By Kieran McCauley (PAPrepLive)
TREDYFFRIN >> When Garnet Valley and Conestoga met in the 2015 PIAA championship game, the Pioneers saw an early four-goal lead evaporate, leading to the Jaguars’ second-straight state title.
In Tuesday’s regular-season rematch, Conestoga did not let the same mistake happen again.
With the help of a five-goal run to start the game, the Pioneers were able to put away their Central League rival, 15-10, on a misty night at Teamer Field.
With the victory, they also clinched the league crown for the second-straight year.
“We were ready for tonight’s game all day,” said Conestoga midfielder Liz Scott. “The Central League title wasn’t on our minds to be honest. We just wanted to go out there and play our game and come out with a victory.”
The Pioneers (13-0 overall, 9-0 league) were able to get off to the tremendous start thanks to attacker Monica Borzillo.
After assisting on the first two goals by Scott and Hannah Ashton, Borzillo put the home team up 3-0 with a score of her own.
“The fast start was huge. We never trailed in this game and getting off to that quick lead helped us get in a rhythm,” said Borzillo, who ended the night with five goals and four assists.
Another goal by Scott, along with one from Paige Loose, opened the lead to 5-0.
“They are a great team,” said Jaguars’ coach Jenny Purvis. “We had some communication issues in the first half and that hurt us. I thought we were able to make some adjustments that helped.”
Following a Garnet Valley (7-2, 12-2) timeout, the visitors responded with two quick goals from Kamryn McNeal and Emily Mathewson.
However, Conestoga scored six of the next nine to help them establish an 11-5 lead at the halftime break.
“We really played our game tonight,” Borzillo said. “That was the difference. We were able to move the ball well and find the open person. Obviously we didn’t forget what happened last year, but I thought we remained calm tonight and played the way we are capable of.”
The Jaguars would not go away in the final stanza. Two goals from Camryn Faith, along with one apiece from Mathewson, Michelle Kosinski and Riley Delaney, tightened the game to 13-10 with seven minutes left.
“We weren’t playing Garnet Valley lacrosse in the first half,” Mathewson said. “Give them credit, they got off to a great start. I thought we turned it around and got back to the style of game we are accustomed to playing.”
That is as close as they would get in the Central League affair. Back-to-back goals by Hannah Ashton helped seal the victory for the Pioneers.
“I thought we did a great job sticking together,” Ashton said. “Garnet Valley is a great team and this was a big win for us. We knew we could do it and to control the end like that was huge.”
Up next Conestoga will put its unbeaten record to the test when they go on the road to face Central League foe Penncrest on Thursday.
“I am so proud of the way these girls played tonight,” said Pioneers’ coach Amy Orcutt. “I thought our defense did a terrific job, we did an excellent job on draw controls. This is a big win for us against a great Garnet Valley team. We just have to continue to get better because I’m sure we will see them again down the line.”
Garnet Valley also continues league play this Thursday, when they host winless Upper Darby.
“It’s only one game,” Purvis said. “These girls know that. I’m really proud of the way they fought and didn’t give up. We just have to bounce back and finish the regular season strong.”