Twin Valley High punched its first ticket to the PIAA Class 2A state championship game in program history with a 13-9 win over Strath Haven Tuesday.
Emma Raines scored seven goals and goalie Paige Borkowksi registered seven saves to send the District 3 champion Raiders to a place no other Berks County school has gone.
“The furthest we ever got was last year in the state semifinals,” coach Courtney Kaplan said. “Nobody in Berks County ever got that far. So, we’re all in uncharted territory. We lost to Carroll last year so it will be good to play them again. We’re in the finals. We’ve got nothing to lose.”
The Raiders oppose the Patriots in the 2A title game at 10 a.m. Saturday at West Chester East High School. The Patriots defeated Bishop Shanahan, 8-4, in the other semifinal Tuesday.
While the Patriots, who played in the early afternoon, awaited their semifinal opponent Tuesday, they were anticipating a rematch of the penalty marred state final last year in which they defeated Strath Haven.
The Raiders changed the narrative with an effort that Kaplan, who has multiple Berks County coaching accolades, always will remember. They led from start to finish to turn the volume up on the 50-minute bus ride home from Methacton High School.
“We actually were able to run our offense,” Kaplan said. “They gave us room to operate. Emma Raines went to town. The draws were close. We did have an edge. And we had some defensive stops. Our goalie played amazing. Paige Borkowski had seven saves. And overall, I just feel like everybody did their job. Our defense shut down players and our transition worked well. Our girls just did a really nice job. They played a complete game.”
The Panthers can take solace in rallying to reach the state semifinals with a late surge for the second straight year.
Julia Steere scored three goals and collected one assist and two ground balls to lead the Panthers.
Annie Dignazio and Laura Conner scored two goals each. Dignazio also won four draws and collected five ground balls, Conner four draws, and two caused turnovers.
Kaitlin Nieczpiel chipped in one goal, one assist, three draw controls and three caused turnovers while Dylan Cohen had the remaining goal.
Goalie Ava Yancey recorded 12 saves and picked up two ground balls. Ali Broome (draw control), Mack Murray and Megan Nichols collected one ground ball apiece for the Panthers.
After Shanahan’s semifinal loss to Carroll, Eagles All-American defender Paris Masaracchia was asked if she expected the Patriots to defend their championship. After all, the Eagles defeated Strath Haven and scrimmaged Twin Valley.
“That’s the best team we faced, definitely,” Masaracchia said of Carroll. “Who wins? Honestly, I don’t know. It’s going to be a fun game to watch.”