Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/4/13
MECHANICSBURG – It’s been nearly a full calendar year since La Salle lost to Conestoga in the 2012 PIAA championship game, but the replay of that game still holds a special spot in Sean Coleman’s house.
It’s been saved on the Coleman DVR and occasionally the star Explorers midfielder will watch the replay. He’s not a fan, though.
“I didn’t personally have a really good game (against Conestoga),” said Coleman, who had two goals and three assists in La Salle’s 14-1 thrashing of North Allegheny in Tuesday’s PIAA semifinal. “It just fuels the fire. I know I’m going to watch it before this game.”
“This game” is another crack at the Pioneers, this time with the roles reversed heading into play. A year ago, it was senior-laden Conestoga taking out underdog La Salle, 10-7, for its third straight state title. Fast forward a year later and the Explorers (22-2), ranked No. 1 by Phillylacrosse.com and No. 10 nationally by TopLaxRecruits.com, will go into action as the favorites Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium at 2:30 p.m.
“That’s going to be the main factor,” said defenseman Stefan Bergman, who led the usual dominant effort from the La Salle defense. “You’ve got 19 or however many juniors last year that played in the game, we all remember what it was like to leave Hershey empty-handed. We’re definitely back to get it this year.”
They played like it against the Tigers (13-8), rolling out to leads of 4-0 and 9-1 after the first and second quarters, respectively. North Allegheny, like the rest of the state, had no answers for the lethal combination of Coleman and star attackman Matt Rambo. Rambo tallied five times in limited minutes, which was plenty of ammunition for an Explorers team that has outscored opponents 23-2 in the first halves of the state tournament.
Brian McNamara scored twice and set up another for La Salle, while Aidan Kerrigan tallied twice. Explorers coach Bill Leahy, fresh off his 400th career win last round against Garnet Valley, rolled out three goalies for No. 401. Nick Hreshko (five saves), Colin MacDougall (six saves) and Conor Scafidi (three saves) did the honors in net as Leahy substituted liberally.
Against Conestoga, which avenged a loss to Avon Grove in the District 1 tournament by handling the Red Devils, 13-4, La Salle will have plenty of motivation against a familiar foe. This will be the fourth time in five years that the two teams face other for state supremacy and the Pioneers hold a 2-1 edge in that series. The Explorers’ seniors would love nothing more than to even that margin up.
“We felt like we could beat them last year with all of our juniors against their seniors, so we’re going to come back this season” Bergman said. “We played them well during the season (a 13-5 win), so we feel like we match up well but it doesn’t mean anything.
“We saw that against Radnor, too. We saw them in the regular season and it was a blowout and they came right back and we won 6-4. We’re going to approach it like every other game and work hard and try to come out on top.”
La Salle 14, North Allegheny 1
La Salle 4-5-3-2- 14
North Allegheny 0-1-0-0- 1
Grant Page 1g
Kyle Rullan 1a
John Brandon 13 saves
Matt Rambo 5g
Sean Coleman 2g, 3a
Brian McNamara 2g, 1a
Aidan Kerrigan 2g
Stephen Hudak 1g
Zach Drake 1g
Mitch Soufleris 1g
Jack Auteri 1a
Travis Miller 1a
Nick Hreshko 5 saves (one goal allowed)
Colin MacDougall 6 saves
Conor Scafidi 3 saves
Tags: La Salle