By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 1/28/09
It was supposed to be a rebuilding year at Springfield-Delco. But, then again, it never really is.
Despite returning only a few starters from a team that went 21-0 the previous year, the Cougars regrouped in 2008 and claimed their third straight District 1 Class AA championship with a 13-11 victory over Great Valley.
“I have to be honest, at the beginning of the season we did not know who our 12 starters were,” Springfield coach Keith Broome said. “We had graduated so many and we knew we had a large group of juniors coming up to go with our seniors. And they just played good as a unit.”
Junior All-American Madison Poplawski scored four goals and Sam Tajirian added three in the victory over the Patriots. Springfield (19-3) scored four unanswered goals late in the first half and early in the second half to build a 10-6 lead.
Rebecca Hartrum and Sam Tulskie each added two goals for Springfield-Delco while Shannon Burns and All-American Aly Adams scored once.Shannon Doyle played strong defense and Meghan Kearney was strong in the cage.
“We have a ton of momentum and we know this is our goal every year – to win the championship,” said Kearney. “We don’t have any other goal.”
The Cougars’ speed and defensive pressure wore the Pats down.
“We had Shannon Doyle and a few others marking their best players,” Tajirian said. “We were focused on getting the draws and marking tight all the way up the field. I think we played great defense.”
“In the beginning we had a couple lulls and the defense wasn’t ready,” said Kearney. “But we got into it. And anytime they scored and tried to get back in, we’d get it back.”
The 2008 Cougars finished 19-3 and was ranked 14th in the Lacrosse Magazine National Poll and 19th in the LaxPower National Coaches/Computer Ratings.
Kearney said the Cougar players feed off the school’s winning tradition.
“Everyone knows what they have to do to get here,” she said. “Being here three times, we knew all the work during the season pays off.”
Tajirian agreed: “I know we lost a lot of great players, but we knew we had great players again this year and we worked so hard in practice. We knew we could get here if we worked hard.”
Springfield-Delco finished second in the powerful Central League, dropping just a 13-12 decision to eventual Class AAA champion and rival Radnor. The Cougars bounced back by winning their last eight games, including a hard-fought victory over Strath Haven in the Class AA semifinals.
“We have four great coaches and we all work really hard,” Doyle said. “We have a tradition of winning and we’re determined to keep that tradition up. I’m just so proud of the whole team.”
Adams, Doyle, Hartrum, Sam Tajirian, and Poplawski were named Academic All-American while Tajirian, Adams, Poplawski and Kearney were first-team All-Central League picks and Hartrum and Doyle were second-team choices.