By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/6/08
La Salle has captured the Catholic League championship and the final Eastern Pennsylvania Scholastic Lacrosse Association (EPSLA) title.
Tonight at 7:30 the Explorers (30-2) shoot for the last piece of the puzzle when they meet Manheim Township at Comet Field in Millersville for the last Keystone Cup crown.
La Salle (30-2) is gunning for its first state title since 2004. The Explorers advanced by edging top-seeded Malvern Prep, 4-3, Tuesday in the EPSLA finals.
Manheim Township (19-8) won the Central Pennsylvania Scholastic Lacrosse Association (CPSLA) title and then handled western region champion Mt. Lebanon, 11-4, in the Keystone Cup semifinals Tuesday. The Blue Streaks appeared in the Keystone finals in 2006, but were dumped by Malvern Prep, 15-5.
The Blue Streaks are led by middies Chris Zielinski (Colgate signee) and Danny Wertz (52 goals), attacker Conner DuBois (35 goals) and defender/face-off specialist Nick Sizemore. Zielinski, who had three goals in the win against Mt. Lebanon and has 65 in all, was named the CPSLA Player of the Year and recently earned All-American honors.
Also for Manheim, Chris Gorham is a solid goalie and freshman Quint Miller has emerged as a major scoring threat. Another talented freshman is Mark Stratton, the younger brother of Tim Stratton – who graduated last year after setting a national career scoring record of 589 points.
Junior DuBois is the younger brother of John DuBois, who scored 118 goals last year and went to Towson University this year along with Tim Stratton.
La Salle features five All-Americans, including EPSLA tourney MVP Niko Amato, a junior goalie who made the key saves in Tuesday’s title-clincher and has committed to Maryland. Other All-Americans are middies Conrad Ridgway (Penn State signee) and Peter Schwartz, defender Tucker Durkin (junior commited to Bucknell) and long-stick middie Tyler Knarr.
Knarr – a strong defender and face-off specialist who has commitetd to Georgetown – went down six weeks ago with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, but La Salle has found two players to fill his spot. Junior Tyler Houchins has joined Durkin, junior Mike Noone and senior Eric Heisner on the defensive side and junior Derek Bogorowski has filled the hole on the face-offs.
Also on offense, La Salle has great balance with juniors Westy Hopkins and Randy Forster (committed to Penn State) and freshman Kevin Forster while senior Matt Lynch is a key at midfield.
The Keystone Cup will be retired after the season. Next year the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) takes over jurisdiction of boys’ lacrosse and will institute a state-wide tournament with one classification. La Salle will become a PIAA member next year along with the rest of the Catholic League.
NOTES – The field in Millersville is located at 101 Wabank Road. The stadium, which is new and has turf, seats 1,000 spectators in the stands and is situated in a bowl so many more fans can sit comfortably with a good view.