Garnet Valley falls to Conestoga in state title rematch

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.”

Monica Borzillo Main Line Athlete of the Week

From papreplive.com by Bruce Adams

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The senior attacker recently recorded her 100th career assist, which is a school record. As of Monday April 18, she has 97 career goals. Last spring, she was voted the co-MVP of attack for the Central League champions, tallying 52 goals and dishing out 58 assists while compiling a .600 shooting percentage. The University of Cincinnati-bound All-Central League pick also caused 13 turnovers last spring for the Pioneers, who advanced to the PIAA state championship final.

Q: Can you describe the play on which you recorded your 100th career assist, how the play unfolded, and your role in it?

A: The play was a simple slow break. We got the draw, worked it around and got it behind to me. I did what I usually do and waited for the open cutter and that happened to be Paige Loose!

Q: What does it mean to you to hold the school record for career assists?

A: It means a lot to me and our team, because having 100 assists is always looking out for the best opportunity to score.

Q: Have you always played attack? What originally led you to that position? What (to you) is the most important attribute of a good attacker?

A: I was a midfielder and took the draw until I played varsity my sophomore year. The summer before sophomore year, my Phantastix (club team) coaches moved me to attack and I learned what it takes to be an attacker. The most important attribute of a good attacker is their patience, game IQ, and knowing their position inside and out – from working to find the perfect shot to re-defending.

Q: Last year, Conestoga made the PIAA state finals. What was your most vivid memory of last season? Can you share it with us?

A: My most vivid memory of last season was on Spring Break in Florida, we beat Vero Beach, the No. 1 team in the state. This was a huge win for us so early in the season.

Q: You wear No. 8 for Conestoga. Was there a reason you chose this number – does this number have any significance to you?

A: There was no reason why I chose this number. But I wear it with the thought of making it something to have a reason to keep it.

Q: What do you think is the best part of your game, and what are you working on most currently?

A: The best part of my game is being able to see the open cutter and get the ball to her, sometimes before they even realize they are open. Currently I am working on improving my crease roll and dodges.

Q: Who have been your biggest lacrosse mentors, and what was the most important thing each of them taught you?

A: My sister, Jackie, is definitely my biggest mentor and fan. She brought me to the game and we both improved together taking what our coaches taught us and practicing in the backyard every chance we got. The most important thing my sister taught me is competitiveness and hard work. My Phantastix coaches were also a huge part of making me the player I am today. I give a lot of credit to their program and what they teach us. The most important thing they taught was player IQ. You can tell when a player has it. And finally Coach Amy Orcutt is always pushing me to be better and try new things to get out of my comfort zone. She really has helped me with my mental toughness.

Q: As a senior, describe how you see your leadership role on the team.

A: I like to see it as leading by example and teaching the underclassmen as much as I can.

Q: What attracted you to University of Cincinnati, compared with the other colleges in the running? What do you think you’d like to major in? Is there a career path that particularly interests you at the present time?

A: In the end it was a decision between Marquette and Cincinnati. Both programs and coaches are awesome! My sister is currently at Marquette and their coach, Meredith Black, has made huge improvement with their program. The reason I chose Cincinnati was because I saw myself succeeding there the most. The goal of the lacrosse program and the school itself was exactly what I was looking for. I’m going to major in secondary education/mathematics. I would love to teach math and be a soccer or lacrosse coach.

Q: What extracurricular activities are you involved in at Conestoga other than lacrosse?

A: I also played soccer and was on a club team until high school. ‘Stoga Yoga and Habitat for Humanity.

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Ashton leads Conestoga girls’ lacrosse past Great Valley

From Philly.com by Tom Reifsnyder

It’s been 317 days since Conestoga lost in its first PIAA state final, squandering an early four-goal lead and handing Garnet Valley its second straight lacrosse championship and fourth in the last five years.

Last season was nearly perfect for the Pioneers, who finished with an 11-0 record in the Central League and captured their first league title in the tenure of seven-year head coach Amy Orcutt.

Although Conestoga’s championship game loss is in the rearview mirror with the 2016 season underway, some players still feel the sting of the defeat.

“It definitely leaves a bitter taste,” said Hannah Ashton, a senior attacker. “It makes us more motivated to get back there and just work really hard to make sure that we can get back.”

Ashton looked determined to get redemption Saturday, tying her career-high with five goals as she led Conestoga to a 13-6 victory at Great Valley in a nonleague game.

The Pioneers were flowing from start to finish, going up 3-0 early en route to an 8-4 halftime lead and halting Great Valley’s comeback attempt with a 4-1 run to end the game.

Four other players for the Pioneers (6-0) found the back of the net in addition to Ashton. Senior attacker Monica Borzillo netted three goals and added three assists, senior midfielder Sondra Dickey and senior attacker Paige Loose scored two goals apiece, and junior midfielder Liz Scott tallied a goal to go with two assists.

“I feel like that was the most overall team game we’ve ever played,” Orcutt said. “From defense to offense, we were unselfish, and we played great team defense. We put a new defense in today, and obviously it worked, so I’m beyond pleased and proud of them.”

In the postgame huddle, Orcutt named sophomore defender Emma McGillis defensive player of the game for her efforts as the “backer” in the team’s newly employed defensive formation.

Junior attacker Olivia Muscella, who netted two goals, was the only player for Great Valley (4-2) to have multiple scores in the game. Conestoga senior goalkeeper Jules Horning had six saves on Great Valley’s 12 shots on goal.

“They’re such a strong team,” Orcutt said of Great Valley. “We’ve played them so much, so we put in a different defense with a backer, and I think the backer really worked against them today.”

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/high_school/20160417_Ashton_leads_Conestoga_girls__lacrosse_past_Great_Valley.html

Conestoga “holds the rope” in win over Great Valley

From papreplive.com by Jeff Kerr

The first test of the season didn’t seem to bother Monica Borzillo nor her Conestoga teammates.

The Pioneers have played in plenty of big games before and won their fair share of them. Saturday morning’s affair against nonleague rival Great Valley was no different.

Borzillo had three goals and three assists as Conestoga used a dominant first half to pull away for a 13-6 win over Great Valley, but the win wasn’t her primary focus.

Going into the contest, Borzillo was in charge of “holding the rope,” which has been a rallying cry for the Pioneers throughout the season since they lost 2015 leading scorer Scottie Growney to a season-ending injury.

“If one teammate is doing bad, the others pick them up and ‘hold the rope’,” Borzillo said. “You’re in charge of bring them back up. Everyone today played a role in that.”

Conestoga (6-0) didn’t have to hold the rope too long against the Patriots thanks to a fast start that gave the Pioneers a lead they would never relinquish.

Borzillo, Sondra Dickey and Liz Scott each scored to give Conestoga a 3-0 lead with 18:02 left in the first half. Dickey and Scott’s goals came within a 29-second span in the first five minutes of the game that sparked the Pioneers’ offensive output throughout the morning.

“Once the first goal went in, that was motivation to get another one,” Borzillo said. “We have so many scorers on this team that can pick each other up throughout the game. If we’re not scoring, we preach to ‘get it (the ball) back.’

“That happened a lot today. We forced a lot of turnovers and kept that momentum going.”

The Patriots (4-2) were on the other side of that momentum swing as they faced a 6-1 deficit after Borzillo earned her third goal of the game with 7:13 left in the first half. Turnovers doomed Great Valley from the start as the Patriots only were able to muster two shots on goal up to that point.

“We got beat early to every ball,” said Great Valley head coach Kim Wenger. “Our possessions were not quality possessions and they capitalized off them. We got in a hole and did not come back from it.”

The Patriots cut the score to 6-3 after two goals in 1:03 from Steph Aker and Ashlyn Smith, but Hannah Ashton ended any signs of life from Great Valley with back-to-back goals to stretch the lead back to five (8-3) with 2:21 left in the first half.

Ashton led Conestoga with five goals and an assist on the day. She has 15 goals and three assists on the season.

“It feels amazing to score that many goals against a team like that,” Ashton said. “This win was so huge for a confidence boost and giving us more momentum in the second half of the year. Our whole team was excellent today.”

Dickey finished with two goals for Conestoga and has 16 on the year. Borzillo’s performance put her at 18 goals and 22 assists for the season.

A flawless performance by Conestoga was the result of hard work throughout the week. A near-performance of Saturday throughout the postseason could have Conestoga playing in June once again.

“We’re just trying to mesh together really well on the field,” Ashton said. “Today, it happed to work out that way. We now hope to go strong all the way through the second half and keep the momentum going.”

Read more: http://papreplive.com/blog/2016/04/16/conestoga-holds-the-rope-in-win-over-great-valley/

Season Preview from PA Prep Live

From: http://papreplive.com/blog/2016/03/30/conestoga-2016-girls-lacrosse-preview/ by Kieran McCauley.

Last season: 11-0 league, 23-4 overall (1st place in Central-League, lost to Garnet Valley in PIAA championship)

Key players: Sondra Dickey, Sr., Jules Horning, Sr., Rilee Scott, Sr., Monica Borzillo, Sr., Paige Loose, Sr., Maggie Hanzsche, Sr., Liz Scott, Jr.

Outlook: There is only one way to label Conestoga’s state-title loss last season, crushing . The Pioneers were firing on all cylinders, until a 14-6 Garnet Valley run denied them of their first ever PIAA championship. The good news for the defending Central League champions is they are returning the majority of their starters. “We’re so excited for this season,” senior defensemen Maggie Hanzsche said. “We have some unfinished business to take care of from last year and we are ready to work hard to get back to where we stood last season.” Hanzsche, along with goalie Jules Horning will lead the charge on defense. Offensively, seniors Sondra Dickey, Rilee Scott, Monica Borzillo, and Paige Loose, along with junior Liz Scott will provide matchup nightmares for opponents’ defenses. The bad news for Conestoga is they have been riddled with injuries. They lost arguably their top-offensive weapon, Scottie Growney for the season with a torn ACL. On top of that, two of their top defenders, Maddi Little and Eliza Hacke, will be sidelined for at least half the season with lower-body injuries. Depth has been something Conestoga has prided themselves on for years, they will need to rely on it heavily this season.

Prediction: Do not expect last year’s gut-wrenching state-title loss, and recent injuries to impede Conestoga’s 2016 campaign. They are a cohesive unit who has one of the top coaches in the state in Amy Orcutt. Between the leadership of the coaches and the seniors, expect this team to take things one week at a time and still be a serious contender for the PIAA Championship this year.

Correction: Photos & Game 4/2/16

We will be taking individual photos of all Varsity and JVA girls as well as team photos and grad year group photos for the Memory Book this Saturday before the games.

Varsity Girls – arrive no later than 8:30am dressed in home uniforms, ready to take pictures. Girls will then meet in team room at 9am and start warmups at 9:15am.

JVA Girls – arrive no later than 9:30am dressed in home uniforms, ready to take pictures.