WEST CHESTER — Down five goals at halftime of Saturday’s PIAA Class 3A girls lacrosse championship game, Manheim Township twice cut its deficit to three goals in the second half.

The latter came with under eight minutes remaining. The Blue Streaks won the ensuing draw control and had a chance to trim Radnor’s lead even more, but a Megan Rice shot was stopped.

It was Manheim Township’s last shot of the day. Radnor scored the game’s final three goals en route to an 11-5 victory under the sun on the turf at West Chester East High School.

“We felt at 6-1 we were in the game,” Manheim Township veteran coach Mark Pinkerton said of his team’s halftime deficit. “So at halftime it was all good and we were ready to go. It felt like we got some of the jitters out early.”

The Streaks (21-6) came up short in the state final for the third-straight season.

“Monkey is not off the back. Buffalo Bills, wild right,” Pinkerton said.

He was referencing the NFL’s Buffalo Bills losing four-straight Super Bowl games from 1991 through 1994, with the 1991 loss coming on a potential game-winning field goal try that instead went wide right in the final seconds.

Still, Manheim Township is one of just five girls lacrosse programs teams in the state to make at least three appearances in the state final, and the only to do so three consecutive seasons.

“It says that we buy in,” Pinkerton said. “My kids buy in. They take the ego out of it. They play for team. We work really hard.”

Manheim Township sophomore keeper Maddie Eckert continued her stellar postseason play with 14 saves.

But Radnor (22-2) dominated the draw control, winning 14 of the 18 midfield battles, which first-year Radnor coach Kristin Addis credited to the teachings of assistant coach Shannon McGarrigle.

“Shannon was a draw control queen at University of Delaware,” Addis said. “And really learned the trade of it. So she was able to teach our kids and we had a couple different styles, so that’s part of it sometimes.”

Radnor, the third-place team from District One, also forced Manheim Township, the third-place team from District Three, into nine turnovers, seven of them in the first half, where four of Radnor’s six scores in the opening salvo came after Blue Streak giveaways.

“We talked about that from my first day this season,” Addis said. “We were going to ride really hard to make it hard for opposing teams to get the ball into their offensive zone. It’s a mentality. We drilled that a lot. I told our attackers, ‘You’re not here just to score goals. You’re playing defense as well.’”

Both teams were often patient on offense, working the ball around to look for the right shot, which is partly why Lancaster-Lebanon League regular season and tournament champion Manheim Township was able to remain within two goals until the last 11 minutes of the first half.

“We had trouble connecting early,” Addis said. “And getting in an offensive rhythm. I also want to credit Manheim. They played an outstanding game. They were really pesky the entire game.”

Back-to-back Manheim Township goals coming out of halftime cut its deficit to 6-3 with 19:30 left. Radnor answered with a pair to push its lead to 8-3 before Manheim Township responded with two-straight scores to make it 8-5 with 7:33 remaining.

The Streaks got two goals apiece from Rice and Sydney Witwer, while Alyssa Dotter accounted for the fifth score.

Manheim Township will return eight starters next season.

"So we’ll be chomping at the bit next year," Pinkerton said. "District One, look out. We’ll be back.”


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