.
“We gave them a good run for their money. I’m proud of our effort, but they’re just a great team,” said Kropp. “Overall, I’m proud of what we accomplished this season and I wouldn’t trade this team for anything. The best thing about this team is their heart.”
Conestoga 20, WC Rustin 8
WC Rustin 6 2 – 8
Conestoga 12 8 – 20
WC Rustin goals: McGurk 5, Baur 2, McClain.
Conestoga goals: Wisch 6, Galica 4, Brown 3, Hewitt 2, Liebezeit 2, Kienzle, Rios, Preston.
Goalie saves: Panetta (WCR) 7; Lepore (C) 4.

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