By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/2/09
Six Philly teams continue their quest for the first Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) championship today in semifinal action for boys and girls.
The winners of today’s games advance to the state finals Saturday at HersheyPark Stadium. The girls’ title game will be held at noon, followed by the boys; game at approximately 2 p.m.
Here is a rundown of today’s games:
Conestoga (District 1 No. 1 finisher, 23-1 record, Ranked No. 2 in PA Media Rankings) vs. Springfield-Delco (1-3, 19-5, Ranked No. 5) at Harriton, 1 p.m. – This is a rematch of a Central League that lasted two days due to a postponement caused by lightning when the teams first met on April 21 at Conestoga. Both entered play undefeated and the Pioneers won the contest, 12-9, with a strong showing when play resumed in the third quarter.
Since then, Conestoga has lost only once (to St. Joseph’s Prep) and gone on to claim the Central League and District 1 crowns. The Cougars, meanwhile, have had their ups and downs since the loss. They finished in a second-place tie with Radnor after falling again, to Garnet Valley, and then placed third in the district after bowing to Downingtown East.
Conestoga used a 5-0 run to earn a 9-4 win over Emmaus in the PIAA quarterfinals and Springfield-Delco played, on its own admission, a subpar game against District 3 third-place finisher Carlisle, winning 7-4.
The Pioneers are led by a solid defense that includes All-American Mike Bronzino (committed to Cornell) and fellow senior Phil Cuddeback (Bowdoin) as well as sophomore long-stickmidfielder brian Dailey and junior goalie Peter Zonino. Junior All-American Austin Rogusky (committed to Loyola), senior Paul Mita (Villanova) and junior midfielders Jason Klunder and Ryan Lord have paced the attack.
The Cougars feature junior goalie Austin Kaut, All-American junior midfielder Josh Cavanaugh and sophomore attackman Joe Venit, junior attackman Colin Keegan and junior long-stick midfielder Joe Addona.
Manheim Township (3-1, 20-5, Ranked No. 7) vs. La Salle (12-1, 19-4, Ranked No. 1) at Gov, Mifflin, 8 p.m. – These two teams met in the state finals last year in a game everyone thought would be a blowout – but instead Manheim gave the Explorers a legitimate scare before bowing, 7-5.
Township, the District 3 champion, advanced to the semis by edging two District 7 teams, North Allegheny, 9-8, and Mt. Lebanon, 6-5. The Blue Streak’s attack starts with Dan Wertz, an Ohio State signee who scored twice against La Salle in the game last year. Wertz was named All-American, as was senior face-off specialist/defender Nick Sizemore, a muscular, 6-3, 230-pounder who is going to play football at Buffalo.
Manheim also features senior middie Matt Curcio (Division II Lake Erie) and senior attackman Conner DuBois (Roanoke) as well as goalie Brian Heckert, a smallish but quick keeper with fast hands and toughness to match.
La Salle has defeated Central Bucks East, 13-8, and Downingtown East, 10-8, in games which they bolted to big leads and then suffered some lapses later on. The Explorers no longer dominate the possessions since two-time All-American long-stick midfielder Tyler Knarr (Georgetown) reinjured his knee a month ago.
The Explorers will look to two-time All-American middie Peter Schwartz (Harvard), middie Derek Bogorowski (Lehigh) and attackmen Randy Forster (Penn State), younger brother Kevin Forster, and Westy Hopkins (will prep at Lawrenceville) for offense.
The defense features two-time All-American Tucker Durkin (Johns Hopkins) and Mike Noone (Lehigh) as well as two-time All-American goalie Niko Amato (Maryland), who has earned a reputation for clutch saves.
Unionville (1-5, 21-3, Ranked No. 3) vs. Strath Haven (1-3, 20-4, Ranked No. 2) at West Chester East, 6 p.m. – This is an intriguing rematch of the District 1 quarterfinals, won by Strath Haven, 10-6.
The Panthers then fell to Radnor, 20-11, in the semis, but won a huge 10-9 victory over Bayard Rustin in the third-place game. That allowed them to draw an easier road to the semifinals as they clobbered District 3 teams Penn Manor (19-4) and Hempfield (23-7). Emily Garrity (North Carolina), Annalise Penikis (Lehigh), Kelly Ruffini (Gettysburg) and Ana White have led the attack and the return of Alex Duckenfield – who has missed much of the season with injuries – is a key addition to the team’s midfield, especially on defense.
The Indians eliminated District 1 champion Springfield-Delco, 10-8, in the quarters by running off 10 unanswered goals in a brilliant stretch late in the first half and through the first 15 minutes of the second half. During the run, Unionville used crisp passing and control of the draws to dominate possessions and keep the ball away from the dangerous Cougars.
The Indians, who start only several seniors, have relied heavily on junior goalie Melissa Lloyd (12 saves against Springfield-Delco). They been led on attack by Lindsey Smith, Julie Moran, Erica Midiri, Lizzy Carney and Lisa Riondet.
Manheim Township (3-1, 20-4) vs. Radnor (1-2, 23-1, Ranked No. 1) at Gov. Mifflin, 6 p.m. – On paper this appears to be a mismatch. Township (20-4) has only three seniors and has surprised many to win the District 3 championship and advance to the semis by defeating District 7 foes Mt. Lebanon (14-3) and Peters Township (13-10).
Junior Rachael Rosenfield and sophomore Molly Curcio have led the Blue Streaks’ attack, Megan Lukes (Catholic) leads the defense and Shannon Nee has played well in goal.
Radnor, meanwhile, has regained the No. 1 spot atop the PA media Rankings after handling North Penn 22-14, in the first round of the PIAA tourney and Archbishop Carroll, 14-7, in the quarterfinals. The Raiders (23-1) have looked strong since dropping a 14-9 decision to Springfield-Delco in the District 1 finals, snapping a 44-game win streak.
Sam Ellis (committed to Princeton) has led the Radnor attack along with junior kelyn freedman, Allie Martin, Courtney Campbell and Ali Kelly. Annie Woehling has looked strong in goal.