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Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

Murphy’s mad dash sees Radnor win Conestoga

By Vaseline May30,2024
Murphy’s mad dash sees Radnor win Conestoga

Radnor’s Taylor Murphy, left, and Conestoga’s Ellie Wisch battle for control of a tie in Wednesday night’s District 1 Class 3A girls lacrosse final. (Tom Silknitter/For MediaNews Group)

HAVERFORD – Anyone who braved the rain and a lengthy weather delay Wednesday night that postponed the start of the District 1 Class 3A girls lacrosse championship game at Cornog Field at Haverford High will talk long and hard about nine seconds that changed Radnor’s season.

Conestoga’s Kiki Liebezeit had scored nine seconds before the third quarter ended, breaking the second tie of the second half. Radnor’s Taylor Murphy was determined her team would not go into the final 12 minutes trailing. Grace Gordon, who earned tying control after Liebezeit’s goal, advanced the ball to Murphy, who burst through the Pioneers’ defense and rose on a shot that slid off goalkeeper Alex Lepore just before the horn sounded.

Murphy came back with a goal — her fifth of the match — in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, and Grayson Buono added less than four minutes later as second-seeded Radnor earned a 9-7 decision over No. 4 Conestoga and claimed the district title.

The Raptors will face a familiar foe, Central League rival Garnet Valley, in the opening round of the PIAA Class 3A tournament on Tuesday.

“This is a tribute to the way everyone played,” Radnor head coach Lis Zuern said. “We certainly didn’t want to be as behind as we were after the first period (5-2). But they all came back, offensively and defensively. We got some draws and took advantage of that. And we had important stops when we needed them.”

Senior goalkeeper Arden Jansen deflected eight Conestoga scoring attempts. Senior Kate Gallagher, who scored two goals, came up with the interception that ruined the Pioneers’ final scoring opportunity in the final minute.

“I was so mad at myself because I just lost the ball,” said Gallagher, who will soon pack her lacrosse gear for the trip to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. “I told myself I had to get the ball back.

‘I was guarding Kiki. I thought they were going to try to get the ball to her, so I went for it. If I hadn’t come up with the ball, it wouldn’t have been such a good play.”

Because she did, her teammates on the sideline and the Raptors fans could count down the seconds as they ticked off the scoreboard clock before the celebration started.

Murphy wasn’t surprised to be involved in the excitement of the final nine seconds of the third quarter.

“Grace Gordon was so good on the draws,” Murphy said. “She got the ball and just threw me a dime. I ran over and shot it and was so happy it went in. I ended up on the ground, but I saw the ball come through.

“This team has worked so hard for so long and our seniors have been there to pick us up when we need them. I was happy to have achieved that goal, and now we can start thinking about what we need to do for states.”

Buono’s goal came with 7:51 to play and set the final score. It was the 100th career goal for the University of Delaware.

“The best part was it started with the defense before the ball got to me,” said Buono, a freshman when Radnor won the 2021 state championship. “I was just happy when I could score.”

Ellie Wisch, who came up with nine draw checks, and Keating Hopkins each had two goals and one assist for Conestoga, in addition to two scores from Liebezeit. Chloe Brown had one goal and three draw controls.

“We started off so well with the draws and the goals,” said Conestoga coach Amy Orcutt, whose team did not score in the second and fourth periods. “Then we let things go, started turning the ball over and didn’t take our chances. We will bounce back. There are still two weeks of the season to go and we want to be there at the end.”

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