Conestoga “holds the rope” in win over Great Valley

From by Jeff Kerr
The first test of the season didn’t seem to bother Monica Borzillo nor her Conestoga teammates.
The Pioneers have played in plenty of big games before and won their fair share of them. Saturday morning’s affair against nonleague rival Great Valley was no different.
Borzillo had three goals and three assists as Conestoga used a dominant first half to pull away for a 13-6 win over Great Valley, but the win wasn’t her primary focus.
Going into the contest, Borzillo was in charge of “holding the rope,” which has been a rallying cry for the Pioneers throughout the season since they lost 2015 leading scorer Scottie Growney to a season-ending injury.
“If one teammate is doing bad, the others pick them up and ‘hold the rope’,” Borzillo said. “You’re in charge of bring them back up. Everyone today played a role in that.”
Conestoga (6-0) didn’t have to hold the rope too long against the Patriots thanks to a fast start that gave the Pioneers a lead they would never relinquish.
Borzillo, Sondra Dickey and Liz Scott each scored to give Conestoga a 3-0 lead with 18:02 left in the first half. Dickey and Scott’s goals came within a 29-second span in the first five minutes of the game that sparked the Pioneers’ offensive output throughout the morning.
“Once the first goal went in, that was motivation to get another one,” Borzillo said. “We have so many scorers on this team that can pick each other up throughout the game. If we’re not scoring, we preach to ‘get it (the ball) back.’
“That happened a lot today. We forced a lot of turnovers and kept that momentum going.”
The Patriots (4-2) were on the other side of that momentum swing as they faced a 6-1 deficit after Borzillo earned her third goal of the game with 7:13 left in the first half. Turnovers doomed Great Valley from the start as the Patriots only were able to muster two shots on goal up to that point.
“We got beat early to every ball,” said Great Valley head coach Kim Wenger. “Our possessions were not quality possessions and they capitalized off them. We got in a hole and did not come back from it.”
The Patriots cut the score to 6-3 after two goals in 1:03 from Steph Aker and Ashlyn Smith, but Hannah Ashton ended any signs of life from Great Valley with back-to-back goals to stretch the lead back to five (8-3) with 2:21 left in the first half.
Ashton led Conestoga with five goals and an assist on the day. She has 15 goals and three assists on the season.
“It feels amazing to score that many goals against a team like that,” Ashton said. “This win was so huge for a confidence boost and giving us more momentum in the second half of the year. Our whole team was excellent today.”
Dickey finished with two goals for Conestoga and has 16 on the year. Borzillo’s performance put her at 18 goals and 22 assists for the season.
A flawless performance by Conestoga was the result of hard work throughout the week. A near-performance of Saturday throughout the postseason could have Conestoga playing in June once again.
“We’re just trying to mesh together really well on the field,” Ashton said. “Today, it happed to work out that way. We now hope to go strong all the way through the second half and keep the momentum going.”
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