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June 4, 2017 — Geography, not runaways the hallmark of the new PIAA postseason

This spring, the Pennsylvania public schools have expanded their girls’ lacrosse tournament from one tournament to two.

Unlike what happened in field hockey in the fall, the story has not been about runaway scores. Yes, there have been nine games out of the 24 played where the game finished under a running clock (and, for the record, two more that were a goal short).

What has been immediately evident from the results, especially for the smaller schools of Class 2A, is that schools which had no chance of winning in the past have been given a chance to play for a state championship. One such a school is Fairview (Pa.) Township, a school located three miles from the shores of Lake Erie. They came out of District 10 to get into the main draw.

What’s also become evident is that the power in the state of Pennsylvania comes from the southeast corner of the state. Of the eight teams remaining in the postseason, all eight come from just three districts: District 1, District 3, and District 12. In other words, draw a line due east from Harrisburg to the Delaware River, and another due south to the Maryland border, and all eight schools lie in that area.

Because of that, the way that the tournament went, it was apparent that one of the two finalists in the Class 2A tournament would be from District 1, since the four top seeds coming from the district tournament — Radnor (Pa.), Downingtown Bishop Shanahan (Pa.), Malvern Villa Maria (Pa.), and Gwynedd Valley Gwynedd-Mercy Academy (Pa.) — were all in the quarterfinals in the upper half of the 2A bracket.

By the same token, the 3A tournament may have had the unintended consequence of having the best game of the tournament in the second round. Yesterday, Glen Mills Garnet Valley (Pa.) beat Tredyffrin Conestoga (Pa.) 11-10 in the quarterfinals. The Garnets will meet Radnor Archbishop Carroll (Pa.) in Tuesday’s semifinal round.

Meanwhile, in the lower half of the 3A bracket, fellow District 1 participants Springfield (Pa.) and Downingtown (Pa.) East will meet in the semifinals.

Should make for interesting times come next Saturday morning in the finals.

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