By Harry Chaykun
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/29/13
Springfield-Delco senior Alex Poplawski said it was a long day. It certainly was a day the Springfield-Delco High players, coaches and fans will remember.
Playing in the state tournament for the first time in two years, and playing without head coach Keith Broome, who was home mourning the passing of his daughter, Beverly, a former Springfield player, the Cougars rallied for a 16-15 PIAA Tournament decision over Central League rival Strath Haven at West Chester East’s Zimmerman Stadium Wednesday night.
Springfield-Delco (20-4) and Radnor, another Central League foe and another of the teams – Harriton and Strath Haven were the others – with which the Cougars shared first place in the 2013 Central standings, will meet in a state quarterfinal game at West Chester East Saturday.
Haven (18-5), which played in the 2012 state final, saw its 2013 season come to an end.
Springfield-Delco assistants Kathleen Geiger, former head coach at Penn Wood, Sandy Carter, ex-Penncrest coach, and Chrissy Poplalwski led the team from the sidelines against Strath Haven. They were joined by a pair of former Springfield assistants, Mike Werley and Mike Carlin, and they had received messages and good wishes throughout the trying day. Strath Haven’s players wore ribbons in their hair showing their support for the Springfield program.
“It’s a tribute to Keith and how much he has meant to Springfield lacrosse,” Geiger said of Broome, who has wonover 300 games since taking over the program in 1996. “I really didn’t want to have to coach this game like this, and I don’t know how I could have faced Keith if we hadn’t won.”
Springfield-Delco built a 10-8 halftime lead, but Strath Haven refused to go away. A goal by Kathryn Restrepo and a pair from Kirsten Wilhelmsen put the Panthers, who finished fifth in the District 1 tournament, up a goal on the district runner-up Cougars with six minutes to play.
Following a Springfield-Delco timeout, senior Alex Poplawski (five goals) and sophomore Emily Santana (four goals, two assists) gave the Cougars the offensive spark they needed. Poplawski converted a free-position with 1:41 to play to tie the score, and Santana scored on a crease roll 38 seconds later with what turned out to be the deciding goal.
“We knew we could score goals, we just had to get out there and do it,” Poplawski said. “Before the game, Mrs. Carter told us that for an hour and a half we should just let everything go and play the game.
“Strath Haven was great. I think we’re all glad we don’t have to play them again.”
Santana and the 2012 Cougars fell one win short of qualifying for the PIAA playoffs, so this game marked her first appearance in a state tourney contest.
“Mr. Broome coached me in basketball (middle school) and now in lacrosse,” Santana said. “We all wanted to do this for him. He means a lot to all of us.
“(At the end), I think they were expecting me to go to my right, but I faked and went left. It was great to see that shot go in.”
Aly Gormley contributed three goals, Kate Ryan added two goals, and Emily Paulus had one goal and three assists for Springfield. Morgan Glassford scored three goals and had three assists and Katie Tillman also scored three goals for Strath Haven.
“We’re happy that we were able to get through this game,” Geiger said. “Most of this season we’ve been facing some sort of adversity, but we’ve had someone to help us get through things. We know we have other challenges ahead, but we’ll deal with them and go on together.”
Springfield-Delco 16, Strath Haven 15
Strath Haven 8 7 – 15
Springfield-Delco 10 6 – 16
Morgan Glassford 3G 3A
Katie Tillman 3G
Kathryn Restrepo 2G
Kirsten Wilhelmsen 2G
Bri Irons 1G 1A
Suzanna Penikis 1G 1A
Katherine Sherry 1G 1A
Kristen Hansen 1G
Lily Kovach 1G
Hallie Yancey 8 saves
Alex Poplawski 5G
Emily Santana 4G 2A
Aly Gormley 3G
Kate Ryan 2G
Emily Paulus 1G 3A
Rachel Charamella 1G
Courtney O’Connell 10 saves