EAST GOSHEN-- Springfield Delco's girls lacrosse team captured third place in the District 1 AAAA tournament on Thursday night, defeating Great Valley by a 15-9 final at West Chester East High School.
The win means the Cougars will enter the PIAA AAAA state tournament next Wednesday as the district's third seed and will travel to District 11 to play that group's number one seed.
The Cougars, now 20-3 for the season, took control of the game near the end of the first half and never relinquished the lead. Trailing 4-2 at one point, freshman Aly Gormley scored at 6:05 to tie the game at 4-4.
Less than 22 seconds later, Alex Poplawski beat Great Valley goalie Jenna Morris and the Cougars were ahead, 5-4. Maddy Lynch would add a goal at 3:36 and Kate Ryan, another freshman, scored at 2:57 and Springfield enjoyed a 7-4 advantage at halftime.
"This is a very nice win," Cougars head coach Keith Broome said later. " We played them last year in the semis and beat them, so we knew a little about them."
Great Valley cut the difference to 7-5 at 22:31 of the second half when Emily Scullin scored but Springfield stormed right back, getting a goal from Nathalie Basunga at 22:05 to make it 8-5.
Poplawski added another at 20:07 before Chrissy Hughes bounced a shot into the back of the net at 17:43 and flicked another home at 17:16 and the Cougars were on a roll, 11-5.
It's been a busy week for Springfield, facing the two best teams in the Ches-Mont League in Downingtown East and Great Valley in a three-day span.
"We did not play well against Downingtown East the other day," Broome continued. "They are a very nice team and one of the best we have seen all year. So we had to rebound tonight and we did a good job."
One thing that the Cougars incorporated into their game plan was trying to neutralize Great Valley scoring machine Ali Karwoski.
"We made a change to cover 31 (Karwoski) as much as possible. We put Michelle Gildea on her one-on-one and she did a wonderful job," Broome said of Gildea holding Karwoski to one first half goal and two in the second half.
Valley picked up two scores at 16:29 and 15:39 to get within 11-7 before the Cougars blitzed the nets and a new Patriot goaltender. Ryan found the cage two times in less than a minute (13-7), Hughes scored at 11:38 and Courtney Kennedy ended the Cougars offensive output at 6:55 for goal number 15.
The Pats added two late scores-- one with 6.7 seconds left-- for the 15-9 final.
"Our goalie (Kristy Reid) made some nice saves," Broome said.
Springfield's scoring was led by four from Lynch, three each by Ryan and Poplawski, two from Gormley and one each by Rachel Charamella, Basunga and Kennedy.
For the Cougars, the deep run into the playoffs has been a rewarding one.
"It's been exciting," Broome said. "We're playing four freshman and it's tough transitioning from middle school lacrosse, where there is modified checking, to high school lacrosse. But our seniors have welcomed them and have been great working with them all season."
The Cougars hope that excitement continues starting Wednesday when the state playoffs begin, needing three wins to reach the final at HersheyPark Stadium on Saturday, June 11.