As you may have noticed, I’ve been focusing strictly on the boys postseason while Harry Chaykun has come out of retirement to take care of things on the girls side. That’s why I don’t have as much material as on the boys side, but I’ll still pass along some tidbits.
Balance is the key to Radnor’s success
– Check the Red Raiders’ box scores for, well, the whole season and you’ll notice a common theme. Shannon Quinn is usually the go-to scorer, but after that, it strictly depends on the day as to which other player is going to step up. In a thrilling 11-10 win over Garnet Valley, Quinn led the way yet again, but her twin, Taylor, and Brooke Pancoast each supplied a pair of goals and Sara Curley and Hannah Proctor had a goal and an assist each. That’s one of the reasons why Radnor is so tough to beat. When you cut off one of its scorers, there’s another one waiting in the wings.
– Red Raiders goalie Grace Collins got off to a little bit of a slow start this year, but she’s been peaking at the right time. According to Chaykun, she was very sharp early and helped Radnor hold on late (as did Taylor Quinn). Good goaltending has a way of winning team championships and when she’s on, Collins is as good as anyone.
Springfield breaks through
– A year ago, the Cougars finished a disappointing eighth in the District One tournament and stayed home for the state tournament. Saturday, they made sure not to let history repeat itself by coming from behind to beat Conestoga, 12-10. For all the well-deserved hype centering around two-time All-Delco (might as well pencil her in for a third) Alex Poplawski and sophomore sniper Emily Santana, Springfield showed that it also has some other weapons. Aly Gormley fired home two goals a minute apart to tie the game and Emily Paulus scored the game-winner. Courtney O’Connell‘s pair of late saves made the lead stand up.
“After they came back on us like they did the last time, we just got our composure back,” Gormley said. “And Courtney helped with those really big saves.”
That’s particularly impressive considering the fact that Conestoga used a 12-1 romp in the second half of the teams’ regular-season meeting to seal a 13-8 win. Like last year, the Cougars didn’t let that happen again.
I didn’t get a chance to run previews in today’s paper, so here are some predictions for how everything goes down. As I was so subtly reminded Saturday, my picks in this tournament haven’t been nearly as sharp as my boys picks. I picked Harriton to miss out on states. Whoops. My bad, guys and girls. I did have the qualifier that I thought six teams could win the title and the Rams were on, so partial credit? Maybe?
No. 7 Boyertown vs. No. 3 Springfield at West Chester Henderson, 4
– It’s hard to peg the Bears as a Cinderella team when they were the No. 7 seed, but raise your hand if you saw them beating No. 2 Great Valley. Unless you are associated with the program, you should not be raising your hand. But Boyertown came through and knocked off the Ches-Mont League champions to get to this point, so it’s hard to deem it a fluke.
However, I just don’t see how the Bears can handle Springfield. The Cougars are too deep and have the best player on the field in Poplawski. Springfield will probably win 60 to 70 percent of the draws and when it’s on, the Cougars’ offense is really fun to watch. There’s not a ton of wasted motion or bad shots, meaning that it’s going to be tough for Boyertown to get the ball back.
The pick: Springfield 15, Boyertown 9.
No. 5 Harriton vs. No. 1 Radnor at West Chester Henderson, 5:45
I love this matchup. Absolutely love it. Wish I could be there. The Rams and Strath Haven are the fastest, most athletic teams in the tournament. On the other hand, no one plays defense like the Red Raiders. Not even close. Lyndsey Britton and Abby Junior are rocks back there, but coach Brooke Fritz does some really nice things by moving her players around so much.
Rams coach George Dick counters with a very good, very explosive offense. Sabrina Tabasso is the type of player you just hope does minimal damage. She’s going to get her goals, assists and draw controls. Accept it and try to limit it. Caleigh Foust is a fantastic scorer and Jane Henderson has come on strong. I love the goalie matchup, too, between Collins and Melina Avery. These teams could play 10 times and it would probably be 5-5. Because I know he reads the blog, sorry, George. Here’s more motivation for you.
The pick: Radnor 13, Harriton 12
No. 9 Garnet Valley at No. 4 Strath Haven, 4
Oh my, this playback game. A year ago, they played for the state title. In about four and a half hours, Garnet Valley and Strath Haven will play simply for the opportunity to have a shot to make it back to Hershey. I wasn’t shocked that the Panthers fell to Harriton, but the five-goal margin definitely raised some eyebrows. You wonder if this team has lost its edge, or maybe the Rams just played that well.
The Jaguars turned it on late against Radnor thanks to a big effort from Haley Warden. They’ll need to neutralize Strath Haven’s speed in the open field in order to keep the Panthers’ offense at bay. On paper, Strath Haven is the older, more experienced, deeper and better team. But GV doesn’t have to beat the Panthers 100 times. The Jaguars just have to do it once. On the other hand, the Panthers need Kristen Hansen to dominate the draw circle and secondary scoring to support Morgan Glassford and Kirsten Wilhelmsen will be huge. Can Hallie Yancey be the difference-maker in the Haven net?
The pick: Strath Haven 10, Garnet Valley 8
If you’re going to be at any of these games, tweet me @MattChandik and I’ll retweet to spread the word.