By Harry Chaykun
EAST GOSHEN, Pa. – If the lacrosse season was a best-of-3 series, Harriton would be 2-0 and it would be all over.
Rams coach George Dick knows his team has to win all three parts of the 2013 season, or it will end in disappointment.
Thursday night at West Chester East High, Harriton toppled Springfield-Delco, 12-10, and claimed its first District 1 championship since 1976 – the first year the tourney was held. The win gave the Rams victories over all three teams (including Strath Haven and Radnor) that it tied with for the Central League crown.
“I guess now we can say we’re Central League champs,” Dick said with a smile. “But this is a three-part season, and we start the last part next week.”
Harriton will play in the first round of the PIAA Tournament Wednesday at West Chester East against Conestoga, the district’s sixth-place team, while Springfield-Delco’s first state opponent will be Strath Haven, District 1’s fifth-place team.
In the first game of the doubleheader at West Chester East Thursday, Radnor beat Boyertown, 15-5, in the district third-place game. The Red Raiders will face District 12 champion Archbishop Carroll in their PIAA opener at Neumann University Wednesday.
Jane Henderson scored three goals for Harriton against Springfield-Delco, while Katie Melvin, Sabrina Tabasso and Caleigh Foust had two goals apiece. Springfield-Delco opened the game with defenders face-guarding Tabasso and Foust, but Henderson got two goals in the first two minutes and Melvin scored twice to put the Rams up, 5-1, seven minutes into the contest.
“We had that energy level and it helped us get ahead,” Dick said. “But we didn’t have the tempo we wanted in the second half and it got too close. I knew they would come back.”
Aly Gormley scored her four goals in the second half for Springfield-Delco, but freshman Alex Ladda came up with a big score for Harriton on a crease roll, and Tabasso tallied 1:20 later. Tabasso left the game not long after with an ankle injury.
“It hurt not having her out there,” Dick said. “She means a lot to us. But then we got those big saves from (goalie Melina Avery).”
Goals by Rachel Charamella and Gormley trimmed the Harriton lead to 12-10 with more than eight minutes to play, before Avery stopped two shots and Springfield-Delco had a big turnover that allowed Harriton to work the clock down.
“Getting the first couple saves helped my confidence,” said Avery, who limited Springfield-Delco to three goals in the first half. “That’s when I knew I could get the ball.
“And I was really happy to get those other (late) saves. I knew we could score goals, and I’m so happy the whole team played well.
“It’s exciting to know next week we’re going to states.”
Hilary Lemonick was one of the Harriton defenders who helped Avery in the second half, when Springfield-Delco had a 16-4 advantage in shots.
“It was such a long day in school,” Lemonick said. “We were all getting antsy, with the weather, the humidity and not knowing if we were going to play this game. But (Dick) told us that we knew would be prepared and keep our heads in the game.
“Our coaches always tell us we get one shot. Now we know there’s a whole new season.”
In the third-place game, Shannon Quinn scored six goals, Sara Curley got two goals and three assists and Brooke Pancoast also had a pair of goals as Radnor, the top-seeded team heading into districts, claimed third place.
“We still want to be state champs,” Quinn said. “This was the way we knew we could play.”
The Red Raiders will open state tournament play against some familiar foes Wednesday. A number of the Radnor players are summer club teammates of the Carroll players.
“It’s a rivalry, and not it means more playing in (states),” Radnor coach Brooke Fritz said.
Harriton 12, Springfield-Delco 10
Harriton 10 2 – 12
Springfield-D 3 7 – 10
Jane Henderson 3 G
Katie Melvin 2G
Sabrina Tabasso 2G
Caleigh Foust 2G
Maura Henderson 1G
Julia Marks 1G
Alex Ladda 1G
Melina Avery 8 saves
Aly Gormley 4G
Alex Poplawski 3G
Rachel Charamella 2G 1A
Emily Santana 1G
Katie Bedard 4 saves