By Karen Sangillo
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/18/19
The boys on the Springfield-Delco lacrosse team acted like it was just another game.
But Saturday’s District 1 Class 3A quarterfinal game against visiting Downingtown East meant an automatic berth in the PIAA tournament.
Springfield-Delco (18-2), the tournament’s top seed, used a 5-1 run to close the game and emerge with a 9-6 victory at Halderman Field.
The winning Cougars will host Central League rival Garnet Valley – a 14-3 winner over Central Bucks West – Tuesday in the semifinals at 5:15 p.m. Downingtown East (10-11) will travel to CB West for a playback, needing one win to claim a state berth.
Springfield started strong, netting the first four goals as Jack Spence (3G, 1A) scored twice and Liam DeFonzo and Aidan Shandley added once apiece.
Dillon Hammer got the Cougars started with 2:32 remaining in the first quarter and in the second period James Riley scored twice, both times with an assist by Grady Meredith (1G, 2A) to close the deficit to 4-3 at halftime.
Downingtown East kept the momentum in the third quarter, getting the first two goals by Jared Kolinsky and Zach Lee to take its first lead, 5-4, with 7:25 remaining.
It was short-lived.
A mere nine seconds later, Colin Hopkins tied it up for Springfield, then DeFonzo and Aidan Smith each added goals to give Springfield a 7-5 lead after three periods.
“We scored four goals early and I think in the second quarter we got away from doing what we were successful with,” said Spence, a Lehigh signee recently named the Central League MVP. “In the third quarter our coaches brought us together and got us back on track.
“You can’t let a team like Downingtown East back in. They’re unbelievable defensively; they’re so solid and they have some studs on offense.”
Spence and Jack Clark scored in the fourth quarter for Springfield to seal the win. Two of Springfield’s goals were man-up.
“Our man up’s been good all year,” Springfield-Delco coach Tom Lemieux said. “We have some quality shooters and we’re unselfish. We couldn’t be happier with the way the kids competed today.
“I think we’ve just got to keep grinding. We want to be playing our best this time of year. We’ve got a ton of respect for Downingtown East and the job they do over there, their staff and their kids. That’s a really quality program we just beat so we’re going to enjoy this day and then we’ll get back to business.
“It’s a game of runs. They went on a little run, then we went on a little run, fortunately for us at the end of the game our run was just a little bit bigger.”
The two met on opening day this season, resulting in a 6-3 win for Springfield.
“We beat them on opening day but that was so long ago,” Spence said. “It’s a long season and I think we progressed a lot from where we were. We did a great job today, all of us.
“The goal from here on out is to stay hungry. The district championship is another goal for us. We want to win it and then go on to states and do really well there.”
Springfield is anxious to play Garnet Valley again. The two met on April 2, with Garnet Valley coming winning, 9-8.
“We’re really looking forward to Garnet,” Spence said. “It’s a revenge game. We want to get them back.
“We’re just going to go out on Monday and watch film, try to get better in practice and compete like we do every day.”
After an opening round bye, Springfield defeated 16th seed Spring-Ford 9-7 in the second round to advance to the quarterfinals.
Downingtown East, the 24th and final seed, downed ninth seed Wissahickon, 11-4, in the tournament’s opening round, then ousted No. 8 Boyertown 15-4 in the second round. Despite the low seed, the Cougars are confident they can make it to states and make a run.
“We played hard,” Downingtown East coach Todd Cliggett said. “You can’t go down 4-0 and expect to beat a team like Springfield, but our kids battled and we’ll be ready to go on Tuesday. A win and we’re in.
“We weren’t concerned with where we were seeded. You’ve just got to get in. We battled through some injuries this year and I put together a tough schedule to be prepared for May and it worked out for us. We’re still alive.
“We’re practicing Monday and we’ve got another shot.”
Springfield-Delco 9, Downingtown East 6
Springfield-Delco 3 1 3 2 – 9
Dt East 0 2 3 1 – 6
James Riley 2g
Grady Meredith 1g 3a
Dillon Hammer 1g
Jared Kolinsky 1g
Zach Lee 1g
Luke Wetzel 1a
Brian Miller 1a
Nico Iacovino 13 saves
Jack Spence 3g, 1a
Jack Clark 1g, 1a
Liam Difonzo 2g
Aidan Shandley 1g, 2a
Colin Hopkins 1g
Aidan Smith 1g
Zack Broomall 11/19 FO
Jimmy Donegan 8 saves