Field Hockey: The first-round dust has settled…

Jessika Daniels is a big reason why Garnet Valley is on to round 2. TIMES STAFF/JULIA WILKINSON

Jessika Daniels is a big reason why Garnet Valley is on to round 2.
TIMES STAFF/JULIA WILKINSON

Ed. note: Return of semi-regular blog posts because by gosh, it’s the playoffs. 

Some exciting times going on in these here playoffs. Some good, some not so good for Delco’s contingent of teams who qualified for the postseason. With that being said, here’s a look at how each AAA team fared and here are some updated brackets. I’ll have a look at the AA teams in the next day or so.

Garnet Valley lives to fight another day…

But man, did it take some excitement to get there. Neither the Jaguars or Avon Grove were able to score for the first 51:31 of Tuesday night’s game, but once the goals started, they didn’t stop. Molly Savage buried a Dana Davis pass for the first goal, only to be outdone by a pair of Anna Mulcrone markers. Savage, though, knotted the game back up thanks to an incredible pass from Jessika Daniels. 

“Once they scored that second goal, we just kind of put everything into it,” Daniels said. “So I feel like them scoring actually helped us, actually.”

If you can find a more improved player over the course of this season than Daniels, I’d love to hear about her. The Temple verbal commitment has emerged as a standout all over the field for the Jaguars and she does it all for Garnet Valley. Daniels has blossomed into one of Delco’s top midfielders after replacing two-time All-Delco Eleanor Kirby (Bloomsburg) and has garnered rave reviews from coaches around the league. Daniels’ potential, especially next year, is pretty much limitless. Alison Amen is very much in the same boat as Daniels. Her improvement over the course of the season has vaulted her into the conversation of Delco’s best defenders and she is a wall in front of goalie Hailey Valerio.

Maybe experience is an overused cliché, but I don’t think it’s a surprise that Savage and Davis came up with the big goals for the Jaguars. Both have played in the biggest of games for Garnet Valley’s lacrosse team and even have state hardware to prove it, so when push comes to shove, experienced players tend to not sweat big moments nearly as much.

“It definitely helps you keep your composure better,” Savage said. “It makes you think in the moment and it definitely makes you think a step ahead of everyone, what’s going to happen next, where should I be to be in position to score. It definitely helps with that.”

The stakes get raised a little bit Wednesday, though, as Garnet Valley takes on No. 6 Downingtown West. The Whippets knocked off North Penn, 3-0, in the first round, and with the Jaguars’ inconsistent play outside the league, I’m taking the home team.

The pick: Downingtown West 2, Garnet Valley 1, OT.

Wrong upset, genius!

OK, fine, so I picked against Strath Haven and picked Haverford to win. The Fords fell, 3-2, despite goals from Tess Horan and Stephanie Toland and 14 saves from the dependable Katie Wyman. On the other side, the Panthers seem to have found a big-game scorer. Andrea Govannicci, who had a hat trick to beat Haverford in the regular season, netted both goals in a 2-0 win over Council Rock North.

So for the second straight year, the Panthers are on to the second round of districts. Last year, they fell in overtime to Haverford (seriously, those teams never get away from each other) with Horan’s heroics. But you have to love how Strath Haven’s defense put the clamps down on C.R. North. Virginia Foggo and Meghan Lashley helped stymie the C.R. North offense and Caroline Boyd made 14 saves.

Which brings us to Thursday’s game. On paper, C.B. South is every bit deserving of that No. 2 seed and the Titans will be well-rested after an opening-round bye. But Strath Haven is playing as well as it has played all season and it’s tough to pick against them. At the same time, two straight road upsets is asking a lot. By the way, this game is at 5 p.m. at War Memorial Field at C.B. West.

The pick: C.B. South 3, Strath Haven 2

Boy, Radnor, that escalated quickly…

I mean, that really got out of hand fast!

9-3 against Conestoga wasn’t exactly pretty, especially with the loss marking the end of coach Angel DiRocco‘s tenure as the Raiders’ boss. After 10 years at Radnor’s helm, DiRocco is going back to school for a master’s degree, so the Raiders are going to have a different look next year.

“(DiRocco) said she’s still going to come to some of the games,” midfielder Lydia Sydnor said, “but it’s tough, especially since it’s going to be my senior year.”

Sydnor also found out that she broke the Radnor school record for goals in a season with 23 and it provides some big bragging rights inside the Sydnor house.

“I’m excited,” Sydnor said. “My sister (Shelby) said, ‘you’re lucky’. She just missed the record herself, so she said, ‘you probably just had more luck than me.'”

Regardless of how much luck factored in, a big congratulations to the future Michigan Wolverine. Sydnor and forward Lexi Kenneally, who scored twice against the Pioneers, will be the backbone of the 2014 Radnor team.

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