Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/29/15
Cheltenham’s players stormed the field when Tuesday’s game came to a dramatic end as the host Panthers won their first Suburban One American Conference game in four years with a 7-6 overtime victory over visiting Norristown.
As Cheltenham coach Mike DiPuppo explained, it was a “hilarious” scene.
“They all kind of merged and were trying to celebrate without knocking each other over,” he said. “It was a great thing to watch.”
What the Panthers were celebrating was a win that wouldn’t have been possible without a huge fourth-quarter comeback.
Down by three goals, Cheltenham came all the way back, knotting the score on a goal by Antonio Ringgold that forced overtime, and then watched as Ringgold beat his man to score the game-winner one minute and 23 seconds into the extra period.
“These guys have heart, and just getting to overtime is one example,” DiPuppo said. “Antonio took it from the top and went one-on-one and beat his man and put it in the back of the net.”
Ringgold and Thomas Hipwell scored three goals apiece to lead Cheltenham (1-11, 1-9). Goalkeeper David Friedman stood tall in net, stopping 13 shots to earn the win.
“It’s awesome,” DiPuppo said of his team’s first win of the season. “The way they fought back in the fourth quarter to tie it and force overtime is something we’ve been preaching all year. Never give up, never give up, never give up. They stood tall and we got back into the game.
“The defense held their ground and put us into overtime and once we got there, we knew we could win the game.”
The Panthers scored just 15 seconds into the contest and led 2-0 at one point before allowing Norristown (1-13, 1-10) to rip off three consecutive goals before the half to go into the intermission with a 3-2 lead. After Cheltenham tied things up, Norristown went back up by three (6-3) in what was a game of runs.
The rest is history – and so is Cheltenham’s conference losing streak.
“It’s huge … it’s a huge weight lifted off our backs,” said DiPuppo, who was hired early in the 2014 season when Cheltenham’s coach was injured in a school incident and an article was placed on Phillylacrosse.com that the program could be dropped if a coach was not found immediately. “There are some games we knew we were in and a couple we could’ve won and fell shot at the end, but to get this win is huge.”
Anthony Loftus scored Cheltenham’s other goal and registered one assist, while Erek Cunningham tallied two. Jade Siojo led the Panthers with nine ground balls. Thomas Lenartowicz won 6-of-10 face-offs.
Cheltenham didn’t field a team in 2012, but went winless in 2013 and 2014 in conference play.
NAHS- 0-3-3-0-0= 6
CHS- 2-0-1-3-1= 7
Antonio Ringgold- 3G (tying goal in 4th & GW goal 1:23 in OT), 1A
Thomas Hipwell- 3G, 6 GBs
Anthony Loftus- 1G, 1A
Erek Cunningham- 2A
Jade Siojo- 9 GBs
Thomas Lenartowicz- 6/10 face-offs
David Friedman- 13 Saves