Springfield ekes out district title

Springfield's Kate Ryan (left) celebrates her goal in the final seconds with teammate Emily Santana. (Photo by Bradley C Bower)

Michelle DeBernardi leaned over the chain-linked fence that surrounded Haverford High's field.

"Get over here," she yelled.

Kate Ryan couldn't resist. She ran to DeBernardi and hugged her over the fence.

Ryan had just scored with 3.4 seconds left for Springfield (Delco) in a 10-9 victory Friday over Garnet Valley to give the Cougars their first District 1 Class AAA girls' lacrosse championship since 2009.

The bleachers were filled with friends and family, many of whom rearranged their schedules to accommodate the noon start after the game was postponed Thursday night. Ryan overheard her father making calls to make sure he could leave work in time to be at the game.

After Ryan celebrated with her teammates on the field, she heard a crowd of fans that reached over the fence and yelled her name, but she ignored their calls and stayed with her team until she received her medal.

When she went back to her bench area, she finally gave in to the crowd's requests when DeBernardi called her.

"She basically taught me how to play lacrosse," said Ryan, a senior who led Springfield with three goals.

"I don't even know how to describe it," Ryan said about the crowd's reaction. "It was awesome."

Ryan tied the game after she mishandled a pass from Emily Santana in front of the net. The ball fell to her feet, and she batted the loose ball off the ground and into the back of the net.

"Kate won it with a great slap shot," Springfield coach Keith Broome said. "The Flyers could have used her. She's a very laid-back player with great reflexes."

Top-seeded Garnet Valley (19-3) had tied the game when Emily Matthews scored with 33.8 seconds left. Matthews' fourth goal capped the Jaguars' string of three straight goals in 4 minutes, 50 seconds to tie the score.

For the second-seeded Cougars (21-2), their 12 seniors earned their first District 1 championship.

"I just got chills," said Santana, who scored twice. "It means so much. I've been playing with these girls forever."

Springfield 4 6 – 10

Garnet Valley 4 5 – 9

Goals: S-Kate Ryan 3, Emily Santana 2, Taylor DeBernardi, Autumn Spence, Cailyn Gormley, Aly Gormley, Emily Paulus; GV-Emily Mathewson 4, Dana Davis 2, Erica Coyne, Madison Valerio, Sabrina Fusco.

Saves: S-Katie Bedard 10; GV-Paige Mitros 8.