Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/2/19
MECHANICSBURG – The offensive avalanche that was Radnor’s 13-4 win over Mount Lebanon in the PIAA Class 3A quarterfinals Saturday may have overshadowed Archer Darrach’s impact. But by the time the Radnor goalie trotted off John H. Frederick Field with more than five minutes left, his job was very much done.
For 22 minutes and 46 seconds, Darrach and the Radnor defense held the Blue Devils off the scoreboard. Darrach was outstanding between the posts with six saves against only three goals allowed. And with Mount Lebanon, the District 7 runner-up, unable to break through and settling for long-range shots, Darrach was all too happy to gobble them up in a cycle that fed the defense’s confidence.
“When the shots are that far out, I have extra time to see it, which makes it that much easier,” said Darrach, whose Raiders will face Conestoga Tuesday (4 p.m.) in the semifinals at Harriton. “And it’s super helpful, and credit to my defense and the defensive coaches for putting in a great system to keep them out.”
“It’s a completely different game when our whole team is locked in, and Archer just being the really excellent goalie he is, he stepped up today and made some really big saves,” Radnor defenseman Grant Pierce said. “But Archer really locked in today, got off the bus and really showed out and he played really well today. Even off-cage shots, he was there, and I just through Archer had an excellent day.”
Darrach’s shot-stopping left room for the Radnor offense to thrive. It kicked into gear with the final seven goals of the second quarter, the first five in a devastating stretch of 2:01, to break open a tie game. All seven were assisted, with Jackson Birtwistle and Drew Brown in particular having a field day.
Birtwistle scored three goals to go with four assists. Brown paired two markers with four helpers. One of the pair had a hand in nine of of the Raiders’ 10 goals in the middle two frames.
“It’s nice to have such a great offense,” Darrach said. “Our three attackmen and our middies, they’re great scorers and great shooters. It’s tough to go against them in practice. To have them go on a six-goal run, it’s super helpful to our team and it boosts the morale of our teammates.”
John Austen scored a hat trick, and Jack Dooley and Jaden Goldstein scored twice each for Radnor, which got a 12-for-20 day at the X from Pat Cullen. John Sramac led Mount Lebanon with three goals and an assist.
Strath Haven 12, Hampton 5
The difference between the Strath Haven teams that made two of the last three state semifinals and the one that booked its ticket Saturday boils down to one number: 26, as in the jersey worn by Jeff Conner, now a freshman and national champion at the University of Virginia. In his star-studded wake, Conner left plenty of talents that have grown out of his shadow.
Ibo Pio and Ethan Belville scored four goals each and combined for three assists as the Panthers returned to the PIAA Class 2A semifinals with a win Saturday in Mechanicsburg. The Panthers will meet Hershey in the semifinals Tuesday at Exeter at 6 p.m.
“I get a lot more touches now because big 26 is not here anymore,” Belville said. “But Ibo creates for me so much. You can’t not pull (on his passes). And I keep getting shorties a lot.”
“It’s really nice watching him do it,” Pio said of Belville. “He’s really grown this year. He’s gotten a whole lot better than last year. You look back at last year, we had Jeff Conner, he was our main goalscorer. But this year, we need someone to step up, and of course Nicky (Palermo) and I were stepping up, but we didn’t expect (Belville) to step up as much as he did, and it’s nice to see that.”
Belville scored four times in the first half to give Haven a 6-2 lead. The tallies take him to 70 goals on the season. Pio provided three goals after the break, including a 6-0 run in the middle of the game that put the Panthers in control. Nicky Palermo had a goal and an assist, and Vincey Palermo turned aside six shots as Haven blanked Hampton for 21:14 in the middle two quarters. The combo of Christian Mazur and Matt Shingle powered a 12-for-21 edge on draws for Haven.
Ian Andersson led Hampton with a goal and two assists, Max Saltrelli scored twice.
Radnor 13, Mount Lebanon 4
Radnor 2 7 3 1 – 13
Mount Lebanon 1 1 1 1 – 4
Jackson Birtwistle 3g, 4a
Jack Dooley 2g
Drew Brown 2g, 4a
John Austen 3g
Jaden Goldstein 2g
Damien Raimondo 1a
David Azzarano 1g
Patrick Cullen 12-for-20 faceoffs
Archer Darrach 6 saves
John Sramac 3g, 1a
Ben Sombar 1a
Jack Sullivan 1a
Blake Nelson 1g
Tucker Welch 7 saves
Strath Haven 12, Hampton 5
Hampton 2 0 2 1 – 5
Strath Haven 2 4 3 3 – 12
Ibo Pio 4g, a
Ethan Belville 4g, 2a
Nicky Palermo g, a
Matt Faggioli 2g
Alex Lombard g
Walter Clauss a
Matt Shingle 8-for-15 faceoffs
Christian Mazur 4-for-6 faceoffs
Vincey Palermo 6 saves
Max Saltrelli 2g
Andrew Coholic g
Ian Andersson g, 2a
Zach Krempasky g
Jake Schwarzbach 8-for-17 faceoffs
Matt Huskey 7 saves