Solidarity Cements Twin Valley Women’s Lacrosse Team Championship Season

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While they would surely have preferred to be the first Berks County lacrosse team to win a PIAA championship, the Twin Valley girls achieved unprecedented success in 2022.

With a dynamic roster including six seniors, the Raiders (25-2) came one win away from being county, district and state champions after falling to Archbishop Carroll 10-8 in the final Class 2A State School Saturday at West Chester East High School.

“We can’t say enough about them (the senior executives),” Twin Valley coach Courtney Kaplan said. “I feel like I’m saying to the underclasses: watch and learn. These girls are just amazing leaders. They are really nice people. They take the time to get to work. They do whatever needs to be done.

“And then that translates to the field. They have been playing together since third grade. They can read each other’s minds. It’s a bit magical in attack, what they can do. They made our program so much better, and I’m so grateful to have taken this trip with them. It’s just amazing.

The Raiders repeated as Berks champions by defeating Wilson 16-6 and claimed their first District 3 Class 2A title by avenging a loss in 2021 with a 14-13 win over York Catholic. Twin Valley then beat their opponents 49-20 in the PIAA Tournament before becoming the first Berks lacrosse team to reach a state final.

Berks Player of the Year Anna Kaplan, Emma Raines, Julia Givens, Jade Shearer, Rachel Knight and Emma Winther were the senior members who started the season hoping to end their high school careers on the ultimate note: a “three-banner-year.”

But in defeat, the Raiders found solace in the bonds they had shared.

“I’m so happy to have arrived here; that’s what we wanted every four years,” Raines said. “Just getting here is such an honour, and we’re so happy. I’m not even upset about losing, I’m just upset that I can’t play anymore. And I think that’s the same for everything. the world.

Raines ended her high school career as the top scorer in Berks lacrosse history with 291 goals. She credited her teammates when asked to finish with such an accomplishment.

Twin Valley’s Emma Raines shoots past the Patriots goal during the PIAA Class 2A Women’s Lacrosse Championship game. (PHOTO COURTESY OF BILL SNOOK).

“They’re able to find me open and I’m just lucky to be there and finish it,” Raines said.

But despite all their accomplishments, what seems to resonate most with the Raiders is the love the teammates have for each other.

“It’s the best team you could ever ask for,” said Anna Kaplan. “It’s been a huge explosion with them all season. We give it to the juniors, or I guess the seniors now, and they know how to deal with the feelings, the team, everything. So we trust them. »

Along with strong team chemistry, Twin Valley has been guided by a coaching staff that has helped them grow as athletes and people.

“Since freshman year, I never expected to be in this position in my senior year going to the state championship (game),” Winther said Friday. “I can’t express how much Courtney (Kaplan) and Kate (Munn) and Sue (Bennett) have helped me become an amazing player and person. They have always emphasized sportsmanship and responsibility, and I think that made me grow not only as a lacrosse player, but also off the field.

“I cannot express my thanks to them enough. They have always been a rock for us. It was awesome.

Emma Winther running with the ball against the Patriots in the PIAA Class 2A Women's Lacrosse Championship.  (PHOTO COURTESY OF BILL SNOOK).
Twin Valley’s Emma Winther (6) looks down against Archbishop Carroll in the PIAA Class 2A title match on Saturday at West Chester East. (PHOTO COURTESY OF BILL SNOOK).

Although the Raiders in 2023 will be without the graduating seniors who have recorded 510 points (314 goals, 196 assists), Courtney Kaplan has no doubt that Twin Valley will strive for similar heights in the coming years.

“We don’t want to come down from where we are,” Kaplan said. “We have a ton of sophomores on this team. So they have the option to continue. And, you know, we’re going to get Sarah Gowman (who missed the season through injury) next year. It’s a huge strength that we didn’t have this year and we’ve come this far without a player like her too. So yes, the future is definitely bright.


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