Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/27/10
Christian Cardinal scored three goals and John Lawlor made seven saves as La Salle defeated St. Joseph’s Prep, 7-5, today to clam its seventh straight Catholic League boys’ lacrosse championship at Plymouth Whitemarsh.
The win gives the Explorers (17-2) the lone Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) playoff berth for District 12 as they bid to defend their PIAA crown and shoot for a third straight state title. Last year La Salle won the first PIAA crown after it won the final Keystone Cup championship. The Explorers will meet District 1 fourth-place finisher Abington in the first round of the PIAA tourney Tuesday.
The Explorers took a 4-3 halftime lead and led the entire second half. Nick Cruice, Jack Bogorowski, Patrick Resch and Sean Coleman each contributed one goal and the Explorer defense was strong throughout the game, according to coach Bil Leahy.
La Salle has played The Prep nine straight times in the league finals, losing only in 2003. The Explorers have won 15 out of the past 16 league crowns and 16 out of 18 league titles overall.
“Any time you play your rival, you know it’s going to be a war,” Leahy said. “It was the type of game a Catholic League championship game should be. These seniors have waited a long time for their chance and they deserve this.”
The Explorers were somewhat of an unknown this year after graduating four All-Americans and a host of Division I recruits. Still, they had to deal with high expectations that comes with winning two state titles.
“People expect so much from us and we have to deal with the pressure,” Leahy said. “No one is giving it to us; we have to go out and earn it.”
The Prep also lost a number (17) of seniors from a strong team last year and finished 12-8, earning some significant non-league wins. But they continue to be thwarted in their attempt to win the league crown and advance to states.
Brad James and Rob Watts each scored twice for the Hawks and Jeff Heath scored once. St. Joe’s Prep took a 2-0 lead early in the game, but struggled for offense the rest of the way.
“They (the Explorers) played hard and they deserve the credit,” said St. Joe’s Prep second-year coach Eric Gregg. “We missed the goal an awful loot – we took 30 shots but only 14 went on net, and that’s not good.
“We also lost a lot of seniors and people forget that. We only started three seniors, so we’ll be back with a lot of experience next year. Hopefully, we’ll take a lot away from this.
“A lot of credit goes to coach Leahy and (assistant) coach (Tony) Resch. Any time you get a chance to play against them, you have to be on top of your game and we were not. They did all the little things right and executed when they were supposed to”