By Mike Prince
For Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/19/12
Downingtown West senior Tyler McWilliams knows that his team has a target on their backs every time they step out on the field. After all, after the Whippets won their first 19 games of the year, and every team wants to be the one to end the streak.
In a District 1 quarterfinal at Harriton High School on Saturday afternoon, Abington took its shot at the Whippets. But after falling behind by just a goal at halftime, the Ghosts saw Downingtown West pull away with three straight third-period goals and claim a 7-4 victory and a berth in the semifinals Tuesday.
The second-seeded Whippets (20-0) advance to meet Garnet Valley in the semis Tuesday at 8 p.m. at Radnor. Garnet Valley downed Central Bucks East, 6-4. Abington plays CB east in the first playback game Tuesday.
McWilliams scored once and played excellent from start to finish while leading the second-seeded Whippets to their 20th win in as many games this season.
“Since we had an undefeated season, we know that every team wants to knock us off and we knew that going into the half up one that (Abington) would try to knock us off again in the second half,” said McWilliams, who had a goal and an assist. “We came out and played harder than they played, just kept our composure and outplayed them.”
In the first half, the two teams traded goals and were tied 2-2 after one quarter, with Tyler Keen and Jim Sharer scoring for West, and Shane Dunn and Matt Lomady scoring for the Ghosts.
After Abington (15-6) appeared to have scored on two separate occasions – both goals were disallowed – the Whippets got a goal from Matt Logan with just over a minute to play in the half to go up by one.
The Whippets would never lose the lead, as Zach Barr scored twice in the third and Alex Ataiifar scored once to put West up by four goals, at 6-2, after three quarters.
“We knew what we had to do,” McWilliams said. “We had to put pressure on them and we did and we put balls in the net. And we had our goalie, Alex Cuttic, standing on his head like he always does. He has been making big saves for us all season.”
Cuttic, a senior, stopped 10 shots in net for the Whippets.
Abington saw Dunn and Matt Figueroa score fourth quarter goals to cut the deficit in half at the time, but it was too little, too late.
“There was a little bit of pressure, but I felt like we were the underdogs and that we were going to win,” Dunn said. “We just didn’t put shots on the cage. The effort was there, but the shots weren’t going in. We’re an on and off team and we play when we want to play. It was there today, but we just didn’t finish.”
The Whippets are looking forward to the challenge of playing in the semifinals for the second straight year.
“We don’t know much about (Garnet Valley),” McWilliams said. “We have to get the scouting report, but we just have to worry about ourselves. We’re happy with the win today, but we’re not satisfied.”
Downingtown West 7, Abington 4
Abington 2-0-0-2 – 4
D West 2-1-3-1- 7
Ryan Ambler 4GB
Matt Figueroa 1G
Matt Lomady 1G
Hunter Jones 1A
Shane Dunn 2G
Konrad Thallner 6 of 12 Face-offs
Travis O’Connor 17 Saves
Tyler McWilliams 1G, 1A
Dylan Ikkala 1G
Matt Logan 1G
Ty Keen 1G
Jimmy Shearer 1G
Zach Barr 2G
Alex Cuttic 10 saves