Moments after preaching to his team at halftime to relax, Harriton girls' lacrosse coach George Dick paced on the sidelines with clenched fists, raised eyebrows, and a face that tried to do anything but yell.
Though he often failed to rein in his voice, his team did not struggle to stay composed. Harriton remained calm after Springfield (Delco) stormed back from a seven-goal halftime deficit to pull within two goals, holding on for a 12-10 win Thursday night at West Chester East and its first District 1 title since 1976.
"It's pretty awesome," Harriton goalie Melina Avery said. "We're like history now. We'll be remembered as the second team that got it."
As the team took a photo with the championship trophy, Dick raised his index finger toward the camera and said, "One shot," a line from a popular Eminem song he has used to motivate his team to seize its opportunity.
"If any team was going to win it at Harriton, it's this team," said Rams senior Caleigh Foust, who scored two goals. "We only have two seniors on our team, and we knew this was our only chance. It's awesome."
Avery made six saves off free possessions, including four in the second half to help the Rams maintain their lead.
"She always comes out when we really need her, and we owe it to her," Foust said. "She's always there to back us up."
"Melina's awesome," Dick said. "We were hanging on for dear life, and Melina did it.
Jane Henderson led the Rams (21-2) with three goals. In addition to Foust, Katie Melvin and Sabrina Tabasso scored twice each. Aly Gormley topped the Cougars (19-4) with four goals, and Alex Poplawski added three.
Harriton led, 10-3, at halftime. When Springfield made its charge late in the game, Harriton's knowledge of the situation and ability to stall proved crucial.
"It was frustrating," Foust said. "But we looked at the clock and we knew how to stall for a certain amount of time. I think we just all came together eventually."
Harriton 10 2 – 12
Springfield 3 7 – 10
Goals: H-Jane Henderson 3, Caleigh Foust 2, Katie Melvin 2, Sabrina Tabasso 2, Maura Henderson, Alex Ladda, Julia Marks; S-Aly Gormley 4, Alex Poplawski 3, Rachel Charmella 2, Emily Santana.
Saves: H-Melina Avery 11; S-Courtney O'Connell 1, Katie Bedard 6.