By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/5/08
As the boys’ season winds down to its final weeks, here is a small recap of the league races.
-La Salle (12-0 league) and St. Joseph’s Prep (11-0) appear to be on a collision course for the Catholic League title with the regular season now over. The Catholic League quarterfinals begin Friday; the finals are May 15 at Plymouth Whitemarsh.
-In the Inter-Ac league, Malvern Prep (8-0) can win the crown by winning at Germantown Academy (5-3) Tuesday or at Penn Charter Friday. Haverford School is in second place at 6-2.
-Ridley (7-1) can clinch the Central League title with a win over visiting Strath Haven Tuesday. Radnor (6-2), Springfield-Delco (5-2) and Lower Merion (5-2) are close behind.
-In the Suburban League, Downingtown East (6-0) and Downingtown West (5-0) are still unbeaten. They play at West on May 16.
-Owen J. Roberts (9-1) can clinch the top seed in the Pioneer Athletic Conference playoffs by defeating either Perkiomen Valley (5-5) Tuesday or second-place Lansdale Catholic (8-3) Thursday. Both are home games for OJR, which will host the PAC-10 playoffs May 14 and 16.
-Holy Ghost Prep won the Northeast League crown with a 6-0 mark, capped by Friday’s 11-6 win over Academy of the New Church. Shipley (5-1) was second.
-Garnet Valley (5-0) has clinched the Del-Val crown again. The Jaguars finish their league season May 8 at home against Sun Valley.
-Two of the Suburban One League races will come down to a showdown; the other race is nearly decided. Abington (7-0) is running away with the National Conference title, and is three losses ahead of the pack.
-In the American Conference, it appears the title will be decided when Upper Dublin (9-2) hosts Methacton (9-1) on May 8. Methacton won the first meeting, 12-7, on April 16. Upper Dublin recently dropped a key 12-11 decision to third-place Plymouth Whitemarsh (8-3).
-In the Continental Conference, rivals Central Bucks East (9-0) and Central Bucks West (8-1) and are the top teams and met Monday night at West. They play again at East May 12 in the season finale. Hatboro-Horsham, which recently beat C.B. West, 11-5, is next at 8-2.
-Delco Christian has made a big splash in its first season of lacrosse and is leading the Tri-County League with a 5-1 mark. The Knights have won five straight in the league and seven straight overall.
-In the Friends Schools League, Shipley (5-0) is fighting it out with Academy of the New Church (4-1) and Friends’ Central (3-2). Shipley can clinch the title by defeating Westtown Friday.
-Emmaus (7-0) can clinch the Penn Valley League championships by beating Easton today. Parkland (7-1) is in second.
More on GA’s win over La Salle
Germantown Academy shocked many by handing La Salle a 3-2 defeat Thursday, ending a 21-game winning streak for the Explorers, the top-ranked team by Phillylacrosse.com. GA, ranked fifth by Phillylacrosse.com, has won five straight games and hosts No. 2 Malvern Prep Tuesday.
Three of those wins came by one goal and another came by two goals. Patriots coach David Martin cited the camaraderie of the team for the clutch wins.
“They have been together some for four years,” he said. “They showed a lot of intestinal fortitude, they’ve dealt with adversity of being in close games like that. And they have done what they need to do to win those games.
“This group as done a great job coming together as a team. They are more like siblings than teammates. Playing tough games all the time for us paid off today (against La Salle). They competed very well.”
Merrill stars on, off field
Great Valley captain Jeff Merrill recently set the school record for goals with 162, eclipsing the mark of 157 set by his brother, Brett. Jeff Merrill eclipsed the 50-goal mark with a four-goal outing in a recent Suburban League victory at West Chester Henderson. Through 15 games this season, Merrill has posted 51 goals and 10 assists.
During the Patriots’ 18-5 campaign last season, he netted 73 goals and dished 24 assists, setting the single-season school scoring record and earning him first-team Suburban League attack honors. Merrill has scored at least one goal in 42 straight varsity games; his career point total currently stands at 209.
Merrill, who has a 3.7 GPA, will attend Connecticut and is planning to study Pharmacy.