WEST GOSHEN - You really have to hand it to the Great Valley High School girls lacrosse team. Year after year, they just simply win, no matter the circumstances.
Just like this season for instance where the Patriots came into the campaign with only two returning starters, and a freshman starting in goal. No obstacle ever seems to stand in their way.
On Wednesday afternoon, Great Valley continued its dominance of the Ches-Mont as they clinched their third straight league title thanks to a 19-13 victory over host West Chester Henderson inside J. Oscar Dicks Stadium.
The game was the completion of this past Saturday night's suspended contest between the top two teams in the league standings, picking up where it was halted due to weather four days earlier with Great Valley holding a 12-8 advantage with 24:31 remaining.
The Patriots (10-0 league, 14-1 overall) were able to finish the job once play finally resumed, as they eventually pulled away to hand West Chester Henderson (7-2) just their second league loss.
By virtue of Unionville (7-2) beating Downingtown East (8-2) on Tuesday night, Great Valley was able to lock up its fourth title in five years despite having one big league game remaining tonight at Unionville.
Great Valley is now a remarkable 53-1 in the Ches-Mont League the last five years. Their only loss in that time came in 2011, the only year they didn't win the league, when they were edged out in the standings by a Downingtown East team that went on to finish second in the state.
They have now won 40 straight league games overall.
"It definitely says a lot about our program, and we take a lot of pride in that,' said Great Valley senior Jessie Boyle, who scored two goals in the win. "We wanted the league title so bad this year. It's always one of our main goals.
"From the beginning of the season we had a target on our backs. We know we are always going to get everybody's best game. To be able to rise up to that challenge every game and win the league, it's definitely a great feeling.'
Great Valley was led by senior Brittany Edwards, who netted a game-high eight goals.
Edwards and Boyle were the lone returning starters for Great Valley coming into this season. With that many holes to fill in the lineup, the Patriots certainly had a number of young players step up in a hurry this spring. One of those was freshman goalie Mia Tornetta, who has been a standout this season, and she finished with nine saves against a dangerous Henderson squad, surrendering only one goal in the final 13 minutes.
"Everybody contributed this season,' said Great Valley coach Joe Tornetta. "There's been a lot of hard work and mental preparation that has gone into it, and our captains have done a great job.
"We have such a young team, so for us to be where we are at this point in the season, I'm very surprised. For these kids to win the championship is just unbelievable. It's a credit to these kids. They have been a success with a capital ' S'.'
West Chester Henderson, meanwhile, still finds itself sitting in a three-way tie in the loss column for second place in the league. The Warriors, who received a team-high five goals from Penn State-bound senior midfielder Katie O'Donnell, tried to rally once play resumed on Wednesday.
Trailing by four goals at the start, Henderson cut the deficit to as low as two, 14-12, with 13:42 to play when O'Donnell scored her third goal of the half.
That would be as close as they would get, however.
Great Valley closed the game on a 5-1 run from that point forward.
The Patriots got a strong game from Olivia Muscella, who scored three goals, including the final one of the game with 1:19 left to seal the deal.
Megan Buettner, Natalie Kahn and Linnea Hughes each added two goals apiece as well.
Although they had built a four-goal lead before the game was suspended on Saturday, Great Valley approached the conclusion Wednesday feeling that it was a brand new game.
"We came into it trying to win the final 24-plus minutes that were left,' said Tornetta. "It was about winning today's game.
"Katie [O'Donnell] is a challenge in herself, and we knew they were going to throw everything they had at us, and play like they had nothing to lose. Our kids really handled that well. Our defense did a great job of tightening up when we needed them to.'
Great Valley 19
W.C. Henderson 13
Great Valley 12 7 — 19
W.C. Henderson 8 5 — 13
Great Valley goals: Edwards 8, Muscella 3, Buettner 2, J. Boyle 2, Kahn 2, Hughes 2.
W.C. Henderson goals: O'Donnell 5, Hagen 3, Laudermilch 2, Heisman 2, Lampe. Goalie saves: Tornetta (GV) 9; Cantor (WCH) 7.