By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/18/14
You could say that Springfield-Delco was in the zone on Saturday.
The eighth-seeded Cougars employed a stifling zone that frustrated No. 1 and previously-undefeated Penncrest and helped key a 9-5 victory in the quarterfinals of the District 1 playoffs at Harriton.
The win vaulted the Cougars (17-3) into Tuesday’s semifinals against fifth-seeded Avon Grove at Henderson (7 p.m.). The Devils downed Central Bucks East, 9-6.
Penncrest (19-1) hosts fourth-seeded Central Bucks East Tuesday at 7 p.m. in a first-round playback game. The Lions must win twice to make the state playoffs (top five teams from District 1 advance).
Springfield-Delco fell to Penncrest (19-1), 11-4, on April 3. This time, it was different.
Cougars coach Tom Lemieux – who credited his defensive coach, Ryne Adolph, for the plan – told his players they would use a zone defense, something they had never done.
The plan worked to perfection as the potent Penncrest attack managed just one first-half goal and was limited to outside shots against freshman goalie James Spence (13 saves). The Cougars took a 5-1 halftime lead and led by as much as 9-3 in the fourth period.
“The idea was to pack it in and make sure James could see the ball,” said Springfield-Delco’s Brian Todaro, who had three goals and an assist. ‘This is so big for us, especially after the way they beat us last time – we had a feeling in our stomachs that no one wanted to have again.”
This time Penncrest felt the pain. The Lions dominated possession as Dylan Protesto won 13 of 17 face-offs and scored twice, but mostly the attack struggled in all areas.
“They had a great game plan and executed it really well,” said Penncrest coach Wayne Matsinger. “Hats off to their goaltender; that’s what happens when you pack it in and give outside shots.
“We didn’t do a good job of executing. We kind of knew the zone was coming, but we forget what we worked on all week. I just hope we can rebound.”
Dennis Charamella also had three goals and an assist and Lucas Spence had a goal and an assist for Springfield-Delco. Luke Charaamell and Dan Wasson each scored once. The defensive unit of Joey Hoey, John Fergusson, Pat Smyth, Matt Qualiariello, Zac Methlie, and Sean Carpenter was flawless.
“After the last time we played Penncrest coach made 30 printouts of the article and made us read it,” said Todaro. “We were reminded of it every game and we used it to field our fire, especially for this game.”
Lemieux was happy to see his team execute so well.
“We have grown up since the first time we played them,” he said. “The best way to learn is from losses; and the kids have bought into what we wanted to do.”
Radnor 6, Garnet Valley 5, 2OT
Jack Fischer scored the game-winner to give the Raiders (15-3) a ticket into Tuesday’s semifinals vs. Bishop Shanahan at Henderson at 5 p.m.
Jack Norton led Radnor with four goals and an assist, Alex Andersen made 12 saves and Tom Meyers went 12-for-16 at the faceoff X.
Matt Moore led Garnet Valley (15-5) with three goals and one assist. Kyle Roberts added a goal and an assist, and Michael Bonaddio made 12 stops for the Jags, who will host Upper Dublin Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the first round of playbacks.
Bishop Shanahan 14, Upper Dublin 5
John Mehok had five goals and four assists and Alex Wagner scored four goals to lead the second-seeded Eagles (17-1).
Shanahan will face Radnor in the semifinals on Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Henderson.
Evan Scott had two goals for the Cards (17-4), who play Tuesday at Garnet Valley at 7 p.m. in a playback game.