Aston – Conestoga senior midfielder Sondra Dickey scored eight goals as the Pioneers defeated host Archbishop Carroll, 15-9, Wednesday afternoon at Neumann University in the first round of the PIAA Girls’ Lacrosse Championships.
Five of Dickey’s goals were assisted by senior attack Monica Borzillo, who earlier this season dished out her 100th career assist, a school record.
Dickey said, “Monica and I have played together for so long. I trust Monica and I know she’s going to give me a good pass.”
Last month, Conestoga head coach Amy Orcutt said, “Sondra has been great for us on both ends of the field. She is tall and fast and has a great nose for the cage. And Monica makes things happen on the field, and has been a key force on the offensive end.”
Archbishop Carroll head coach Lorraine Beers, who has coached Dickey and Borzillo (and about 70 percent of the Conestoga team) during their time with the Phantastix, said, “We couldn’t stop Sondra today – she’s awesome.”
With the victory, Conestoga, the fifth seed in District One, will face Kennard Dale, the No. 1 seed in District 3, Saturday in the state quarterfinals. Kennard Dale came from behind to defeat Pine-Richland, the third seed in District 7, by a 12-9 score Wednesday in their first-round matchup.
Carroll got off to a fast start Wednesday, and led 4-2 midway through the first half. The Pioneers’ defense then rose up and shut down the hosts for the rest of the half, allowing only one goal and building an 8-5 lead by halftime.
Conestoga senior goalie Jules Horning had a strong game (eight saves), and received help from several of her teammates.
“Our keeper made some great saves, and (sophomore midfielder) Ceara Sweeney did a fine job today,” said Orcutt. “She’s a very smart defender, and we’ve been putting her on the other teams’ attackers all season long. And I had to move [senior midfielder] Rilee Scott to defense today because of an injury to [sophomore defender] Emma McGillis, and she did a fine job.”
The Pioneers increased their lead to 10-5 midway through the second half when the Borzillo-to-Dickey combination worked for the third time.
But Carroll wouldn’t quit, and cut the visitors’ lead to 10-7 with 9:42 left on a goal by sophomore midfielder Katie Detwiler (who had two goals and two assists Wednesday) and a tally from the sister combination of sophomore Rachel Matey to senior attack Meghan Matey.
Borzillo said, “Carroll kept coming they kept scoring. Carroll really came to play and we really respect [Coach Beers].”
Carroll junior midfielder Anna Murphy scored two first-half goals Wednesday, and sophomore attack Grace Gallagher chipped in with one goal and one assist for the youthful Patriots.
Once Carroll cut the Pioneers’ lead to 10-7 with 9:42 left, Conestoga’s defense shut down the Patriots for the next eight minutes while scoring four goals during that stretch to ice the game. Senior attack Paige Loose scored three goals for Conestoga, as did Borzillo.
Orcutt said, “We really capitalized on the draw control in the second half. Liz Scott [led the way for us in the draw]. Our last game against Carroll (an 8-7 Conestoga win in early May), we really struggled in transition against them, and we did much better [today].”
Dickey said, “Our first game against Carroll [this season], we had the weekend off just before the game. This time, we worked really hard the past two days [before the game].”
Although the Patriots season has ended, Beers believes the future is bright for the Carroll squad, which won its 16th consecutive Catholic League title earlier this season.
“We have a young team – we lose only one senior starter [to graduation this spring],” said Beers. “This team has come a long way this season – we struggled [somewhat] early in the season, but then we gelled and grew. Our coaches, Jess Lake, Pete Hewitt and myself, worked every day with these guys – they’re young and spongy. We [coaches] were excited to see their progress [during the season]…. [But] we made too many mistakes today.”