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Shanahan edged by Radnor in state 2A semis

By Harry Chaykun
Phillylacrosse.com

Radnor goalie Alexa Solomon said her best friend is tall and strong and tough at the right times.

Radnor’s Julianne Puckette

Solomon made three of her five saves in the second half, but the biggest stop was provided by her buddy, the pipe atop the goal cage, as her Raiders earned a hard-fought 4-3 decision over Bishop Shanahan in a PIAA Class AA semifinal.

The win vaulted the Raiders (18-7) into Saturday’s PIAA Class AA championship at West Chester East (10 a.m.) vs. District 3 runner-up Kennard-Dale.

Solomon had several keys stops in the final half, the last being one on Shanahan sophomore Jessica Holowsko with less than 1:30 to play.

“I love that thing,” Solomon said of the top post. “It really saved me.”

Radnor won the first two PIAA championships (2009 and 2010), then lost in the final in 2013 to Harriton and 2016 to Conestoga when there was one classification. Kennard-Dale will be the first team from outside the Philly region to play for the state title since the PIAA sanctioned lacrosse in 2009.

Radnor scored the first two goals of each half Tuesday. Shanahan (15-8) got one goal back before halftime and held the Raiders scoreless for the last 23 minutes and 36 seconds of the second half.

“It was a long time before I had to make my first save,” Solomon said. “Our defense was strong.”

Sophomore Cate Cox, who scored six goals in Saturday’s quarterfinal win over Villa Maria, set up Nicole Massimino and Julianne Puckette (two goals) for Radnor’s first-half scores.

Alyssa Manley rolled the crease and beat Solomon to put Shanahan on the board 1:41 before the break.

The Raiders, who turned the ball over 12 times in the opening half, went right to work building on their advantage in the second half. Puckette scored in the opening minute, then Hope Smith added a goal 51 seconds later. It would be the last Radnor would get, thanks to solid play in goal by Shanahan’s Jess Gorr and strong defensive work from the Eagles’ Abigail Bailey, Holowsko, Hannah Tronski, Madison Parke, Kenzie Staska and Anna Seifert.

When these teams met in the District 1 finals, Radnor coasted, 12-6. It was much tougher this time.

“We were prepared because we saw what they had done in the district finals,” Shanahan coach Laura Capuano said. “We have a lot of people coming back, and this kind of experience might help them reach the next level.”

The second half was almost 12 minutes old when Shanahan’s Holowsko converted an 8-meter shot to make it 4-1. Six minutes later, it was Lindsay McShea making good on a free-position attempt, cutting Radnor’s lead to one with 7:03 to play.

Five minutes after Gorr turned away a Puckette scoring attempt, Radnor goalie Solomon got help from her friend, the goal cage pipe, and the game remained 4-3.

As Shanahan was attempting to bring the ball up the field to work for the tying goal, Puckette made a clean strip and Radnor was a little more than a minute from getting the chance to play for another state championship.

“Shanahan had a great offensive game plan today,” Radnor coach Brooke Fritz said. “It’s a good thing our defense really worked hard out there.”

Radnor 4, Bishop Shanahan 3
Bishop Shanahan     1 2 – 3
Radnor                         2 2 – 4
Bishop Shanahan: Alyssa Manley 1G, Jessica Holowski 1G, Kaela Smith 1G. Jess Gorr 10 saves.
Radnor: Julianne Puckette 2G, Nicole Massimino 1G, Hope Smith 1G, Cate Cox 2A. Alexa Solomon 5 saves.

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