Sam Ellis knew the day would come.
The Radnor senior knew she would be holding up the first PIAA state championship lacrosse trophy. It was just a matter of time. She just didn't know what to do when it did happen. So she ran around in circles for what seemed like 5 minutes, her cheeks hurting from smiling so much.
The Red Raiders made history on Saturday, beating Strath Haven convincingly, 20-10, at HersheyPark Stadium in the first girls' state lacrosse championship. Radnor finished one of those seasons for the ages at 26-1, 49-1 over the last two seasons.
Ellis, who led Radnor with six goals and is headed to Princeton, was only one of two starting seniors for Radnor in the championship game, along with Beasley Hays (Colgate). Another starting senior had been goaltender Katie Geary (William & Mary), who was injured halfway into the season.
It was a bittersweet ending for Ellis, heartbreaking to part ways with girls she has played with for 10 years, though exhilarating being on a championship team.
"Nothing will replace the feeling of playing high school lacrosse, and playing and living with the girls who have become like family to me," Ellis said. "That game basically showed our determination and our sense of confidence. Everyone was out to get us this year and we knew that.
"I'll tell you this, no one was going to beat us on Saturday. When we were down 2-0 early, we basically knew what we had to do. Once we started playing, that was it. I definitely think we gave everyone a great showing of what Radnor lacrosse is all about."
Strath Haven (21-5) took the 2-0 lead on goals by All-American Emily Garrity (North Carolina), but goals from Ellis and Kelyn Freedman tied the score at 2-2. Then, within an 83-second stretch, the team that every opponent in the state aimed for, and feared, arrived.
Radnor scored four goals in that span, two from junior Courtney Campbell, one each by junior Allie Martin and Ellis. Radnor would score 11 unanswered goals and led 11-2 midway into the first half.
That was it.
"It was, there were no doubts at all we were going to lose that game," said Freedman, a junior who finished with four goals. "We usually get off to slow starts, then when we stepped it up and turned it around, we played our game. It was over in the first half, for the most part."
When Radnor lost the District 1 championship on May 21 to Central League rival Springfield, Freedman immediately took off the district runner-up medal. But that state championship medal was staying around her neck.
"It was awesome holding the state championship trophy and getting that medal," said Freedman, who has already committed to Georgetown. "I couldn't believe we did it, which is kind of funny because winning states was something we thought we were going to do anyway." *