Radnor’s speed too much for Gwynedd Mercy in District 1-AA semifinals

LOWER GWYNEDD >> Gwynedd Mercy High’s lacrosse team found something out Tuesday that folks have known for years – speed kills.

Radnor had the speed, and it put an end to the Monarchs’ dreams of a district title as the Raiders run roughshod over their foes, 14-1, in a contest that moved Radnor to within a victory of a District One Class AA girls lacrosse championship.

The Raiders faces Bishop Shanahan, 10-9 upset winner over top-seeded Villa Maria, in the title match Thursday.

Julianne Puckette scored six goals and Nicole Massimino added three tallies as the Raiders blitzed out to a 9-0 halftime lead, and never looked back.

“They were too fast for us,” lamented Monarchs head coach Deb Lawlor as her team wiped the tire tracks off its uniforms. “They pressured us constantly, and because of the pressure we couldn’t recognize that our ball carriers needed help.

“We were panicky, and it threw off the rhythm of our game.”

Radnor’s Julianne Puckette looks to pass as Gwynedd Mercy Academy’s Carrie Johnston defends during their District 1-AA semifinal on Tuesday, May 23, 2017. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

Radnor wasted little time. The Raiders got two goals from Puckette and another from Hope Smith and led 3-0 before the contest was four minutes old.

“That’s what we want to do,” said Raiders head coach Brooke Fritz. “We love the transition game and that makes us look faster than we really are because we’re passing the ball instead of outrunning someone.”

The Monarchs never got into an offensive flow of its own, and Raiders netminder Alexa Solomon had virtually a game off. By game’s end, she had faced only six Gwynedd shots, stopping two.

Meanwhile, Puckette and Co. sped up and down the field like restaurant owners chasing mice.

“Transition is a big part of our game,” Puckette said. “That’s something we work on all the time.

“The important thing is trusting each other, and then our speed just takes over.”

By the break the Raiders had a 9-0 bulge and the Monarchs were looking for a place to hide.

“Their speed was too much for us,” Lawlor lamented. “That was an extremely high-pressure attack and it was too much for us.”

Gwynedd Mercy Academy’s goalie Gabby Tanner battles Radnor’s Cate Cox for possession of the ball during their District 1-AA semifinal on Tuesday, May 23, 2017. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

And while the Monarchs were impressed, Fritz was not.

“I wanted us to have more assists,” she said. “I wasn’t thrilled with our attack.

“But I did like our defense. They have a lot of offensive weapons, and we did a good job frustrating them.”

As for Thursday’s title game, Fritz, who didn’t know the final score of the other semifinal at the time, could only speculate.

“We played Bishop Shanahan last year,” the coach said. “We haven’t played Villa this year, but that’s tomorrow’s homework for me.”

Radnor 9 5 — 14
Gwynedd Mercy 0 1 — 1
Radnor Scoring: Julianne Puckette (6); Nicole Massimino (3); Hope Smith (2); Cate Cox (1); Grace Gallagher (1); Kate Hartnett (1).
Gwynedd Mercy Scoring: Kendall Seilert.
Saves: Gabby Tanner (GM) 7; Alexa Solomon (2).

Top Photo: Radnor’s Carleigh Goldstein moves the ball up field during the Raiders’ District 1-AA semifinal against Gwynedd Mercy Academy on Tuesday, May 23, 2017. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

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