By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/28/14
Mitch Soufleris collected three goals and two assists and La Salle used a 5-0 second-period run to key a 9-5 victory tonight over Springfield-Delco in the first round of the PIAA lacrosse tournament.
The District 12 champion Explorers (14-7) advance to face District 1 fifth-place finisher Penncrest, a 13-10 winner over Bishop Shanahan. The game will be played Saturday at a site and time to be determined.
La Salle fell behind, 2-0, early in the second period before scoring five goals in six minutes. Stephen Hudak (two goals) started the barrage and Aidan Kerrigan scored the next two, followed by Chris Hladczuk and Soufleris.
The Cougars (18-5) never got even again.
“In the first quarter we were playing really selfish lacrosse,” said Hudak, a senior. “Once we started moving the ball we got open shots. They were sliding early so after two passes we’d have a nice shot and we really buried (them).”
Michael Rihm added a goal and an assist for the defending state champion Explorers and Colin MacDougall posted nine saves.
After Soufleris made it 6-3 in the third period, the Cougars drew within 6-5 on fourth-quarter goals by Luke Charamella and Lucas Spence. But Soufleris, Hudak and Rihm finished the job.
“We’re just coming to work every single day and working hard and we know if we play hard-nosed lacrosse and get groundballs, it’s anybody’s tournament,” said Hudak. “If we play like we did today, we have a good shot of making it back to Hershey.”
Hudak said his team – which has relied heavily on freshmen and other underclassmen – has matured with the help of a tough non-league schedule.
“We play a tough schedule so when we get to these games we’re ready for them,” said Hudak. “We can go out and we know how to handle pressure in big games against tough opponents.
“That helps us mature – especially for a young team – and coach (Bill Leahy) says when you work this hard to get to this point good things happen.”
Springfield-Delco coach Tom Lemieux said the toughest thing about the loss was saying good bye to a team he loved coaching.
“La Salle is a good team and we got away from our team offense,” he said.
“This is the best group of guys I have ever been around. It was a special season – we hadn’t made the state tournament since 2010 and the kids really bought into what we were doing. I am very proud of them.”
La Salle 9, Springfield-Delco 5
La Salle 0-5-1-3- 9
Springfield-Delco 1-2-0-2- – 5
Mitch Soufleris 3g, 2a
Stephen Hudak 2g
Aidan Kerrigan 2g
Zack Drake 3a
Michael Rihm 1g, 1a
Brett Baskin 1a
Chris Hladczuk 1g
Colin MacDougall 9 saves
Dennis Charamella 1g
Brian Todaro 1g
Dan Dickinson 1g
Luke Charamella 1g, 1a
Lucas Spence 1g
James Spence 6 saves