Radnor’s hoping for more of this from Sydney Cowles this year.
For a brief spell last year, Radnor became Delco’s Cinderella team in the District One tournament.
When the Red Raiders sneaked into the bracket at No. 25, not many expected them to be the team that carried the county flag deepest into the district tournament. But two-time All-Delco Madi Shutt made 17 saves and Sydney Cowles, Lexi Kenneally and Libby Lowry scored goals for a 3-1 upset of No. 8 Souderton.
Despite another goal from Cowles and 22 saves from Shutt, though, Radnor was unceremoniously bounced in overtime in the next round against Central Bucks East.
Yet even though head coach Angel DiRocco lost Shutt and Lowry’s services, in addition to other significant hits in Caroline Kelly and Meg DiTrolio, there’s still plenty to like about the 2012 version of the Red Raiders.
“I think Sydney’s going to have a lot of goals this year,” DiRocco said of her senior forward. “She was our leading scorer last year, and I definitely think she can take the leap to elite status. She’s going to have some competition, though.”
That competition is expected to come from sophomore Lydia Syndor. A midfielder whose freshman season was cut short because of a hip injury, Syndor is back and healthy, and DiRocco doesn’t even bother trying to contain her excitement when she discusses Syndor’s potential.
“Her speed and skill are just stellar,” DiRocco said. “I think she and Sydney are going to make up a very powerful duo that’s going to score a lot of goals for us. It should be a good competition to see who leads the team in scoring.”
Kenalley is also expected to make major contributions to the offense. She spent much of the season on JV a year ago, but she developed quickly enough to earn DiRocco’s trust in the playoffs. With an offseason under her belt and an expanded role, there’s no telling how good the sophomore could be.
While losing Shutt, a four-year starter, stings, DiRocco is very confident in new starter and senior Emily Snowden. Snowden, a Vermont commit, hasn’t had the opportunity to play much while toiling in Shutt’s shadown, but there’s every reason to believe that she’ll be more than capable in the cage for the Red Raiders.
“She’s a strong goalie” DiRocco said. “She’s gotten a lot better over the years. If Madi hadn’t been there last year, Emily would have started, but Madi was, well, Madi. But Emily did a lot of offseason work, she plays for W.C. Eagles, and I think she’ll keep us in a lot of games.”
Luckily for Snowden, there’s a stingy defensive crew ready to shut down opposing offenses, and that’s spearheaded by junior Charlotte Posauner and senior Grace Collins.
“Charlotte started for me last year and she has great stick work,” DiRocco said. “She’s very poised when she has the ball, too. She’s been begging me to play midfield, but I think I want to keep the defense as strong as possible.”
Maybe so, but that hasn’t deterred DiRocco from thinking of moving Collins to midfield. Collins, who split time in goal for Radnor’s District One champion lacrosse team and is committed to Michigan for lacrosse, has looked much improved in the early going and could push for time on defense and at midfield.
“It’s kind of up in the air,” DiRocco said. “She’s such a smart player. She’s always seeing everything before it happens, so we might move her to midfield. I think that now that she’s committed to Michigan for lacrosse, she’s much more relaxed in field hockey. I think she’ll have a big year.”
And maybe Radnor will, too.
– MATT CHANDIK