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Mount Lacrosse earns first-ever PIAA berth with District 1-2A quarters win over Jenkintown

Mount Lacrosse earns first-ever PIAA berth with District 1-2A quarters win over Jenkintown

The following article by Mike Cabrey appeared in PA Prep Live. Article & photo by Mike Cabrey. Read the full article here >>

SPRINGFIELD >> For Mount Saint Joseph girls lacrosse coach Dipi Bhaya, a key this season was finding ‘What’s our why?’

Becoming the first team in program history to reach the PIAA tournament was definitely one of those motivators for the Magic.

“Our biggest thing is we didn’t have a season last year, the why is they just are trying to do things to raise the level,” Bhaya said. “This whole big thing is getting to a spot they’ve never been and doing it for the seniors last year and just keep on staying with the team as long as they can.”

Thursday afternoon, third-seeded Mount finally earned their spot in states, scoring the first six goals against visiting No. 6 Jenkintown and never looking back to claim a 14-5 victory over the Drakes in the District 1-2A quarterfinals.

“We’ve been working for years for this,” Magic senior Devon McGarvey said. “It was something we really wanted two years ago and we wanted to do last year and with the season ending because of COVID we were really determined this year to make it happen.”

McGarvey, Campbell Donovan and Lauren Maher each scored three goals as the AACA co-champs advanced to visit No. 2 Strath Haven – a 15-5 winner over No. 7 New Hope-Solebury – in the semifinals 7 p.m. Tuesday.

“We are not even anywhere near how good I think we can be but for them, I’m really happy that they are achieving little things,” Bhaya said. “But for me, as just this keep raising our level and keep going, of course we’re not going to be happy until we win the whole thing, right? But I’m happy for them, I just keep wanting them to realize they have so much more potential.”

McGarvey collected three assists, Donovan recorded two helpers while Ava Rossi and Kate Donovan both had two goals for the Magic (16-3), who led 8-1 at halftime. Jenkintown (15-4) scored 32 seconds after the break but Mount responded with a 5-1 run to go up 13-3.

“Campbell and Devon really ran the offense for us today and really moved the ball nicely,” Bhaya said. “And just kind of distribute it well to some of the underclassmen we had in there and some of the other people that fit right in.”

Mount had come up a win short of states in the previous two district playoffs – losing to Gwynedd Mercy in the 2018 quarters then falling to Villa Maria in the same round a year later.

“It’s really exciting,” Campbell Donovan said. “We’ve been working really hard this whole season so it’s really nice to see that our hard work is paying off.”

Sam Pizer had a goal and an assist while goalkeeper Karolyn Mitchell made eight saves for Jenkintown, which reached the district quarters after losing in the 2A first round the previous three tournaments.

“I have people researching to find out the last time Jenkintown won a playoff game, so it’s been a long time,” Drakes coach Bob Cummings said. “So like I told these guys, this isn’t been done in a long time and they should be really proud of just getting to this point.”

Mount goalie Annie Shields denied the Drakes on a few eight-meter shots in finishing with nine saves. Emily Riethmiller came in late for Mount in the second half and posted three saves.

“(Shields) was actually injured and hurt and she played through her injuries and we’re very proud of her,” Bhaya said. “She’s just been a quality, standout player for us and we’re lucky she chose Mount. And she’s doing great for us but it was nice to see that the defense in front of her did a great job in their slides and their double teams to try to minimize some of those shots.”

McGarvey scored just 38 seconds into Thursday’s contest while Rossi doubled the Mount lead at 23:36. Kate Donovan scooped up a loose ball in traffic and scored to make it 3-0 at 21:36.

Woolley converted an eight-meter shot at 15:18 while McGarvey connected with an incoming Kate Donovan for a goal at 13:59. Rossi finished a Magic transition by finding the back of the net at 10:48 for a 6-0 lead.

“We worked hard at practice yesterday so going into it we knew we had the confidence and we also had the stick skills,” Donovan said. “We worked hard yesterday on our offense so I think that helped execute six goals in the game.”

Lauren Brockwell tallied the Drakes’ first goal off a Pizer assist at 9:10 but Campbell Donovan scored off a McGarvey assist at 6:34 while McGarvey’s goal on an eight-meter shot at 4:30 had Mount up seven at halftime.

“Our goalie had a lot of nice saves the second half but she started off a little cool and they were putting them in the corners and getting nice shots right away,” Cummings said. “And then, yeah, they got that early lead, it was tough to come back from that.”

Kaelin DiMaria had the Drakes within 8-2 at 24:28 in the second half but Campbell Donovan responded on an eight-meter shot at 23:22 while the Mount junior found Maher for her first goal at 20:43 to put the Magic up 10-2.

Pizer scored on an eight-meter shot at 17:47 but the Magic posted the next four goals to push their lead into double digits. Campbell Donovan struck on an eight meter at 12:15 while Maher scored off a McGarvey assist at 11:31. Eight-meter tallies McGarvey and Maher made it 14-3.