By Mike Prince
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/21/14
After Northeast High lost 13 seniors and eight starters from last year’s Public League championship-winning team – the third in a row for the Vikings – it appeared its reign may end in 2014.
But thanks to the play of seniors Frank Doran and Eric O’Brien, a four-peat was still a possibility, no matter what the predictions were.
Doran and O’Brien, both All-League first teamers, combined for seven goals today in a 9-5 Northeast win over George Washington in the Public League championship game at Northeast High School’s SuperSite.
The win advances Northeast into the District 12 (City League) championship game Friday against La Salle, which defeated St. Joseph’s Prep, 8-7, in the Philadelphia Catholic League final on Wednesday. The game will be held at Northeast at 3:30 p.m.
In what was the fourth consecutive year in which the Vikings defeated the Eagles in the title game, it was Northeast playing from behind, eventually scoring seven of the game’s final goals, that keyed the victory.
“All four championships have been amazing, but especially this one, being a captain this year and our team having enough heart to bring it through,” Doran said. “It was a tough season losing all of our seniors, but we pulled through.
“Without Eric, I honestly don’t think we’d have this momentum. All season long, we had to teach all the kids to play and he’s been a great help.”
O’Brien and Doran were a huge help to the Vikings (13-3), who went down 2-0 early in the second quarter.
Trailing by two goals, Doran got Northeast on the board just over a minute into the second quarter. After the two teams traded goals, O’Brien scored with a minute and 37 seconds remaining in the first half to tie things up at 3-3.
In the third quarter, O’Brien and Doran each scored twice, eventually helping Northeast to a comfortable enough lead to cruise in the fourth.
“I believe it was just a slow start,” Doran said. “We didn’t have our minds set and we came in thinking too high after having a good start the last two games. We thought we would have another one today, but we got in over our heads.”
GW coach John Creighton said he believes his team’s execution may have been the difference between what was a tale of two halves.
“It certainly wasn’t the energy,” he said. “Our execution in all aspects may have been it. We tried to switch around some of our defense in the second half to put some more pressure on them man to man after we got caught in open lanes playing zone in the first half. Unfortunately, we came out in the second half and we didn’t hit any of our shots and then we were losing possessions.”
With the Vikings’ offense doing more than enough to keep Northeast as the class of the Public League, second team All-League goalkeeper Tyler Nisenfeld was putting in work, stopping 13 shots in the winning effort.
Doran finished with four goals and one assist, while O’Brien recorded three goals and a pair of assists.
“We really weren’t expecting this (before the season),” O’Brien said. “A lot of seniors graduated, but we practiced hard and played through and we did what we wanted. A lot of our offseason work was dedicated to building confidence and becoming a family with a lot of different kids.”
GW, which had its season end with a 12-4 overall record, received a pair of goals apiece from Connor McMonagle and Phelan Sweeney. First team All-League goalkeeper Robert Franklin stopped 13 shots in the losing effort.
“We beat them during the regular season, so I don’t think it was a mentality thing,” said Creighton when asked if his team’s three consecutive Public League championship losses to Northeast was in the player’s heads. “We won one and they won one and it was within two goals, so I don’t think it was that.”
Northeast 9, George Washington 5
George Washington 1-2-2-0—5
Conor McMonagle 2 goals, 1 assist
Phelan Sweeney 2 goals
Matt Woods 1 goal, 1 assist
GK Robert Franklin 13 saves
Frank Doran 4 goals, 1 assist
Eric O’Brien 3 goals, 2 assists
Andre Butts 1 goal
Carmen Roscioli 1 goal
GK Tyler Nisenfeld 13 saves