Mighty Margie Carden helps Villa Maria advance to PIAA finale

There is definitely nothing small about her game.

Margie Carden was huge Tuesday evening at West Chester Rustin, where the 5-foot-1 freshman helped Villa Maria Academy knock off defending champ Radnor, 14-8, in the semifinals of the PIAA girls’ 2A lacrosse playoffs.

Saturday at 10 a.m. at West Chester East, the Hurricanes will play the winner between District 3’s Susquehannock and Kennard Dale.

On Tuesday, Carden, one-third of a set of triplets, scored a team-high four goals, including three in a row that helped stymie a Raiders regroup that helped the Hurricanes seize control for good.

“Her teammates call her ‘Big Marge’ for a reason,” said second-year coach Allie Sweeney, a 2008 Villa grad who also played lacrosse at Bucknell.

Sweeney said Carden has started every game this season and never really played like a typical freshman.

“She seems kind of quiet and small, but she has this huge personality,” Sweeney said.

Mighty Marge also has burgeoning confidence that is sometimes bolstered by the incredulous looks she gets from opponents.

“I use that to my advantage on the field,” said Carden, who also added an assist. “When I’m out there and people size me up like, ‘Oh, I’ll take this one because this will be easy.’ But then I use my speed and stick skills to get ahead of them …”

Long backyard lacrosse sessions with her brother Luke, who plays junior varsity at Malvern Prep, helped toughen her, she said. Practice time with the third triplet, Jacqueline, who plays on the Hurricanes’ JV team, also helped.

The Hurricanes (13-2), however, beat Radnor by committee on Tuesday after getting drubbed by the Raiders, 20-8, in last year’s quarterfinals.

Villa jumped to a 3-1 lead after Carden’s first goal with 16 minutes, 38 seconds left in the first half.

Radnor responded with two straight tallies before Carden scored thrice in a row — the first two, 15 seconds apart.

After a 7-5 edge at halftime, the upperclassmen helped the Hurricanes secure the game.

Senior Erin Finley and junior Abby Walheim added two goals apiece in the second half. Walheim finished with three goals and was dominant in draw controls (18-4), which helped Villa control the pace.

Radnor was led by sophomore Ellie Mueller, who scored six goals.

Villa’s defense, however, was led by juniors Adele Iacobucci and Kristy Kucia, and sophomore Maggie Powers.

If it did break down, the Hurricanes’ last line of defense was handled capably by senior goaltender Maddie Medve, who finished with six saves and only had to make two in the second half (both in the last two minutes).

Sweeney never competed for a state title as a standout player at Villa. Guiding her girls from the sideline, though, might be even better.

“I always wanted those big wins and as a coach, it’s that much sweeter,” she said. “I’m really proud of them and they’ve been working really hard. It’s exciting.”

Villa Maria 7 7 14
Radnor 5 3 8

VM: Margie Carden 4, Abby Walheim 3, Erin Finley 2, Hannah Young 2, Bridget Finley, Sarah Delaney, Paige DeMutis.

R: Ellie Mueller 6, Tori DiCarlo, Julie Rigolizzo.

Saves: VM — Maddie Medve 6; R — Phoebe Proctor 6.