Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/30/16
Junior backup goalie Matt McLaren said he was prepared when La Salle coach Bill Leahy told him to be ready to play in the second half of Friday afternoon’s Catholic League showdown with St. Joseph’s Prep.
“Halfway through the second quarter coach turned to me and said, ‘You’re going in, get ready,'” said McLaren. “I knew it was a close game and that whatever happened I had to keep my head in the game and do my best.”
McLaren did just that, making eight second-half saves and leading the Explorers to a 13-9 win over the Hawks at La Salle.
The win left the Explorers – ranked fourth by Phillylacrosse.com – at 11-2 overall and 7-0 in the Catholic League. No. 15 St. Joe’s Prep is 9-4 and 7-1.
McLaren replaced starter Michael Clibanoff with the Explorers leading 7-6 at halftime. Brendan Meagher (three goals) gave La Salle an 8-6 lead to open the third period and Brett Baskin (two goals, one assist) made it 9-6. Matt Clibanoff (two goals, one assist) and Chris Hladczuk later scored in the period and La Salle opened up a 13-8 lead early in the fourth on tallies by Clibanoff and Meagher.
“I was seeing the ball well in warmups and when I got into the game,” said McLaren. “I saved the first couple of shots and that gave me some confidence.
“We know the big game is in May (the league championship), but this is a big step in our progress and in where we want to be. We want to keep working hard and keep improving.”
Meagher said his defense was a key. St. Joe’s Prep got five goals from its standout attackman Kevin Stump, but otherwise only Peter Gayhardt (two goals) provided much offense.
“A lot of it (our success) was due to our defense,” said McLaren. “Our defensive middies did a good job covering their big guys and we did well with the one-on-one matchups and our slides.”
McLaren said the team’s goal is the same as it is every year – win the Catholic League championship and make a run to states.
“We’re a very close team; we’re on the same page and that’s helped us a lot,” he said. “Everybody is going 100 percent all the time and we have the same goal and the same drive.”
St. Joseph’s Prep coach Sean Delaney said his team will bounce back from the loss.
“I felt our offense played well for most of the game and we’re getting solid looks on the cage,” he said. “Anytime our guys can play in a big rivalry game like Prep La Salle it will help with their maturity and confidence later in May.
“Composure was the key to the game for us and we didn’t stay composed for all four quarters and that cost us. Bill (Leahy) does a great job with his guys and if we make mistakes they will capitalize.”
La Salle 13, St Joseph’s Prep 9
Chris Hladczuk 1 g
Brett Baskin 2 g 1 a
Matt Clibanoff 2 g 1 a
Cody Mazurek 2 g 2 a
Colin Cahill 1 g 1 a
Brendan Meagher 3 g
Ethan Lamond 2 g
Kyle Landis 1 g
Anthony Giuliani 15/26 faceoff (La Salle stats)
Michael Clibanoff 3 saves
Matt Mclaren 8 saves
St. Joseph’s Prep
Kevin Stump 5g
Griffin Fleming 1a
Peter Gayhardt 2g
Andrew Schreder 1a
Kyle Scheuerle 1g, 1a
Alex Scalamandre 1a
Sean Lyons 10 saves
Dan Fisher 1g, 14 of 24 FO (St. Joe’s stats)