Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/7/11
Brief rundowns of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association boys’ semifinals today:
St. Joseph’s Prep vs. Mt. Lebanon at Penn State, 5 p.m.
The District 12 champion Hawks (18-4) meet a team that won the WPIAL and District 7 championships.
The Blue Devils (18-3) have long been a power in western Pennsylvania. They made the PIAA tourney in 2009, lost to Manheim Township in the 2008 state playoffs and in 2007 gave Downingtown East a tough game before losing, 5-3.
Mt. Lebanon advanced to the semifinals by thumping fellow District 7 rival Sewickley Academy, 11-5. It was the Blue Devils’ third straight win over the District 7 runner-up.
Mt. Lebanon – ranked \No. 10 in the PIAA in the PA Media Rankings – features a solid senior goalie Ruley Kirkland and dangerous scorers in Nate Relich (79 goals), Doran Graham, Bijan Firouzan and Andrew Kuhn. Relich scored five goals in the win over Sewickley after missing the first-round game, a 14-13 overtime win over North Allegheny.
Graham had two goals and an assist in the quarterfinal win and three gals in the first-round victory. Firouzan had four assists against Sewickley..
”They have a very nice offense and foure or five guys that that can dodge on the run,” said St. Joe’s Prep coach Eric Gregg. “Their defense is very well coached and they have two goalies, and both play.”
Mt. Lebanon has played one Southeastern team, Lehigh Valley Conference champion Emmaus, which dealt the Blue Devils a 13-11 defeat in the season’s first gane.
“They are a big Pittsburgh pubic school with a great athletic history in many sports. They are not a brand new team – we are the brand new team.”
The Prep (ranked No. 3 in the PA Media Rankings in the PIAA) is indeed making its first appearance in the PIAA tourney and has shown great resilience. The Hawks, who unseated seven-time defending Catholic League champion La Salle to win the District 12 crown, rallied for a 10-7 win over Pennsbuiry in the first round and then scored a brilliant 11-10 overtime victory over Manheim Township after being behind the entire game.
“We need to take this one quarter at a time and play our best to win,” said Gregg.
Conestoga vs. Central Bucks East at Harriton, 2 p.m.
This is a rematch of the District 1 championship game, which Conestoga won, 10-4.
The Pioneers (23-1) are the defending state champion and three-time District 1 champs. The Patriots (22-2), champions of the Suburban One Continental Conference, are in the PIAA tourney for the first time.
Conestoga advanced to the semis with two easy wins, 15-3 over Cumberland Valley and 16-2 over Hempfield. CB East rallied to down Ridley, 6-5, and then clipped Allentown Central Catholic, 13-7.
In the district title game, CB East seized an early 3-1 lead, but Conestoga responded by scoring six unanswered goals and then coasted the rest of the way.