Quaker Valley girls lacrosse rallies past Franklin Regional to win in overtime

Monday, May 21, 2018 | 9:33 PM

Katherine Blaugrund didn't have much time to enjoy being on her feet Monday night at Seneca Valley's NexTier Stadium. The Quaker Valley midfielder was taken down moments after scoring her first overtime winner with 1 minute, 48 seconds left in the period.

The Quakers' 13-12 victory in the WPIAL Class AA semifinals denied Franklin Regional its first appearance in the finals since 2010. Quaker Valley (14-4) won in a performance coach Nellie Kraus described as “true grit.”

“That comes from the relationships we have with each other,” Blaugrund said. “That has nothing to do with me. That has to do with the team being excited we can take our seniors to the WPIAL championship.”

The No. 7 Quakers never led and had to overcome three separate three-goal deficits to topple No. 6 Franklin Regional (15-4). The Panthers will now have to play No. 4 Mars in the third-place game for the second straight year to earn a PIAA bid.

Quaker Valley will play No. 1 Hampton Thursday at Robert Morris to try and win its first title since 2011.

“We've had an amazing season so far,” Kraus said. “We've been down quite a few goals and came back and came back. I knew the girls had it in them. They were a second-half team. I was never not confident we could pull the game off.”

Franklin Regional — which led 11-8 after Christina Hodowanec scored her fourth goal of the game with 11 minutes, 2 seconds remaining — lost the lead late.

Blaugrand cut the deficit to one with 4:03 remaining, while Megan Harkins scored off a scramble with 1:28 remaining to even the game.

“We've been down by three several times this season, and each time we managed to come back,” Blaugrund said. “We were a little slow to the start. … We focused on staying calm.”

The Quakers were able to continuously rally by being strong at face-offs. Quaker Valley was stymied by Franklin Regional goaltender Kendra Delissio, who turned away several shots off penalty restarts.

“They were able to win the draw,” Franklin Regional coach McKenzie McGuire said. “(Blaugrund) is strong on the draw. My girl shut her down the whole game. She had maybe one goal. She's the leading scorer by 25 points, so my defense did a great job taking her out of the game. We got a few bad bounces, and it didn't go our way. That's what killed us in the end.”

The Panthers seemed destined for a finals berth after a strong beginning. The Panthers scored three times in the first seven minutes and were adept at drawing fouls. Franklin Regional saw leads of 3-0, 5-2 and 11-8 slip away.

Abby Smith led the Quakers with three goals, while Rachel Rock, Blaugrund and Gina Atwood all scored twice.

While the Panthers never trailed until Blaugrund's tally, they were never able to find the separation needed to continue their march.

“I think my girls outplayed them and outfought them,” McGuire said. “It didn't go our way in the end.”

Josh Rizzo is a freelance writer.

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