By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 1/13/08
The 2007 season was a memorable one for lacrosse in Philadelphia and its suburbs.
At the scholastic level,Downingtown East stunned the boys’ scene by winning the Eastern Pennsylvania Scholastic Lacrosse Association (EPSLA) championship and the Keystone State crown in only its fourth year of existence.
The Cougars, under Coach Tom Slate, shocked top-seeded Haverford School, 8-7, in the EPSLA semifinals, and then slayed powerful La Salle, 8-4 for the title. Downingtown East (21-3 record) capped its glorious run by toppling Mount Lebanon, 5-3, for the state crown and its 13th straight win.
The Cougars, who finished as the 10th ranked team by Lacrosse magazine and 11th in the STX\Inside Lacrosse poll, featured All-American defenders Coleman Till and Dillon Sheehy goalie Trevor French and attacker Justin Blye. La Salle (26-2) finished 17th in the STX\Inside Lacrosse poll while Haverford School (19-5) finished 19th in the STX\Inside Lacrosse poll and 20th in Lacrosse magazine’s Top 25 Poll. Malvern Prep (17-5) finished 24th in the STX\Inside Lacrosse poll.
Springfield-Delco finished 21-0 and cruised it its second straight District 1 Class AA championship. Coached by Keith Broome, the Cougars won the Central League crown and whipped Strath Haven in the district finals. The Cougars were led by goalie Sarah Geary and midfielders Julianna Jeffers and Jacqueline Eastman. Springfield finished seventh in the Lacrosse magazine poll. Strath Haven (20-3) finished 23rd in the poll.
In Class AAA, West Chester East (21-2) defeated Ridley to win the Class AAA championship and earn a ranking of ninth in Lacrosse magazine. Midfielder Colleen Dawson and defender Sarah Bauer were mainstays for the Vikings.
In the Catholic League Archbishop Carroll, under coach Lorraine Beers, continued its dynasty by whipping Archbishop Wood, 16-3, for its seventh straight crown. The Vikings have won 106 straight league games. Gabby Capuzzi and sisters Annie Brophy and Mary Beth Brophy were the top players for Carroll.
The College Scene
Women, Division I
The Philadelphia area more than held its own in the 2007 season. The University of Pennsylvania not only hosted the NCAA Division I Final Four at Franklin Field, but qualified for the tournament for the first time in history. The tourney, the first held in lacrosse there since 1983, was held Memorial Day Weekend and drew large crowds to see the Quakers compete with the nation’s elite teams, Northwestern (the eventual champion), Virginia (the eventual runner-up) and Duke.
The Quakers (16-2) reached the semis by defeating Maryland, 9-7, in a monumental victory in the quarterfinals. Penn had trailed, 4-0, but outscored the Terps 9-3 the rest of the way and got the game-tying and game-winning goals from Becca Edwards (Springfield-Montco). Penn, coached by Karin Brower, fell to Northwestern, 12-2, in the semifinals.
Women, Division II
In Division II, West Chester reached the championship game for the fourth straight time, but felt to C.W. Post, 15-7. The Golden Rams (19-2) were led by All-Americans Stephanie Kienle (West Chester Henderson), Jackie Baker (Penncrest) and Chrissy Kane (Springfield-Montco).
Kienle, a Division II All-American and the PSAC player of the year and first team all-league performer, set the NCAA record for points in a single season with 140 in 2007. She scored 74 goals and tacked on 66 assists during the most prolific season by a Division II women’s lacrosse player in NCAA history.
Women, Division III
In Division III, a remarkable story with local ties emerged in nearby Lancaster where Franklin & Marshall defeated Salisbury, 11-8, to win the NCAA title and complete a perfect 21-0 season.
The Diplomats arecoached by Anne Phillips, a 1980 F&M graduate who returned to her alma mater to resurrect a struggling program and lead it to greatness. Phillips had gained accolades for turning around the program at Owen J. Roberts and building it into a District 1 Class AA power by 2001.
Phillips, The Inquirer Coach of the Year in 2001, was named Inside Lacrosse magazine’s Coach of the Year. Franklin & Marshall was led by first-team Inside Lacrosse All-American attacker Jen Pritchard (Penncrest) and second-team choice Kelly Cassels (Great Valley).
The Pro Scene
The Philadelphia Barrage won its second straight Major League Lacrosse Championship by defeating the Los Angeles Riptide 16-13. Matt Striebel was named the Bud Light Championship Game MVP by scoring three goals and adding three assists.
The Barrage is the first team in MLL history to repeat as league champion. Philadelphia concluded its 2007 season with a 9-3 regular season record and another Eastern Conference Championship.
Five members of the Barrage made all-league honors, including Ryan Boyle (league leader in scoring with 58 points) and Striebel (39 points) at attack, Brian Spallina (14 groundballs) and Kyle Sweeney (29 groundballs) at defense and goalkeeper Brian Dougherty (.580 save percentage, second in league) at goalie.
Dougherty, the son of long-time Episcopal Academy boys’ basketball coach Dan Dougherty, is an Episcopal graduate while Sweeney is from Springfield-Delco.
In the National Lacrosse League, the Philadelphia Wings had three players chosen as starters for the All-Star Game in February – defenseman Thomas Hajek, goaltender Matt Roik, and rookie Geoff Snider.
Philadelphia also hosted the second annual NLL Hall Of Fame Weekend in February. The class of 2007 featured two with ties to the Wings: Wings co-owner Mike French and the Wings’ all-time leading scorer, Tom “Hollywood” Marechek.
The International Scene
Three local women’s players – Germantown Academy’s Colleen Magarity (attack), Radnor’s Emily Geary (goalie) and Baldwin’s Emma Hamm (midfield) – helped the U.S. Under-19 team cruise to its third consecutive international Federation of Women’s Lacrosse Under-19 championship at Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.
The U.S. team whipped Australia, 18-3, in the final game, on Aug. 13, and finished with a 6-0 record while outscoring its foes by a whopping score of 108-24. Magarity is now a freshman at Northwestern, Hamm is a freshman at Duke and Geary is a freshman at William & Mary.
Two local products, midfielder Bobby Horsey (West Chester East graduate) and defenseman Kyle Sweeney (Springfield-Delco) were members of the U.S. team that placed third in the World Indoor Lacrosse Championships in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, in May. Horsey and Seeeney both play for the Barrage and Sweeney also plays for the Wings.
The U.S. squad (5-2 overall) bested England, 17-10, in the bronze medal game as Horsey had a goal and two assists. The U.S. team was coached by former Wings great Tom Ryan, who played for Team USA when it won the world championship in 2001 and the Wings when they won the league crown that year.
There also were memorable games last year that ended on the right side for Philadelphia teams. Haverford School ended a 30-game win streak by Maryland power Boys’ Latin, 11-10, in overtime in early April in a tournament. The Fords overcame a four-goal halftime deficit.
In the college front, Drexel shocked top-ranked and defending national champion Virginia, 11-10, as freshman Colin Ambler (Abington) scored twice in the final 10 seconds in the Cavaliers’ home opener. The win stopped Virginia’s 17-game win streak and a 19-game home win streak and was the Dragons’ first win over a No. 1 team in any sport in history.
Lastly, in an unforgettable Major League Lacrosse semifinal, the Philadelphia Barrage outlasted Denver, 13-12, in overtime in a game that saw Barrage goalie and Philadelphia native Brian Dougherty seek an IV for a head injury and an illness and miraculously return to play in the second half.
Philadelphia rallied from a three-goal deficit in the final period and sent it into overtime with a last-minute, behind-the-back goal by Kevin Cassese. Ray Colsey (four goals), about to retire, won it in overtime 51 seconds into the overtime frame, sending the Barrage into the finals where they defeated the Los Angeles, 16-13, for their second straight crown.