LOWER GWYNEDD >> Merion Mercy scored two goals over a 6:56 stretch in the second half to break a two-all tie and held off Gwynedd Mercy for a 4-3 win in the District 1-2A quarterfinals Thursday afternoon at Gwynedd Mercy Academy.
“I think we played hard but not hard enough to beat Merion, who was fired up,” Gwynedd coach Alex McMahan said. “We didn’t capitalize when and where it counted.”
Grace Lopresti scored to give Merion a 3-2 lead and Tori Natale added an insurance goal after dribbling through a few Monarch defenders.
Merion, the No. 5 seed, advances to the semifinals, where it will face No. 9 Villa Maria Tuesday.
No. 4 Gwynedd Mercy heads to the playback bracket to try to earn the fifth and final District 1 spot in the state tournament. The Monarchs will face No. 1 Radnor Tuesday.
Rake made 10 saves in the game, including eight in the first half to allow Merion to head to halftime with a 2-1 lead.
“I was just playing for my team,” she said, “and playing for my coach. I knew it was going to be a great opportunity to be able to beat this team and then get to states because I know our team can go really far.”
“Sporadically throughout the season we’ve had a lot of success (finishing in the circle),” McMahan said. “We just could not get around their goalie. Their goalie was phenomenal today.”
GMA got the scoring started quickly. Alaina McVelan scored 2:10 into the game.
Merion answered five minutes later. Lopresti knocked in a rebound to tie the game at one and, nine minutes later, Kelly O’Connor scored on a corner to make it 2-1.
Gwynedd’s Alden Boccella found the back of the cage on a corner early in the second half to tie the game, but Merion got the next two to take full control.
McVelan scored her second goal of the game on a corner with 8:33 to play to get the Monarchs within one, but that’s as close as they’d get.
The hosts had the ball in Merion’s circle in the final minutes, but couldn’t get the ball past Rake.
“It was really nerve-wracking,” Rake said, “but I knew I could rely on my defense a lot and I was really just, in my mind like, ‘I know I can’t let anything in and I know my defense is working with me.’”