Berwyn – Preparing for the second round of the PIAA District One girls’ lacrosse playoffs, undefeated Conestoga was concerned about Thursday’s opponent, Haverford.
Earlier in the season, the Fords had scored more goals against Conestoga than any other Pioneer opponent in a 17-13 loss.
“I was [secretly] dreading playing Haverford again,” said Conestoga girls’ lacrosse head coach Amy Orcutt. “They’ve got a lot of talented girls, and Nancy [McNichol] does a great job coaching them. It’s a hard game every time we play Haverford.”
While Haverford hung tough throughout the game Thursday evening, Conestoga slowly built its lead and prevailed for a 16-10 victory at Teamer Field.
Senior attack Maggie Gladden led all scorers with a career-high four goals. She scored an unassisted goal with 15:47 left in the first half to put Conestoga ahead for good, 3-2, and tallied two of the Pioneers’ four goal-run midway through the first half that gave the hosts a 6-2 lead – Haverford never got closer than three goals after that.
“Maggie was outstanding tonight,” said Orcutt. “She also caused a couple of [Haverford] turnovers, and a got a few ground balls. It was her best game of the season.”
The Conestoga coach added, “The draw [control] was huge for us tonight.”
Conestoga junior midfielder Liz Scott (nine draw controls), senior midfielder Sondra Dickey (four DCs) and senior attack Hannah Ashton (four DCs) combined to give the Pioneers a solid advantage.
Ashton, Scott, Dickey and senior attack Monica Borzillo combined for 11 goals. Borzillo dished out four assists, Scott two.
Orcutt praised senior goalie Jules Horning: “She came up with big saves at key points of the game.”
For Haverford, Thursday’s loss marked the end of a fine campaign for a veteran Ford squad that featured 15 seniors.
One of the Fords’ key seniors is Old Dominion University-bound Hanna Breslin, who scored two goals, dished out two assists, and contributed her typical fine all-around play Thursday. After Conestoga went ahead 2-0, Breslin scored on a penalty shot, then assisted on a goal by junior Laura Winters that tied the score at 2-2 with 16:30 left in the first half.
“Hanna does it all,” said Haverford head coach Nancy McGoldrick of her co-captain. “She’s a good leader in the midfield. Her play at center taking the draw and running the whole field has helped us tremendously.”
Haverford senior co-captains Jess Melon and Tess Horan each tallied two goals Thursday evening.
“I’m going to miss these  seniors,” said McGoldrick. “Our co-captains, Hanna, Jess, Tess and Celine Bibonne, have been great leaders this season. Our players really got along well on and off the field this season, they were really good teammates and they liked each other.”
Winters led all Fords scorers with three goals and three assists.
“Our attack has played together for 3-4 years,” said McGoldrick. “Hanna, Tess, Jess, [junior] Lydia [Hetznecker], Laura, [junior] Clare Janzer – they’re our core people [the past few years]. And [senior] Rhiannon Connell (who had 13 saves Thursday) really stepped up nicely for us at goalie [this season].”