Annie Woehling knows the signs. They come in distorted purplish welts and bruises on her arms and legs - her personal badges of honor. They tell the Radnor junior goalkeeper she's doing a good job of keeping the enemy away, sacrificing herself for the good of her team and enabling Radnor to keep winning.
Woehling buried her bruised legs in ice Thursday night after making 10 saves in the rain-suspended first half of the girls' PIAA District 1 lacrosse championship against Springfield. She finished the job yesterday, as the game resumed, with Woehling making more key saves in propelling the Red Raiders to an 8-6 victory over Springfield (Delco) at West Chester Henderson High School to capture Radnor's first-ever District 1 lacrosse title.
The defending state champion Red Raiders (22-1) got their chance to avenge last year's district championship loss to Springfield (20-2), but had to come back from four goals down to do it.
Much of the credit for keeping Radnor in the game goes to Woehling, who steered away 13 shots, perhaps none more important than Springfield's Alex Poplawski's shot from about 10 yards out with roughly 14 minutes left it the game and Radnor trailing, 6-4.
"I actually like it when shots come at me one after another," Woehling said. "It keeps me focused and always ready. I see the ball better."
With Woehling throwing up a stone front, Radnor's offense did the rest. Kelyn Freedman scored two goals, including the game-winner with 8 minutes, 43 seconds left in the game. Ali Kelly added an insurance goal, her third of the game, with just under 3 minutes to play.
"This game was a real boost to our confidence," said Freedman, bound for Georgetown on a lacrosse scholarship. "We wanted to play Springfield in the district championship because of what happened last year, so yes, you can say it was a little revenge for them beating us in last year's district championship. But this game meant a little, because it showed what we can do, and it showed that we can play even better than we did.
"We were down by 4 and we came back. And with Annie playing the way she is in the net, we know we have someone who will always have our backs and allows us to take chances on defense. But this isn't done yet; our goal is to get back into the state championship and repeat."
Radnor's first step toward repeating begins Tuesday against North Penn in the state playoffs. Springfield will have to work its way back through the Western bracket, opening against Central League rival Strath Haven.
Springfield comes up short
The Springfield boys' lacrosse team was riding a 17-game winning streak into yesterday's PIAA District 1 championship game against Central League rival Conestoga.
The Cougars were giving up a scant 4.0 goals a game, but Conestoga, the defending district champion, had a few things to avenge. For one, the Pioneers scored a season-low three goals in Springfield's regular-season overtime victory. And another motivator was wanting to repeat as district champion.
The Pioneers got two goals accomplished yesterday at Harriton High, taking a commanding first-quarter lead behind a quick-strike, transition offense on their way to an 8-4 district championship win over Springfield.
Bob Gildea scored twice for Springfield (19-2), and Colin Keegan and Josh Cavanaugh each added goals. Seven different players scored for Conestoga (20-2), with Peter Bowers' two goals leading the way.
"It's not easy to beat a team twice like that," Cougars coach Mike Friel said.
Springfield will open the state playoffs Tuesday against Central Bucks East.
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