Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/8/15
By Dave Kurtz, courtesy PAC-10Sports.com
The high five has been part of the sports landscape for nearly a half-century, a transcendental gesture of triumph and achievement.
Thursday night at Henry J. Bernat Field, the Spring-Ford Rams executed their own unique version of the high five, winning a fifth straight Pioneer Athletic Conference boys lacrosse championship with an 8-7 overtime victory over Owen J. Roberts.
These teams have met in every PAC-10 final and the Rams have won six of the nine years.
Dan Cassidy gathered in a groundball at the Spring-Ford defensive end, bolted up field at full gallop and laid a perfect pass on the stick of Jake Hvazda to the left of OJR goalie Brandon Calle. Hvazda did the rest, one-timing the ball into the net to set off a raucous celebration that included, you guessed it, a torrent of high-fives.
“Dan Cassidy did everything on that play,” said Hvazda, who finished with two goals and three assists. “He was hauling down the field and I just caught it and shot it. Danny was responsible, getting that ground ball and setting me up. I guess you could say I was in the right place at the right time.”
The decisive play capped another monumental struggle between the longtime combatants, who have squared off in each of the nine PAC-10 boys lax finals since the league sanctioned the sport in 2007.
Owen J. Roberts never trailed in the contest until the final bell, holding leads of 5-2 at the break and 7-5 midway through the fourth quarter before Carter Gensler and Hvazda tied things up at the end of regulation with goals at the 6:28 and 2:06 marks.
“Our defense was huge, everybody was huge,” said OJR coach Jeff Neese, whose club got tremendous efforts from goalie Brandon Calle (15 saves), Austin Delgatto (3 goals, including his 75th of the season), Chris Kent (2 goals, assist) and Sam Garges (goal, 2 assists). “The breaks just fell their way at the end.
“I’m proud of the kids, they played one helluva game. To lose like that by one goal really hurts. It was back-and-forth, just an exceptional game.”
Calle was magnificent, setting the tone with nine saves alone in the first half as the Wildcats (15-5) used a 3-0 second-quarter run to go up 5-2 at the break.
But Spring-Ford (19-1), which has now won 46 straight PAC-10 games and eight in a row over OJR, drew even by the end of the third quarter, getting goals from Kevin Todd, Cassidy and Josh Gliva in the final 3:03 of the frame for a 5-5 standoff.
Undaunted, the Cats went up 7-5 on two goals by Delgatto (assisted by Kent and Garges) with 8:07 left. But that would be the extent of the hosts’ offensive production, allowing the Rams to send the contest to the extra session with their late burst.
“Their goalie was out of his mind,” said Spring-Ford coach Kevin Donnelly of Calle. “We were getting a lot of shots, some were sailing and he was making great saves on the others. Our message was, ‘keep playing our game and things will turn around.’
“The kids showed how resilient they are. It’s a great group of guys – they’re awesome. We don’t get many chances to sharpen the sword during the season but this was one of those occasions. We showed the type of team we are and played to the level that we’re capable of.”
All Pioneer Athletic Conference champions
2007 – Spring-Ford 11, Owen J. Roberts 10 (OT)
2008 – Owen J. Roberts 15, Spring-Ford 4
2009 – Owen J. Roberts 8, Spring-Ford 7
2010 – Owen J. Roberts 11, Spring-Ford 9
2011 – Spring-Ford 20, Owen J. Roberts 13
2012 – Spring-Ford 9, Owen J. Roberts 8
2013 – Spring-Ford 10, Owen J. Roberts 9 (2OT)
2014 – Spring-Ford 15, Owen J. Roberts 8
2015 – Spring-Ford 8, Owen J,. Roberts 7 (OT)
Spring-Ford 8, Owen J. Roberts 7 (OT)
Owen J. Roberts 2 3 0 2 0 – 7
Spring-Ford 2 0 3 2 1 – 8
Owen J. Roberts
Chris Kent 2g 1a
Sam Garges 1g 2a
Ben Hiltebeitel 1a
Austin Delgatto 3g
Austin Koury 1a
Jack Colt 1g
Brandon Calle 15 saves
Jake Hvazda 2g 3a (game-winning goal with :40 left in 1st OT)
Carter Gensler 1g
Kevin Todd 1g 1a
Josh Gliva 1g
Dan Cassidy 2g 1a
Ray Orcutt 1g
Chris Morgan 5 saves
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