By Ben Skalina
Phillylacrosse.com, posted 5/29/08
About the only thing that was similar between the first La Salle and St. Joseph’s Prep match-up and the second was the teams that lined up at the start.
The results were all different.
While the first pairing of the two teams produced a Catholic League title thriller, their meeting in the Eastern Pennsylvania Scholastic Lacrosse Association (EPSLA) quarterfinals at Central Bucks West’s War Memorial Field was decidedly one-sided.
Behind four goals from Kevin Forster and three goals and an assist from Westy Hopkins, the second-seeded Explorers blew the seventh-seeded Hawks away, 13-3. La Salle (28-2) will face Haverford School in the EPSLA semifinals Friday night at Garnet Valley at 8:00.
The Hawks, who fell to La Salle, 6-5, in the first meeting just two weeks ago, finished at 22-5.
“We just didn’t have it tonight,” said Prep coach Dan Keating. “La Salle’s a great team, and when you don’t bring it, they’re going to make you pay for it.”
Keating’s squad kept it close through most of the first quarter, but Pete Schwartz (two goals) and Randy Forster (two goals) each struck for La Salle in the final minute of the frame to triple the Explorers’ lead from 2-1 to 4-1. After that, the rout was on, as both Kevin Forster and Hopkins tallied twice in the second quarter for an 8-1 halftime advantage.
After the game, La Salle coach Bill Leahy noted the difference between the two La Salle-Prep contests.
“When you play for the Catholic League championship, that really means something,” Leahy said. “I think there’s a lot of pressure on our kids to not be one of the few La Salle teams that hasn’t won the Catholic League title, so I think our kids played tight and I thought the Prep played great that night.”
But Leahy noted when it comes to be playoff time that rivalry gets put aside in pursuit of bigger dreams.
“This is a whole different atmosphere,” he said. “This is just another team in the way of getting to the Final Four. That’s the way we approached it.”