Wonderful surprise for DiCarlo in Radnor’s win

RADNOR — It wasn’t until Radnor concluded a lopsided win Tuesday that Tori DiCarlo became aware she had reached a cool achievement.

The Naval Academy recruit and senior midfielder scored her 100th career goal late in the first half of No. 2 Radnor’s 17-2 trouncing of 15th-seeded Springfield in the second round of the District 1 Class 3A girls lacrosse tournament.

“I had no idea,” DiCarlo said. “It was a surprise, but it’s great to celebrate with my teammates. I just focused on the game and focused on winning.”

Radnor had no problem in that area. The team was in control from the opening whistle, scoring the game’s first 12 goals. The outcome was never in doubt. Before the first half was completed, Radnor had triggered the running clock and enjoyed a 10-0 advantage at intermission.

DiCarlo put forth a strong game with two goals, four assists and six draw controls.

“She’s really stepped up this year,” said Radnor coach Kristin Addis, who is in her second year in charge of the program. “She’s been playing some midfield this year and has really improved her all-around game. She really is a great kid and has it all going on. She’s been a sponge with us in terms of learning different defenses and our offensive sets. She’s just a really coachable kid.”

DiCarlo had plenty of help Thursday. Sheila Esgro and Cierra Hopson each posted a hat trick, while Julie Breedveld added two goals.

Radnor will host No. 7 Downingtown West in the quarterfinal round Saturday. D-West was a 17-4 winner over No. 23 Plymouth Whitemarsh.

“We just want to dominate every play and we’re just taking it one by one,” Hopson said. “We’re going to go hard the whole game, from beginning to end.”

Radnor’s Sheila Esgro (1) and Julie Breedveld celebrate Esgro’s goal in the first half of Radnor’s 17-2 win over Springfield. (Pete Bannan/Medianews Group)

Addis (nee Hopson) is a 2003 Radnor graduate and All-Delco returned to her alma mater prior to the 2020 season, which was canceled due to the pandemic. She is the aunt of Cierra Hopson. Her father, George Hopson, was the former football coach at Radnor High. After finishing her playing career at Notre Dame, Addis made coaching stops at James Madison and the University of Delaware.

With 13 seniors, nine of whom are going off to play lacrosse at the Division I level, it’s no wonder Radnor (16-1) has been so good all year. The team’s lone setback came against Conestoga, which is the Central League champion and No. 1 seed in the District 1 3A tournament.

“As a coach, I’ll say that I think we always have room to grow, but we’re trending in the right direction,” Addis said. “I think it was challenging this year just because I was a new coach last year. We got a couple of weeks together last season, but building into my mentality and buying into all of the different cultural things, that was something that was new for a lot of the kids. But I also knew I have 13 seniors and they’re hungry. They want to learn and they want to be great in terms of their leadership, both as students and as athletes, so I was fortunate in many ways to have them. They’re a great class of seniors.”

The lost season made Radnor a stronger team in the long run. The players, especially that excellent senior class, never rested on their laurels. They bought into Addis’ approach and bought into her motto for the word win: What’s Important Now.

“Honestly, everyone was just so excited to be back playing this year that it really made for good enthusiasm and everyone was ready to play,” DiCarlo said. “Of course we were a little rustier than we would’ve been, and the experience at first was lacking, but that just made us want to have an improved season even more than the get-go.”

“And we all worked so hard in the offseason to best prepare, especially more this year knowing that we haven’t played a game with this exact roster, ever,” Radnor defense Ellie Rinehart said. “We knew our whole varsity lineup was new since we graduated a lot of seniors last year, so we knew how much more important it was to prepare in the offseason.”

Radnor has allowed five or fewer goals in all but three of its games this year. When Springfield was able to set up on offense, Radnor starters Rinehart, Tellian Schwarz and Katie DeShan and Avery Ciatto put the clamps down on defense. Goalies Abby Jansen (five saves) and Elise Palmer (two saves) each played a half in net.

Springfield’s Mia Valerio finds Radnor’s net well protected by defender Katie Deshan and goalie Elise Palmer in the second half of Radnor’s 17-2 victory. (Pete Bannan/Medianews Group)

“We really try and work hard as a unit and know that it’s not one person’s play, it’s all of us together,” Rinehart said. “Every time someone goes for a play, we’re all going to have their back, which really instills confidence in every single player on the field.”

Springfield, which won a state title in 2019, went through a rebuilding season in 2021. The youthful roster included 14 freshmen and sophomores, many of whom were starters. Only two of the four seniors on the team started regularly. Goalie Rachel Conran, a senior, made four saves Thursday. Senior Makayla Cox manned the defense. Springfield’s two goals were scored by junior Gabby Rizzio and sophomore Mia Valerio, both off free position shots.

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