By Matt Chandik
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/26/17
Anthony DiVario hasn’t been at the peak of his physical health since midway through Springfield-Delco’s football season.
DiVario slipped a disc in his back at his outside linebacker position, yet continued to play five more weeks. It’s lingered for the Springfield defenseman, and last week, he rolled an ankle in practice. In the District 1 semifinals against Radnor, he rolled his other one. Defensive midfielder Matt Ries is in a similar situation with an ankle sprain.
Nobody feels pain at this time of year, though, at least not until their final loss of the year. Thursday, DiVario and Ries were part of a stingy Springfield (18-3) defense that spearheaded a 4-3 win over West Chester Henderson in the District 1 Class AA championship at West Chester East.
The newly-minted district champs will take on Trinity, District 3’s No. 5 seed, in Tuesday’s state-tournament opener. The Warriors (17-3) get to play District 12 runner-up Archbishop Wood. Times and locations are to be determined.
“I’d rather have a blowout and make it a little bit easier on us,” DiVario said. “We have a solid group down there. Our goalie (James Spence) is a stud in the net. He came up with a huge save with a minute left and Mike Vent gets a huge ground ball, we get it up and out and let our offense finish the game out for us.
“It’s tough when you’re up a goal, there’s one minute left and they have the ball. You don’t really know what they’re going to do, but we held it down on defense.”
Indeed, they did. Spence came up with the biggest of his nine saves with 43 ticks to go when he denied an Archer Rymiszewski attempt with his stick. The four-year starter and All-American is considered the top goalie in the area, but he also had help from his friends. The Warriors owned time of possession thanks to a 9-for-11 day at the faceoff X from Luke Wierman.
Despite that and goals from Rymiszewski, Nick Mascetti and Matt Turse, they frequently had to settle for low-percentage looks. DiVario and LSM-for-the-day Pat Clemens, usually at close defense, led the stingy group of long poles. Ries and Liam DiFonzo anchored the group of defensive midfielders, a group that was occasionally joined by standout attackman Kyle Long for the night.
“Our mentality is, ‘we can’t be hurt,’” Ries said. “We’ve got a big roster, but Anthony DiVario can play through anything. We’ll fight through anything. We rely on each other, so we know we’re not going to let each other down. We don’t do it for ourselves. We do it for each other, so if we’re hurt, we’re going to fight through it.”
“I think they had a lot of C-cuts and cuts from back door that they were trying to sneak where you didn’t even see them,” Henderson goalie Kyle Dampman said. “We had to keep our eyes on them and that’s why I came out and grabbed a couple (passes). They just kept cutting and getting open, though.”
The loss might end up being a net positive for the Warriors.
“We haven’t had a loss in a while,” said Dampman, whose team hadn’t taken an L since a 9-4 loss to Avon Grove on March 30 and had rattled off 15 straight wins. “I think we just need to come out strong and take advantage of this loss and how it feels. We don’t want to let it happen again.”
They might not.
West Chester Henderson 1 1 1 0 – 3
Archer Rymiszewski 1g
Nick Mascetti 1g
Matt Turse 1g
Joe Saulino 1a
Brandon Moyer 1a
Kyle Dampman 4 saves
Springfield-Delco 1 2 1 0 — 4
Kyle Long 1g, 2a
Mike Tulskie 1g
Ben Garcia 1g
Joey DeBernardi 1g
Liam DiFonzo 1a
James Spence 9 saves