Garnet Valley ousts Harriton

Midfielder Michelle Koscinski prepares to hug a teammate after Garnet Valley's 16-12 quarterfinal victory. The Jaguars will play Tuesday in the semifinals.
Midfielder Michelle Koscinski prepares to hug a teammate after Garnet Valley's 16-12 quarterfinal victory. The Jaguars will play Tuesday in the semifinals. (LOU RABITO / Staff)
Posted: June 02, 2014

Jenny Purvis, the Garnet Valley girls' lacrosse coach, hopped on her toes as the last few seconds elapsed from the clock. The horn at West Chester East's stadium finally sounded. The Jaguars had survived.

The players dashed toward goalie Paige Mitros after holding off defending state champion Harriton, 16-12, Saturday in a PIAA quarterfinal.

Senior attack Sabrina Fusco said the horn was "very exhilarating and lovely." Senior midfielder Haley Warden called it "a big relief."

"It was like, 'Oh my gosh. We did it. We beat Harriton,' " Warden said. "It is just an awesome feeling."

It was the teams' third meeting this season. Garnet Valley (22-2) won each time. Warden said topping a team three times in a season is a challenge, because of how familiar Harriton was with Garnet Valley.

"Our goal was to just deflate them," Fusco said. "We're such huge rivals with them. And for the seniors, this would've been our last game together if we lost. We didn't feel like it was time yet."

Garnet Valley will face Western Pennsylvania's Mount Lebanon in the semifinals at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Cumberland Valley.

The Jaguars seemed to deflate Harriton by scoring eight straight times to lead by eight goals early in the second half. Warden and Emily Matthewson each scored three times in the stretch. Warden scored with just 14.3 seconds left to give Garnet Valley a six-goal advantage at intermission.

But Harriton rallied. The Rams began to control possession by winning draws, something they struggled with in the first half. Harriton opted to split the second-half draws between Sabrina Tabasso and Hilary Lemonick. The strategy worked.

Katie Melvin scored four times to cut Garnet Valley's lead to four with four minutes left. Harriton coach George Dick called a timeout.

Fusco conceded that she "always gets nervous," but she said she never doubted that her team would hang on.

Purvis told her team that Harriton had the "talent, the drive, and the players" to complete the comeback.

"There was no room for us to let down at all," Purvis said. "There was no room for us to let down an ounce of our intensity that we had been using to really benefit us the whole game."

Her team listened. The Jaguars controlled possession for most of the remaining four minutes. Neither team scored again. The horn hit, and Garnet Valley celebrated, at last.

Garnet Valley 10 6 – 16

Harriton 4 8 – 12

Goals: GV-Madison Valerio 2, Sabrina Fusco 4, Kara Nakrasius 2, Haley Warden 3, Dana Davis, Emily Matthewson 4; H-Alexa Foust, Katie Melvin 5, Julia Marks, Sabrina Tabasso 3, Jane Henderson 2.

Saves: GV-Paige Mitros 7; H-Sophie Grady 4.


mbreen@phillynews.com

@matt_breen

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