By Ben Skalina
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/9/08
The story Thursday night at Conestoga’s Teamer Field was two teams going in opposite directions.
The host Pioneers started fast but couldn’t sustain their momentum, and Downingtown East controlled the game late for a 7-4 non-league win.
The results mirrored how both teams’ seasons have gone to date, as Downingtown (11-6) started 2-5, partly due a tough schedule, before winning nine out of the next 10. Conestoga (11-7), on the other hand, started 10-2, but has found the going rough recently; with five losses in six games since a 6-3 win over Haverford High.
The Pioneers’ quick start was keyed by Brendan Burke and Paul Mita, who each registered a goal and an assist as Conestoga took a 3-0 lead into the second quarter. That was where the fun ended for Stoga, though.
Conestoga coach Brian Samson liked his team’s effort but added that the Pioneers weren’t sharp enough offensively to get the win.
“When you play against Downingtown East, you need to make more plays than they do,” Samson said of a Cougars team ranked eighth by Phillylacrosse.com. “We didn’t do that tonight.”
Downingtown kept its roll going in large part due to a veteran defense and the efforts of Maryland-bound attackman Owen Blye (one goal, four assists). Blye kick-started the Cougars’ offense in the second quarter after getting shut out in the first when he fed Kyle Marcks and Dylan Hoff (two goals, one assist) to bring East to within a goal at 3-2.
The Cougars finally tied things up when Blye fed Taylor Nelson (two goals, one assist) on the fast break with three-tenths of a second left in the first half.
After Blye got Downingtown going, the veteran defense in front of goalkeeper Mike Strathy kept Conestoga on lockdown, turning away multiple man-up opportunities.
Seniors Chris Walsh (Drexel), Alex Gannett (Penn State), Justin Hummel (Drexel) and junior Mason Poli put together a standout final three quarters as they limited the Pioneers to just three shots on goal over the final three quarters.
After the game, Downingtown East head coach Tom Slate praised his defense, while looking forward to the Eastern Pennsylvania Scholastic Lacrosse Association playoffs.
“Now is the time to be getting all your ducks in a row,” Slate said of his defending state champions. “We’re getting there.”