By Aaron Carter
Jules Horning is the last line of defense now. But for years – in soccer and lacrosse – the Conestoga senior goaltender waited in line alongside other talented goalies for the Lady Pioneers.
This season, however, the responsibility for both has been Horning’s alone.
“Being the last line of defense,” said Horning, who will play at Marquette next year, “it is hard sometimes, but I think it’s helped me become stronger mentally.”
Perhaps that strength helped Horning late in Conestoga’s victory against Archbishop Carroll in Monday’s highly anticipated matchup.
Undefeated Conestoga (16-0, 11-0), the No. 1 team in the state according to Laxpower.com, rallied from a two-goal halftime deficit to beat No. 2 Archbishop Carroll, 8-7, at the Proving Grounds in Conshohocken.
Monica Borzillo netted the eventual game-winner with 2 minutes, 28 seconds remaining, but the goal came after Horning made a difficult point-blank save that retained possession for the Central League Lady’s Pioneers.
After Borzillo’s heroics, Horning made another pulse-pounding save after Carroll’s Sam Swart (Syracuse) broke free for a breakaway opportunity.
“In the first half we had difficulties stopping her on the fast break,” Horning said. “She’s a talented player with a really good shot. Obviously when someone is running at me it’s not the greatest situation, but I can always count on my defense to slow them down.”
Last season during Conestoga’s PIAA runner-up lacrosse finish, Horning split halves with Laney Stenson, who is now a freshman goalie at Delaware.
As a junior on the soccer team, Horning also backed up Stenson and Aly Maneri, now a freshman keeper at Vermont.
“The mental aspect is probably hardest,” Horning said of playing goalie full-time. “In big games, there’s a lot of pressure.”
“Whenever you tell someone you’re a goalie,” she added, “people say,’Oh, I could never do that.’ But I definitely enjoy it and have a lot of pride in playing the position for my team.”
On Tuesday, Conestoga embarks upon its PIAA championship quest. Playoff seedings will be determined Sunday.