By Ben Skalina
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/14/08
Groundballs were the story on Tuesday night at Springfield-Delco.
The Cougars got nearly all of them, and controlled the game from start to finish for an 11-4 thumping of Lower Merion in a key Central League tilt.
Springfield, ranked eighth by Phillylacrosse.com, finishes 7-2 in league play (14-5 overall) and ties with Radnor for second in the league. The 10th-ranked Aces dropped to 6-3 in the Central League (16-4 overall) and finish tied for fourth with Conestoga.
“We just picked them up, picked them up, picked them up, and I felt like they never got into a good offensive groove,” Springfield coach Mike Friel said of his team’s groundball play and its effect on Lower Merion’s game.
The fun started early for the Cougars and never stopped. Josh Cavanaugh (three goals) picked the ball up off of an illegal procedure on the first face-off, and immediately dodged and scored just 11 seconds in. On the next possession, Colin Keegan (three goals) took an assist from Joe Arrell (three goals, two assists) on the crease and pushed the advantage to two goals.
Arrell then dodged down the right side and scored a few minutes later, and Keegan took a Matt Kelly feed behind the cage and converted it as he came around the net to make the lead 4-0.
“They’ve got to short one of us,” Arrell said of the threat he and Cavanaugh pose from midfield. “We really look to dodge and kick it around, get good shots and get Colin open.”
Jordan Wolf temporarily stopped the bleeding after he dodged from behind and found Matt Wilks open to cut the gap to three, but the Cougars answered back through Jordan Demcher and Arrell in the last minute of the first quarter, making it 6-1.
After Springfield sandwiched second-quarter goals from Keegan and Kelly (one goal, two assists) around Josh Fox’s mark for Lower Merion, the score was 8-2 at the half.
The scoring came at a reduced rate after the intermission, with much of the credit going to the disruptive Springfield defense, led by Matt Maccario.
Maccario was a force with the ball on the ground and Joe Addona, Ryan O’Shea, and Brendan Nave followed his lead. Defense middies Sean Saylor, Billy McCullough, and Drew Krauter were also integral to limiting the Aces to just five shots on goal through three quarters.
“He’s one of those kids who’s even-keeled all the time and just goes so hard,” Friel said of Maccorio. “All of those guys (defenders) are able to play, so we go by a rule where you run until you’re tired, go off and get another guy until you’re ready to get back in.”
Cavanaugh accounted for the only two goals of the third quarter, as his man-up bouncer 40 seconds in and his score on a dodge from behind eight minutes later stretched the lead to 10-2 and closed the door for any Lower Merion comeback.
The fourth included several spectacular saves by sophomore goalie Austin Kaut, who made five of his eight stops in the final frame. Arrell closed out the Cougars’ scoring with 1 minute, 48 seconds left in the game before Wilks and Wolf finally got shots past Kaut in the final 12 seconds.