By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/2/10
It was a game that many had wanted to see all year – and no one was disappointed with the entertainment value.
La Salle, the two-time state champion, rallied for a stunning 11-10 victory over Abington Tuesday night in rivalry game that met all expectations in the first round of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) boys’ lacrosse playoffs.
The victory vaults the Explorers (20-2) into the PIAA quarterfinals Saturday against Springfield-Delco at a site and time to be determined. Springfield defeated La Salle, 11-5, earlier this year. Abington closes at 19-4.
Most of the La Salle and Abington players are products of Abington Youth Lacrosse and played together as youngsters. The teams have not played since La Salle beat the Ghosts two years ago in the regular season, 10-6.
Tuesday’s game went back-and-forth as La Salle seized a 3-1 first-period lead before Abington tallied five of the six second-period goals and later led, 8-6, after three periods. The Explorers tied it twice in the fourth period before standout junior attackman Kevin Forster (three goals, two assists) won it with 1 minute, 35 seconds left.
“I grew up playing youth ball with all these guys,” said Forster, who has committed to Maryland. “I knew pretty much all of them. So it was fun getting out there playing them, especially in a game like this.
“We had a lot of guys stepping up. It was definitely a good fourth-quarter win.”
Forster himself pulled La Salle within 8-7 to open the final frame, but Ryan Ambler (one goal, three assists) put Abington back in front by two. Forster then fed Patrick Resch (two goals, two assists) to make it 9-8 and Jack Bogorowski beat Jesse McGinley (16 saves) with a laser with 5:43 to play.
McGinley, a senior headed to Widener, was brilliant, especially in the first half when the Ghosts took the lead.
Abington went ahead again, 10-9 on a tally by Rich Rambo (two goals) with 2:32 to play. But La Salle responded as Nick Cruice (three goals) scored just 19 seconds later to tie it. After Forster put his team ahead, Abington regained possession for the final 30 seconds, but Ryan Saraceni played standout defense on Ambler and the Ghosts were unable to get a shot off.
“We’re happy to move on; relieved actually,” said La Salle coach Bil Leahy. “I thought their goalie (McGinley) was great. He was the difference in keeping it close. They have some weapons; the Rambos were especially difficult to deal with tonight.”
Freshman Matt Rambo led Abington with three goals and two assists and Anthony Henlsey had a pair of goals.
La Salle’s defense – a key in the comeback – featured close defenders Saraceni, Shane Pierce, Mark DiFrangia and Tim Durkin, long pole Casey Eidenshink and short stick middies Joe Brown (one goal) and Resch.
“There are a lot of emotions going through my mind because we worked so hard, but they just played better and came out with the win,” said McGinley. “They deserved to win.”
Abington coach Randy McNeil said his team had no regrets.
“We played well tonight and left everything we had out there,” he said. “They are very upset and very disappointed, but we had a great year. We lost to a great team that’s well coached.
“It was a great game. It was a backyard rivalry – these kids laid it out. They have known each other for years; they have cousins on each team. It was what it was supposed to be. For us it was a great season; we’ve won four straight title (in the Suburban One League’s National Conference) and gone undefeated each year.”
Concluded Leahy: “We’ll take it. These guys keep answering the call. We laid one egg this year – against Springfield and now we get another chance.”
La Salle 3-1-2-5 – 11
Abington 1-5-2-2 – 10
Kevin Forster 3g, 2a
Patrick Resch 2g, 2a
Nick Cruice 3g
Sean Coleman 1g
Joe Brown 1g
Jack Bogorowski 1g
Rob Losier 1a
John Lawlor 3 saves
Matt Rambo 3g, 1a
Rich Rambo 2g
Anthony Hensley 2g
Ryan Ambler 1g, 3a
Joey Jones 1g
Nick Pisko 1g
Matt Figueroa 1a
Jesse McGinley 16 saves