By Adam C. Warner
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/22/09
With Springfield-Delco and host Conestoga sporting unblemished records and national rankings, Tuesday’s boys’ lacrosse showdown between the conference rivals had all the makings of a Central League classic.
And thanks to several lead changes, physical play all the way through, some outstanding individual efforts and an unwillingness to lose, the contest certainly did not disappoint. With the winner being thrust into the driver’s seat of the vaunted Central League, the stakes were high and it showed.
After Conestoga stormed out to an early three-goal lead, Springfield rebounded in the third quarter and scored four straight to take a 7-6 edge with 8 minutes and 6 seconds remaining in the period. The Cougars tallied their last three goals in a 41-second span.
While Springfield seemed to have the momentum, the Pioneers quickly regrouped and registered the final two goals of the quarter to take an 8-7 lead into the fourth.
However, due to inclement weather that moved in at the start of the fourth quarter, the game was suspended. The contest will pick up where it left off today at 3 p.m. at Teamer Field.
Conestoga is 10-0 (4-0 league and ranked No, 1 in the PA Media Rankings and eighth in he Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse Power Rankings. The Cougars are also 10-0 (5-0 league) and are No. 3 in the PA Rankings and 23rd in the National Power Rankings.
The Pioneers captured the momentum early and claimed a 4-1 lead late in the opening stanza. Matt Smith and Austin Rogusky registered first to give the Pioneers a 2-0 edge with 5:52 to go. Joe Venit tallied nearly three minutes later to put Springfield on the scoreboard.
However, Pioneers midfielder Ryan Lord struck back with two scores of his own in the final 2:16 to give his side a three-goal advantage. Lord first scored on a gritty shot in traffic before following up with a putback goal on the heels of an Austin Kraut rebound.
Springfield cut its deficit to 4-2 late in the first thanks to a score by Jordan Demcher, but Rogusky and the Pioneers took advantage of a man-up situation and scored with 6:07 left in the second to grab a 5-2 lead. The teams traded scores late in the second period and headed into intermission with Conestoga ahead 6-3.
The first half of the third period belonged to the Cougars as the squad appeared rejuvenated. Following a man-up score by Colin Keegan at the 10:05 mark, the Cougars embarked on a scoring fury. Springfield midfielder Josh Cavanaugh made it 6-5 before Keegan tied it up seven seconds later thanks to a terrific transition goal after a face-off win by Billy McCullough.
Venit provided the go-ahead tally just 34 seconds later on another transition break – a near carbon copy of Keegan’s score just seconds earlier.
Once down by three, the Cougars now owned the momentum and appeared poised to head into the final stanza with the lead. But after a timeout, Conestoga rallied back and tied the score at 7-7 when midfielder Jason Klunder split dodged and weaved his way through traffic before depositing a score at 6:14.
And just 27 ticks later, Rogusky notched his third goal of the game thanks to a crafty feed from Lord. The tally lifted the Pioneers to another lead, which would hold up through the end of the quarter.
Through three periods, Rogusky leads all players with three goals and two assists. Keegan leads the way for Springfield with a pair of goals and assists.
Conestoga 8, Springfield (Delco) 7, suspended after 3 periods
Springfield-D 2 1 4 X – 7
Conestoga 4 2 2 X – 8
Springfield goals: Colin Keegan 2, Joe Venit 2, Jordan Demcher, Josh Cavanaugh, Bobby Gildea.
Conestoga goals: Austin Rogusky 3, Matt Smith 2, Ryan Lord 2, Jason Klunder.
Goalie Saves: Kaut (S) 6; Shea (C) 4.
Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Lacrosse Association