Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/5/19
Dan Mallee said his La Salle captains clearly defined what his team faced when it began the fourth period trailing 10-4 Tuesday against Garnet Valley in the PIAA class AAA semifinals.
“Our captains brought us over and they said, ‘This could be the last 12 minutes I could ever wear a La Salle Explorers uniform,'” said Mallee. “This got us all fired up, we knew we had to keep chugging – keep going.”
The Explorers will chug their way to West Chester East Saturday for the state chapionship game. They made a stunning rally to tie the game and then won it, 11-10, in the second overtime on Mallee’s rebound goal at Avon Grove.
The win advanced District 12 champion La Salle (21-5) into another title-game match with Conestoga, an 8-7 winner over Radnor. Conestoga and La Salle have met four times for the state title (all when there was only one classification) in the first 10 years of PIAA play.
La Salle won the battles in 2009 (7-3) and 2013 (13-4) while Conestoga took the 2010 (13-6) and 2012 (10-7) meetings. Conestoga also fell in the AAA finals in 2017, 5-4 to Avon Grove in double overtime. The Pioneers also defeated La Salle, 10-7, this year.
Mallee – who had four goals and an assist – won the game after Garnet Valley turned it over on an offisdes call. Nick Van Horn saved a Chris Mockaitis shot off transition. Mallee scooped the loose ball, carefully found his spot and beat Van Horn (15 saves) high.
“At the end of the day we put it in the back of the net and we have to credit everyone in the La Salle Lacrosse program to this win,” said Mallee, “the coaches, the managers, the parents and the alumni. Couldn’t have done it without you.”
Mallee, a junior, started the comeback to make it 10-5 and also made it 10-6 with 6:58 to play. Zac Coar (two goals, one assists) made it 10-7 with 5:16 to play and Mason Lazasz converted off a Shane Osbourne fee with 3:32 left in regulation.
Osborne scored 20 seconds later and Mallee tied it at 10 with 2:14 left.
A key for La Salle was John John Giuliani winning most of the fourth period faceoffs (La Salle won 12 of 23 overall).
“We did a great job today on the ‘X’ in the beginning of the game.” said Giuliani. “We began to tail off during the second and third quarter, but then we picked it up and in our fourth quarter.
“Brett Mallee, Chris Mockaitas, and Griffin Zobel, along with all of our wings really balled out and really dominated. We try to work at dominating the first five yards (off the wing) everyday in practice and it really showed today as we came back and took them to overtime and eventually secure the dub.”
Garnet Valley’s Mitch Lachman (five goals) and Jake Morin (four goals, three assists) helped stake the Jaguars to the big lead. Lachman was heartbroken.
“It’s terrible,” said Lachman, a junior. “I love these guys to death. I hate to see these seniors go. We made a crazy run these last two years. We’re going to be back and we will learn from this game.”
La Salle opened a 3-0 lead in the second period, but the Jags suddenly exploded for five goals and added five more in the third period.
Mockaitis had the only La Salle goal of the third quarter, but Morin scored on man-up, Lachman tallied his fifth and Morin made it 10-4 lead with 3:31 left in the third quarter.
“It was a tremendous game by both teams,” said La Salle coach Bill Leahy. “GV was extremely well coached and their men fought hard.
“We had great respect for them before and even more so now. It was a shame either team had to lose. It was just a very high level lacrosse game. We were fortunate the ball literally bounced our way at the end.”
PIAA Class AAA semifinals
La Salle 11, Garnet Valley 10, 2 OT
Garnet Valley 0-5-5-0-0-0- 10
La Salle 3-0-1-6-0–1 11
Mitch Lachman 5g
Jake Morin 4g, 3a
Danny Bradley 1g, 1a
Hunter Baar 2a
Max Busenkell 1a
Bryce Stansfield 1a
Nick Van Horn 15 saves
Dan Mallee 4G, 1A (Game-winner in 2 OT)
Zach Coar 2G, 1A
Mason Lazasz 1G
Robert Foster 1G
Christopher Mockaitis 1G
Shane Osborne 2G
Christian Suter saves 5