By BRAD SPAHR
email@example.comWEST GOSHEN - It's usually a pretty heated matchup when the Conestoga High School girls lacrosse team gets together with Garnet Valley.
Not only are they Central League foes, they just also happen to be two of the more consistent and successful programs in the state, so their paths tend to cross a good bit.
Adding a little spice to the rivalry was the fact that they met up in the opening round of the PIAA playoffs on Wednesday evening.
You expected it to be a battle, and this one certainly lived up to the hype. In what was a hotly contested showdown from start to finish, it was Garnet Valley who was able to emerge victorious when all was said and done as they pulled out a 13-11 win over Conestoga in their first round state tournament game at West Chester East High School's Harold I. Zimmerman Stadium.
The contest was tied 10-10 with 7:09 to play after Conestoga's Abby Lord scored the last of her game-high five goals.
However, from that point forward Garnet Valley (21-2 overall) took control as the District 1 runner-up Jaguars closed the game on a 3-1 run.
Three different players scored three goals to lead the Jaguars offense: senior midfielder Haley Warden, sophomore Emily Mathewson and senior attacker Erica Coyne.
Garnet Valley advances to the state quarterfinals on Saturday to take on another Central League foe in Harriton at a neutral site and time to be announced.
Conestoga (14-10), the fifth-place team out of District 1, saw its season come to a close with the loss.
Garnet Valley led 9-6 with 16:54 remaining on Mathewson's third goal of the night.
That was the biggest lead of the game for either team. But just when it seemed like things were slipping away from Conestoga, they came roaring right back.
Back-to-back goals by the Pioneers from Scottie Rose Growney and Lexy King cut the deficit to 9-8 with 10 minutes to play.
Garnet Valley quickly regained some breathing room, upping the cushion to 10-8 on Coyne's third goal of the game with 8:37 to play.
Conestoga, though, again responded with back-to-back goals. Both came from Lord in less than a minute, and just like that the game was tied at 10-10 with just over seven minutes left.
Garnet Valley's Dana Davis then netted a huge goal with 6:17 to go, putting the Jags up 11-10, which would be a lead they would never relinquish.
A few minutes later, Garnet Valley made it 12-10 when Sabrina Fusco scored with 3:40 left.
Conestoga made one last push, cutting it to 12-11 with 1:01 remaining when Sondra Dickey scored.
Garnet Valley, though, won the ensuing draw and burned a good portion of clock until Warden sealed the game with a goal that came with 17 seconds to go.
Garnet Valley 13
Conestoga 4 7 — 11
Garnet Valley 6 7 — 13
Conestoga goals: Lord 5, Friel 2, L. Scott, Growney, Dickey, King.
Garnet Valley goals: H. Warden 3, Mathewson 3, Coyne 3, Davis 2, Fusco 2.
Goalie saves: Horning (C) 5; Mitros (GV) 10.