By BRAD SPAHR
EAST WHITELAND - Each and every spring, sure as chirping birds and leaves growing back onto trees, you can count on the Great Valley High School girls lacrosse team being the ones to beat in the Ches-Mont League.
The Patriots success has been incredible over the years, as they've dominated the area scene, losing a total of only one game in the league the past five seasons.
So far this spring, they are rolling right along and find themselves exactly where they expect to be.
On Thursday night, Great Valley remained undefeated on the season and kept a firm hold on sole possession of first place in the Ches-Mont as they cruised to a 19-3 league victory over visiting Coatesville.
Great Valley (7-0 Ches-Mont, 11-0 overall) sprinted out to a 13-3 halftime lead and never looked back, as the entire second half was played under the mercy-rule, with a running clock.
On Senior Recognition Night, it was only fitting that a senior led the way. Standout midfielder Brittany Edwards netted a game-high eight goals in the rout.
Edwards scored five of those in the opening half for the two-time defending Ches-Mont League champions.
"We take a lot of pride in trying to live up to the reputation that's been set here by all the players and teams that have come before us,' said Edwards. "I feel like we have always had a target on our backs since I've been here, and we really like that because it pushes us to play our best every game.'
Great Valley is now 50-1 in the Ches-Mont League the last five seasons. They've went undefeated in winning the league title in 2010, 2012 and 2013. The only time in that span they didn't win the league, 2011, they went 10-1 and suffered their only loss to a Downingtown East squad who went on to finish second in the state.
The Patriots are playing great once again this season, but longtime head coach Joe Tornetta knows there is still plenty of lacrosse left to go.
Great Valley has a challenging stretch of games upcoming: at District 3 power Manheim Township on Saturday; at West Chester Henderson on April 29; at home against Conestoga on May 3; home against Kennett on May 6; and at Unionville on May 8.
"We have a lot of tough games coming up,' said Tornetta. "So far the kids are really getting it done this season. It's a young group, but they've come together and played big in some big games. We are going to have to continue to do that.'
In the win over Coatesville (1-6 league), Great Valley also received a strong game from senior midfielder Jessie Boyle, who scored three goals. Sophomore midfielder Megan D'Ginto was their other top scorer with two goals on the night.
Six other players added goals as well.
Coatesville, who was led by Sam Ramirez's two goals, has shown plenty of improvement and found themselves in a 2-2 tie with the heavily favored Patriots just over five minutes into the contest.
Three straight tallies by Great Valley, though, from Megan Buettner, Boyle and then Ashlyn Smith gave the home team a quick 5-2 lead.
Coatesville was able to get one back, on a goal from Ramirez to cut it to 5-3 with 14:05 left in the first half.
However, the Red Raiders wouldn't score the rest of the game as freshman goalie Mia Tornetta (five saves) and the Great Valley defense slammed the door shut.
With four league games remaining, Great Valley controls its own destiny in its quest for a third straight Ches-Mont championship. If they win out, the league title is all theirs.
"Every year our goal is to put ourselves in position in the league,' said Tornetta. "Now our goal is to finish the job.'
Great Valley 19
Coatesville 3 0 — 3
Great Valley 13 6 — 19
Coatesville goals: Ramirez 2, Hoy.
Great Valley goals: Edwards 8, J. Boyle 3, D'Ginto 2, Buettner, Hughes, Liberatoscioli, Verrecchia, Smith, Keith.
Goalie saves: B. Ross (C) 12; Tornetta (GV) 5.