By Pat White
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/1/13
Sean Coleman had five goals and two assists and La Salle bolted to a 10-0 halftime lead as the Explorers routed Garnet Valley, 13-4, today and helped coach Bill Leahy win his 400th game in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association quarterfinals at Henderson High.
The Explorers (21-2), ranked No. 1 by Phillylacrosse.com, advance to the state semifinals Tuesday at a neutral site vs. North Allegheny, a 9-5 winner over Carlisle.
Leahy, the school’s only coach in the 22-year history of the program, improved his record to 400-78. He has won three state titles and 18 Catholic League titles and this winter was inducted into the Eastern PA Chapter of the US Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
“We have great kids and a great school over 22 years,” Leahy said. “It’s hard not to win a lot of games.”
“It’s a senior driven team, so to beat a good team like Garnet Valley feels awesome,” Coleman said. “We have to get back to work and go get on Tuesday.”
The Explorers wasted no time getting to work Saturday. After a tight 6-4 semifinal win over Radnor, La Salle went on a scoring frenzy, taking a 10-0 lead at halftime. Coleman scored all of his five goals in the first half, creating a cushion for the Explorers.
“It started with our defense causing turnovers and pushing it in transition,” Coleman said. “Matt [Rambo] did what he always does which is moving the ball and I just shot the ball well today. It was a team effort.”
Brian McNamara (three goals) got La Salle an early 1-0 lead. Coleman scored back-to-back goals for La Salle twice in the first half. Jeff Cimbalista, Stephen Hudak and Adam Schaal (two gols) also added goals. Garnet Valley head coach Frank Urso said his team couldn’t stop the high-powered La Salle offense.
“Great teams make you pay for your mistakes,” Urso said. “We made mistakes especially early and they made us pay for every one of them. I think for us we ran out of gas.”
Garnet Valley wasn’t able to muster the offense to hang with La Salle in the first half. The Jaguars couldn’t capitalize when opportunities arose, which came back to bite them.
“[La Salle] played good team defense and are well coached,” Urso said. “They are disciplined and hard to penetrate. We had some open looks early and couldn’t put them in.”
Garnet Valley was playing with heavy hearts after the tragic death of close friend and Haverford School student, Kip Taviano, on Tuesday. The crowd was filled with shirts and signs to commemorate Taviano, who played youth lacrosse with most of the Garnet Valley players and remained close to many of them. Urso said the emotional week wore on his team and it showed Saturday.
“It has been one of the most emotional weeks of my life and for these guys,” Urso said. “There has been a lot of grieving and sharing of emotions. Even in warm-ups we, as a coaching staff, knew we ran out of gas.”
During the second half, the Garnet Valley faithful chanted “Play for Kip”, and it resonated with the Jaguars. Garnet Valley rallied to outscore La Salle 4-3 in the second half.
Brock D’Annunzio led Garnet Valley (18-7) with two goals and the Jags won 14 of 19 faceoffs, which gave the team some life late in the game.
Colin MacDougall made eight saves and Nick Hreshko saved four shots for La Salle.
La Salle 13, Garnet Valley 4
La Salle 4 6 3 0 – 13
Garnet Valley 0 0 1 3 4
Sean Coleman 5 goals, 2 assists
Brian McNamara 3 goals
Jeff Cimbalista 1 goal, 1 assist
Stephen Hudak 1 goal
Adam Schaal 2 goals
Mike Rihm 1 goal
Zach Drake 1 assist
Michael Pascali 1 assist
Matt Rambo 1 assist
Colin MacDougall 8 saves
Nick Hreshko 4 saves
Brock D’Annunzio 2 goals
Jake Snow 1 goal
Jonathan Vandenberg 1 goal
Kyle Roberts 1 assist
Mitch Rose 3 saves
Mark Barnes 1 save