By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/13/11
Adam Stefanowicz scored the game-winner with 5:21 to play as visiting La Salle defeated St. Joseph’s Prep, 11-10, in a game between the two Catholic League lacrosse powers tonight at Plymouth Whitemarsh.
La Salle, after an 0-3 start, is now 4-3 overall and 3-0 in the league. The Hawks fall to 4-3 overall and 2-1 in the league.
Coming into play, SJP was ranked No. 24 in the ESPN RISE Powerade Fab 50, while La Salle had just gotten back into the poll at No. 49 after defeating DeMatha (Md.), 9-4 last Friday.
The Prep, having lost in overtime to the nation’s top-rated team, Haverford School, on Saturday, appeared to have its best shot at beating the seven-time Catholic League champions after falling to their nemesis 13 straight times.
“It’s a good win, it’s against a good team and we have another one on Saturday,” said La Salle coach Bill Leahy, whose team faces nationally-ranked Wilton (Ct.) at the Haverford School “Checking For Cancer” Invitational. “Everybody makes a big deal (about the La Salle-Prep rivalry), but it’s another game on the schedule.
“We’re just trying to march on every day. Everybody wants to go 20-3, but as long as you get better every day with young people and you’re moving toward the right direction, that’s what it’s about.
“That’s what we did today – we made another step in the right direction against a very good team.”
St. Joe’s, in fact, took a 5-2 lead in the second period tonight until the Explorers went on a 6-1 spurt to seize an 8-6 lead on a goal by Dillon Pierce with 9:09 to play in the third period.
The Prep’s Brad James (four goals) and Kevin Forster (three tallies) traded goals, but the Hawks forged a tie before the end of the third period on goals by Cory Scheuerle and Anthony Marini.
The fourth period saw more defense, especially by La Salle and its sophomore goalie Cory Shaffer (nine saves).
The Explorers took a 10-9 lead early in the frame on the third goal by Jack Bogorowski. James tried it with 6:23 to play off a feed from Fenton Fitzpatrick, but just 1:02 later junior Stefanowicz scored of a dish by Sean Coleman (one goal, three assists).
The rest of the game saw La Salle’s Forster, Coleman and Matt Rambo (three goals) control the ball with brilliant stick work behind the Hawks’ cage. All game, those three and Bogorowski worked the attack smoothly and set up numerous in-close shots on Liam Correia (eight saves).
“When we went 0-3, we had all the media saying we were nothing and I think that got in everybody’s heads,” said Rambo. “We all stepped up.
“This was the biggest step for us so far. I think we’ve got everything together since we started 0-3, but we still have a lot more improvements to make.”
“I think we’re coming together overall,” added senior Forster. “As you can see we had transition today and the defense is getting stops when we need them.
“Cory (Shaffer) played great and we’re scoring goals at the right time when we need them.”
St. Joseph’s Prep coach Eric Gregg pointed to this game ever since the Hawks fell to the Explorers in last year’s Catholic League championship. But now wants his team to move on, knowing they’ll have a strong chance to return to the title game.
“You learn it’s a matter of executing when it’s time to,” said Gregg. “We have to bounce back tomorrow for the rest of our schedule.
“They didn’t get much credit with their slow start, despite their personnel. I knew they were going to bounce back. For them, they’re clicking at the right time on all cylinders.”