By Teddy Bailey
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/22/15
Bishop Shanahan is headed back to the state tournament.
Junior attackman Alex Wagner scored three goals and added an assist behind a stifling Eagles defense in Shanahan’s 10-5 victory Thursday over Garnet Valley in the District 1 fifth-place conoslation game at Harriton High.
The Eagles (18-2) advance to play the District 12 champion – St. Joseph’s Prep and George Washington meet today for the title at 6 p.m. – in the first round of the PIAA tournament Wednesday at a neutral site.
Jerry Riccardo and Sam Goforth added a pair of goals each for the Eagles, who jumped to a 6-1 lead and then pulled away after Garnet Valley (15-6) got as close as 6-3.
“I’ve been here for six years, and we’ve had a pretty darn good program, and this is the best we’ve played in six years,” Shanahan head coach Jon Heisman said. “This was a complete game against a superb team. We executed our game plan to shut down [Matt] Moore, a superstar. These kids believed in themselves and we finally got healthy. Everything came together today.”
Senior Midfielder Pat Corcoran capped a dominant first half with an unassisted goal with under three minutes remaining in the second quarter to give his team a 4-1 lead at halftime.
“I think we came out really strong today and came out with the type of intensity that we needed,” Corcoran said. “We knew going in that they were really good on the faceoff and that we needed to neutralize and get some possessions.”
Bishop Shanahan was able to control almost every facet of the game for the majority of the game. With the absence of a certified FOGO, Shanahan relied on multiple players again to handle the face-off duties against Garnet Valley standout Dan Lanham. The “face-off by committee” worked wonders yet again for Heisman’s team, splitting the battle at the X.
The Eagles defense, anchored by senior defensemen Jim Walsh, Jack Geiger and Connor Davis, played a physical brand that stymied the Jaguars’ offense.
“We’ve been doing that all year,” Heisman said of his face-off strategy. “Our faceoff guy is a freshman that is up and coming. Our poles have faced-off all year. We just tried to neutralize, and it worked. We were probably 50-50, and that was good enough.”
“That was unbelievable,” Corcoran said of his defense. “The defense really stepped up today and we just wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.”
After a disappointing 9-4 loss to Radnor in the District 1 Quarterfinals on Saturday, Shanahan responded with a thrilling overtime win at Penncrest to keep its season alive.
“It was definitely a wakeup call against Radnor,” Corcoran said. “We got crushed and came out flat. We had to rebound if we wanted to keep playing. It all came down to how much we wanted it and we wanted it pretty bad, so we figured it up and picked up our game.”
“We were never concerned about them giving up,’ said Urso said of the Jaguars. “They weren’t going to do that. They started battling and started coming back a little bit. And then, there were a couple more mistakes.’
Denny Nealon, who would later assist on a Tim Bradley (two scores) goal, sparked the mini-rally with a goal. And with 2:11 left in the third, Matt Moore’s goal dragged Garnet Valley within 6-3.
But Shanahan’s Alex Wagner bagged two goals in the final 1:10 of the quarter, including one with three seconds left. Wagner would score a hat trick and add an assist.
Garnet Valley, District 1’s top seed, tied Penncrest for its first Central League Championship. The Jags tried to rally when Denny Nealon scored and Moore converted late in the third period.
But Wagner scored twice in the final 1:10 of the quarter.
Bishop Shanahan 1-3-4-2- 10
Garnet Valley 1-0-2-2- 5
Eli Goforth 2a
Alex Wagner 3g 1a
Pat Corcoran 1g
Ben Farrell 1g 1a
Jerry Riccardo 2g
Sam Goforth 2g
Ryan Smith 1g
Jason Yoquinto 13 saves
Gray McKee 1g, 1a
Matt Moore 1g
Jacob Buttermore 1g
Denny Nealon 1g,1a
Tyler Moschell 1a
Timmy Bradley 1g
Michael Bonaddio 17 saves