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Boys’ notebook: Fourth-ranked La Salle has a bigger goal than rankings in mind

Sunday, 27th April 2008

Categories Boy's/Men's, High School  
 

By Chris Goldberg & Willie McGonigle
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/27/08

La Salle is ranked fourth in the nation, according to the latest STX/Inside Lacrosse National Scholastic Poll.

Are the Explorers basking in the impressive recognition? Not really.

After La Salle defeated Ridley, 9-4, for its 20th straight win Saturday at the Katie Samson Lacrosse Festival, nobody on the team was too concerned about national rankings.

“We’re not too worried about the polls right now, we’re just trying to play hard,” said La Salle junior Westy Hopkins, who led the way with four goals. “Really, all we want is to win the state championship and we’re not going to stop until we get there.”

La Salle is also ranked first in the area by Phillylacrosse.com and in the Eastern Pennsylvania Scholastic Lacrosse Association Coaches Poll. Ridley (13-2) is ranked fourth in each poll.

The balanced Explorers also got goals Saturday from Matt Lynch, Kevin Forster, Randy Forster, Pete Schwartz and Gordie Wells. Steady goalie Niko Amato had nine saves.

Ridley came into play with a seven-game winning streak and had allowed only five goals per game.

“Our coaches did a great job of preparing us and we had a real physical week of practice,” Hopkins said. “The defense is doing a great job and the offense can get better.”

Explorers coach Bill Leahy said the national ranking means nothing compared to the quest of taking the final EPSLA title and the last Keystone championship before the PIAA takes over jurisdiction of boys’ lacrosse next year and the Inter-Ac League powers are not involved in the state tournament.

“We want to be the last EPSLA champs, unless they’re going to give it to us free because we’re fourth-ranked,” said Leahy. “We still have things to work on.

“I don’t think we’ve played our best lacrosse, which is a good thing. Our shooting percentage in terms of finishing is very average. We shot an awful lot for scoring nine goals.”

St. Joe’s Prep enjoys win over Radnor

St. Joseph’s Prep, ranked eighth by Phillylacrosse.com, improved to 14-3 at Katie Samson by defeating Radnor, 9-3, as Brendan Glynn scored three goals while Kenny Lankford and Brendan O’Donnell added two apiece.

“Today’s theme was that we wanted to play a collective game in terms of a sound effort from the offensive half and the defensive half,” said Prep coach Dan Keating. “Our hats go off to Radnor for giving a great effort. The key was that our guys did what they needed to do against a very good Central League team.”

Radnor actually led, 1-0, and 2-1, until St. Joe’s Prep took over.

“Our guys came back and I applaud them for their hard work,” Keating said.

Keating’s Hawks have won 11 straight games and have been dominating Catholic League foes in recent weeks. But Keating feels his squad has proven it can compete against the top teams. The Hawks will receive a major test Thursday at No. 2 Malvern Prep.

“We had a solid Germantown Academy (9-7) win and we lost to Haverford (School), Episcopal and Georgetown Prep, and those are quality teams. We have a big game (Monday) against Upper Dublin and we’ll be staring down the barrel of one of the honchos, (host) Malvern Prep Thursday.”

In other news for St. Joe’s Prep, longpole Ted Hospodar was accepted at West Point and will play for the prep school, West Point Prep for one year before moving to the academy. Hospodar, the anchor the Prep’s defense, is the son of former Flyer and longtime NHL enforcer Ed Hospodar.

Woody leads Penncrest past O’Hara

When teams face a must-win situation they turn to their offensive leader and that’s exactly what the Penncrest did Saturday night as senior Mike Woody scored four goals to lead the Lions (8-6) to a 12-2 victory over visiting Cardinal O’Hara.

“He’s a real solid player with strong skills and fundamentals,” said Penncrest coach Wayne Matsinger. “He works tirelessly in practice and games.”

Woody expressed the importance of winning this late in the season: “Every game is important now, we can’t have any more losses. All games are must wins.”

Tom Kusturiss scored three goals for Penncrest while Dan Patton added two goals and Brain Williams, Pat Hanna and Frank Dziobczynski each contributed one.

Steve Ward and Pat Daly had a goal and an assist each for O’Hara (7-12).

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