Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/6/18
Manheim Township made history Tuesday night by ending Garnet Valley’s magical postseason run with a 15-6 victory in the PIAA Class AAA boys’ lacrosse semifinals at Exeter Township High.
In the program’s fourth trip to the state semis, the District 3 champion Blue Streaks now advance to the PIAA title game for the first time in program history. It’s also the first time in the 10-year history of the PIAA playoffs that a boys’ lacrosse championship game will feature a team from an area other than Philly’s Districts 1 or 12.
Manheim Township will meet District 12 champ La Salle (19-4) in Saturday’s state title game, slated for a 4:30 p.m. start at West Chester East High School. Later at Exeter, the Manheim Township girls rallied to topple Springfield-Delco, 12-10, to earn a trip to West Chester East against Unionville.
Hot start: Manheim Township (25-1) came out hot, and took advantage of Garnet Valley mistakes to open up a 6-1 lead by the end of the first period, quite remarkable against a stellar Jaguars keeper and Air Force commit Jason Rose (7 saves). But the District 1 champion Jaguars (17-9) didn’t do Rose any favors in committing seven giveaways in the opening frame, with the Streaks immediately scoring off two of those. Manheim Township also got three man-up scores in the final 2:32 of the first period.
“It’s like offense helps defense, defense helps offense,” Manheim Township senior defender Kyle Lando said. “We came out firing on all cylinders against a great keeper….we were just feeding off the offense’s energy today.”
Mistakes: Garnet Valley cleaned things up in the second period, only committing two turnovers. However, Manheim Township scored immediately after each of those. The Streaks also got a fourth man-up score and put one in the back of the net on a transition goal to make it 11-2 by the 3:52 mark of the second period. A Mitch Lachman goal before the half cut Garnet Valley’s deficit to 11-3 at the break.
But for a typically low-scoring Jaguars team that hadn’t notched more than 10 goals in its last six games, the deficit would be too much to overcome.
“Game plan is out the window,” Garnet Valley coach Frank Urso said of the halftime deficit. “And we started making mistakes. Everyone is trying to rush it. We were throwing the ball away a couple times and allowing them to get cheap goals. That’s what happen when you have a young team. Hats off to them. They played great.”
A veteran Manheim Township squad led 13-4 by the end of the third period, when a lightning delay held things up for about an hour or so before the game could resume. And the Streaks picked up right where they left off with two scores out of the gate.
Junior Sean Curcio (4 goals, 1 assist) and senior Grayson Sallade (3 goals, 2 assists) paced the offensive attack for Manheim Township while senior keeper Caton Johnson collected 10 saves.
“This has been our goal,” Lando said. “We want the state championship. Now we finally have the opportunity to get it after four years of preparation.”
And the Jaguars, which had won last week’s District 1 tourney after entering as the No. 15 seed, would see their playoff run end in the program’s first appearance in the state semis. Not too shabby for a young Garnet Valley squad with only one senior starter.
“No one expected us being in the playoffs, let alone win a district championship let alone be here,” Urso said.
Manheim Twp. 12, Springfield-Delco 10
After edging District 3 foes Exeter and Wilson by one goal each in its last two PIAA victories, Springfield-Delco appeared headed instead for a comfortable win in Tuesday’s state semifinal at Exeter High School against District 3 champion Manheim Township.
The Blue Streaks had other plans. Manheim Township rallied from the four-goal deficit with five unanswered goals and eventually pulled out a 12-10 comeback victory to advance to the PIAA championship game for the first time in program history.
It sets up Saturday’s state title game against District 1 third-place team Unionville (23-2), a 14-4 winner over Garnet Valley, at West Chester East (noon).
“So much joy,” said Manheim Township (25-1) senior Maris Large, who scored five of her team’s final six goals. “I can’t even express how happy I am right now. What a game.”
Up 5-4 at halftime, Springfield scored the first three goals of the second half to open up a 8-4 advantage, its largest of the night, with 16:54 remaining.
“I think they just got a good run in there,” Manheim Township senior defender Ashley Wenger said of falling behind. “Our defense was not talkative in the second half. We knew what we had to fix; to talk more and play as a team.”
The Springfield defense had done a nice job most of the night in keeping a lid on Manheim Township’s towering senior attackers Large (five goals) and Lizzie McBride (1 assist). Large was actually held scoreless until her first goal at the 13:35 mark of the second half.
“I was just so nervous coming into this,” Large said. “Once I saw what they were doing that’s when I knew I needed to play my own game.”
After Manheim Township’s five-goal rally gave the Blue Streaks 9-8 edge with 10:43 left, Erin Gormley and Isabel Mastropietro (4 goals, 1 assist) accounted for back-to-back scores for Springfield to put the Cougars back in front, 10-9, with 5:47 left.
Large answered with three goals over the final 4:43. And Manheim Township keeper Haley McCullough (5 saves) came up with a clutch stop with about three minutes remaining and her team ahead by a goal – Large put the icing on the cake on a score with 12 seconds remaining.
“Now thinking about it it’s a blur,” Wenger said of Manheim Township’s final defensive stop. “She (McCullough) is a great goalie. She really sees it coming quick. She made a great stop. We got the ball down the field Maris put us on top.”
Haley McCullough posted 15 saves for the Blue Streaks.
Manheim Township 12, Springfield-Delco 10
Manheim Township 4 8 – 12
Springfield 5 5 – 10
Lizzie McBride 1a
Ashlyn Campagna 1g, 1a
Shannon Elias 2g, 1a
Maris Large 5g
Taylor Kopan 1g
Lucy Svetec 3g
Dana Carlson 3 1
Olivia Little 1 1
Belle Mastropietro 4 1
Meghan Cull 1 0
Aiden Gallagher 14 saves