By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/29/08
If any school has the right to question how the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) awarded berths for its first state tournament next year, it would be St. Joseph’s Prep.
The Hawks, a Catholic League boys’ power for years, enjoyed one of their best seasons in school history in 2008. They went 22-5 and took eventual state champion La Salle to the limit before bowing, 6-5, in the Catholic League championship game.
One of The Prep’s 22 wins was a 15-4 rout of Manheim Township – the same team that fell to La Salle in the Keystone Cup (state title) game, 7-5.
But since District 12 (comprised of the 15 Catholic League teams) will get only one berth in the PIAA tourney in 2009, a team would have to unseat La Salle to make the field.
La Salle, which finished the season 31-2 and ranked in the top five in two national polls, will return four All-Americans and has numerous major Division I recruits.
“La Salle could be the No. 1 in the country next year,” said St. Joseph’s Prep coach Dan Keating, whose Hawks have fallen to La Salle in each of the last five Catholic League title games and eight of the last 10. “I think they should (qualify) two teams from District 12.
“If we’re fortunate enough to get to the Catholic League finals – which would be the District 12 finals – we obviously would have our hands full.”
St. Joseph’s Prep reached the quarterfinals of the Eastern Pennsylvania Scholastic Lacrosse Association (EPSLA) playoffs last year before bowing to the same Explorers, 13-3. The Hawks finished the year ranked seventh by Phillylacrosse.com and seventh in the Laxpower state computer rankings; Manheim was 28th, and western champion Mt. Lebanon was 33rd.