Anne Photograp News 2024

Experienced Radnor razor sharp as the play-offs approach

Experienced Radnor razor sharp as the play-offs approach

Radnor’s Sarah Kelley, right, looks for an open shot as Cardinal O’Hara’s Chiara Mersch defends Friday. (Pete Bannan – MediaNews Group)

MARPLE TWP. – The Radnor girls lacrosse team had one final tune-up Friday before beginning what should be a deep run in the District 1 and PIAA tournaments.

Backed by a balanced scoring attack, the Raptors overcame cool temperatures and an irritating, lashing rain to claim a 17-5 victory over Cardinal O’Hara.

“We always have things to work on and improve on, but they are definitely playing at a high level,” Radnor coach Lis Zuern said. “They come out every day ready to go, ready to push each other. They are doing great and I am very proud of them.”

Radnor (16-2) recently captured its first Central League championship since 2019, sealing the deal Tuesday with a 7-6 victory over Conestoga. When the District 1 Steering Committee meets Saturday morning to finalize playoff seeding, the Raptors will be the No. 1 or No. 2 team in the Class 2A tournament. Radnor’s only losses came at the hands of three-time defending PIAA Class 2A champion Archbishop Carroll, an 11-10 overtime setback on April 27, and Garden City (NY) in late March.

With 16 seniors on the roster, the Raptors are not lacking in experience. Eight of Radnor’s prospective students will play lacrosse at the Division I level: forward Grayson Buono (Delaware), midfielder Kate Gallagher (West Point), defenseman Grace Gordon (George Washington), defenseman Ella Hoey (Massachusetts), goaltender Arden Jensen (Penn State ), defender Margot Johnson (Notre Dame), forward Sarah Kelly (Penn) and midfielder Kierstin Woronotzoff (New Hampshire).

“The seniors set the tone,” Zuern said. “They drive us to many of the goals we have as a team. It is a great class overall, with many great leaders, and they continue to set a great example.”

Lilly Wolfington is just a junior, but she has had a big impact on the team’s offense, along with classmate Taylor Murphy, who scored her 100th career goal and 200th point earlier this season. Wolfington, who transferred from Agnes Irwin School, is excited to have his first opportunity to play in the District 1 playoffs.

“I know they weren’t happy with the way they ended their season last year (in the state quarterfinals),” Wolfington said. “This year we all came together as a team and set our goals at the beginning of the season. That’s when we decided we were going to achieve all our goals… and we all really want it. It shows how much we all love the sport and each other.”

Wolfingfon capped the scoring on Friday with a nifty over-the-shoulder shot, fooling O’Hara goalkeeper Marina Mersch for her team-high third goal of the match. Wolfingfon also recorded three assists.

“Agnes Irwin is such a great school and program and there was such good competition. When I came here to Radnor I knew it was pretty much the same, a team of really good girls and really good competition in the league,” Wolfington said. “Every day I come out and think about the competition and know I have to go one step further and keep getting better.”

Radnor jumped out to a 6-0 lead and was on cruise control the rest of the way, with several starters sitting out the second half. Murphy scored twice and Buono, Kelley, Marin Mooney and Cara Ruggieri each scored one goal in the first quarter. In the second quarter, Wolfington scored consecutive goals, extending Radnor’s lead to 10–1. Buono scored her second goal. Gordon, Riley D’Entremont and Molly Ott all had one goal.

While Radnor is built to win this season, O’Hara is rebuilding. The Lions are preparing for next week’s Catholic League tournament and are eager to return to the championship game.

O’Hara coach Jen Armstrong started seven freshmen and two sophomores on Friday. Fantastic frosh Fran Fazio, who has three goals, one assist, three draw controls, three ground balls and two goals, is a star in the making.

Armstrong praised the work of her first-year assistant coach Katie Ward, who won a PIAA championship at Springfield in 2019 and had an outstanding career at Widener.

“We are building the future,” Armstrong said. “For them to play the best of the best, they learn where we need to go. I prefer to play against better teams, like Radnor, so that we can improve and learn from it.”

Mersch, a junior goalkeeper, made 11 saves and senior forward Honor Breen added two goals and created a pair of turnovers.

“I am proud of Fran Fazio, a first-team All-Philadelphia Catholic League. She gets face shielded and double and triple teamed by opponents who don’t even realize she’s in the ninth grade,” Armstrong said. “Penny Miller is another freshman, an excellent young defender for us. She came up with ground balls and caused turnovers. Honor Breen is doing great, not only in terms of goals, but also in scoring. She is a senior and another of our All-PCL kids.

“If you look at our team, I think all of our young girls are leaders in their own right. And we’re really setting the culture and the tone for the future, and we’re organically building a program through the Catholic elementary schools that refer to O’Hara.”