RADNOR — Boyertown trailed Radnor by just a goal at halftime in Thursday afternoon's second round of the District 1 girls lacrosse playoffs. But the margin did not tell the tale of how the Bears arrived at that score.
It did not bode well for the second half.
Boyertown had allowed five straight goals coming into the intermission and had clearly lost its early momentum. The second half did not start any better and the Red Raiders eventually ran their string of goals to 16 and ended Boyertown's season, 19-9.
Sara Curley led sixth-seeded Radnor (16-4) — last year's PIAA runner-up — with six goals and Reilly Masterson added five. Haley Wentzel and Marie Valenti each scored three for 11th-seeded Boyertown (18-4).
"We should have come out confident and aggressive,' said Curley. "We had no reason not to. But we came out slow and shy.'
Instead, it was the underdog Bears — who dropped last year's district third-place match to the Raiders by a 15-5 score — who came out confidently. Valenti scored 2:36 into the match, Wentzel countered a Masterson goal with three in a row, and Alex O'Herrick scored off a pass from Emma Morgan to make it 5-1 in favor of Boyertown with 14:03 remaining until the half.
Then, for no apparent reason, the Bears suddenly lost their edge and would never find it again.
Masterson and Curley scored in the next two minutes to cut the lead in half and Boyertown called a time out. That did little good because Curley and Masterson scored again quickly and Kate Stanley tallied with 1:39 remaining until the half to put the Raiders up for good at 6-5.
"We kind of backed off and Radnor picked it up, and game over,' said Bear coach Pam Wernersbach. "We couldn't recover once we backed off our intensity.'
"Reilly scored those first two goals, and we said let's win the draws,' said Curley. "We had a little check. We started running our plays the way we usually do and things started going our way.
"We said the game starts here. We finally felt we had gotten ourselves out of the hole we had gotten ourselves into.'
Thus, even the halftime break could not help the Bears as the Raiders picked up right where they had left off and put in an average of a goal a minute over the next eight to break the contest open.
"Even the break at halftime, we couldn't swing the momentum back to our favor,' said Wernersbach. "For 40 minutes of the game, they just flat out-played us.'
The Raiders actually blanked the Bears for 30 consecutive minutes in the middle of the match before Valenti broke the long dry spell off a pass from Alicia Stratton with 8:46 remaining in the contest.
Valenti added another goal and Hannah Jaskuta and Dana Siepietowski each scored as the Bears knocked in four in a row late in the match, but way too late to keep their season alive.
"We came in as the underdog and we had nothing to lose,' said Wernersbach. "We came out of the gate real fast.'
But not for long enough against the talented Raiders.
"It worked out even though it wasn't the way we wanted to start,' Curley added.