By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/13/21
Radnor senior co-captain Mark McKeon said Radnor’s state championship Saturday at West Chester East was the result of hard work and team chemistry.
“It just brings you to tears,” said McKeon after the 10-2 PIAA Class AAA title rout of Kennett. “The amount of hard work we put in every single day in practice … I mean we are beating each other up in practice, drawing blood in practice, all to get to this spot.
“It means so much to us and the seniors and my co-captain Grant (Pierce) to give these coaches a championship and to bring these guys a championship because we worked so hard for this.”
The grueling practices paid off Saturday as Radnor (23-2) won its second PIAA title (it won in 2015 when there was one class).
The Raiders’ defense completely stifled the dangerous Blue Demons attack, holding Kennett scoreless over the final 33 minutes, 43 seconds. Meanwhile, Radnor’s patient, pass-oriented attack led to numerous close-in goals and overcame the fact Kennett won 10 of the 15 faceoffs.
The Raiders capped a season that saw a rare undefeated Central League championship and an impressive rebound from a disappointing District 1 semifinal loss to Springfield-Delco.
“This was a great group of brothers,” added Pierce. “It’s incredible and I couldn’t be more proud of these guys. They gave everything they had to me and I gave everything I had to them.”
“There is nothing better that I can ask for,” added senior attackman Drew Cox. “Most of this team has been together since 3rd grade and to finish it off was great.
“Last year when the season got canceled we were all super disappointed – so we came out super hungry this year we got it done.”
Damien Ramondo (three goals, one assists) and Ryan Goldstein (two goals five assists) led a balanced while Jack Murphy and Colin French each scored twice.
The Raiders jumped to a 4-0 lead on a goal by Ramondo, two by French and another by Cox – three were assisted by Goldstein. Kennett finally scored late in the first period when Zach Hulme drilled one past Robert Hobbs (8 saves) and Buzzy Hertz made it 4-2 after 2:17 of the second period.
But after that, Hobbs and the swarming Radnor defense continually frustrated the Kennett offense by pushing out its defenders, closing down passing lanes and sliding to any open spots while also deflecting many shots.
The defensive unit consisted of Pierce, Will Gallagher and Carson Smith, LSMs Casey Ott, Thomas Barton, and Luciano Chadha and defensive middies McKeon, Peter Vitale, and Giordan Romando.
“Our defense has been playing at a high level all year,’ said Radnor coach John Begier. “They are athletic and what they really do well is that they play as a 7-man unit and they play hard and do it without fouling. They are really connected and they support each other.
“They are smart and you saw that today against a very good offense. Kennett’s got some great personnel and they scored some big goals in states. It takes a lot of work to try to keep them to two goals that really starts with our defensive coordinator, John Sims.”
“We had three goals and one was to win a state championship,” junior Goldstein said. “We accomplished this goal and will last for a lifetime.”
“Honestly, the main thing is how hard we practice,” Ramondo added. “Everyone gives 100 percent in practice, that’s what will stand out to me.
“We have a lot of chemistry and we move the ball well. (Offensive) coach (Mark) Petrone always says we want to work the closest shot on goal.”
Ramondo said the achievement of playing for a state title motivated him on the bus ride to WC East.
“It kind of hit me on the bus ride here,” he said. “Like 90 percent of us have been playing together since we were little and now that dream has become a reality. We always looked to this moment and now it’s here.”
Cox said the team actually increased its intensity after sling the 11-10 District 1 semifinal game to Central League rival Springfield-Delco.
“Obviously you never want to lose but that game put some fire in us,” he said. “We needed to come play our hearts out in every game and we did that.”
PIAA AAA Championship
Radnor 10, Kennett 2
Kennett 1-1-0– 2
Ryan Goldstein 2G 5A
Damien Ramondo 3G 1A
Jack Murphy 2G
Colin French 2G
Drew Cox 1G
Giordan Ramondo 1A
Nick Lucchesi 1A
Mark McKeon 1A
Thomas Hannum 4/7 FO
Mason Brown 2/7 FO
Robert Hobbs 8 Saves
Zach Hulme 1g
Buzzy Hertz 1g
Richie Hughson 10/15 FO
Jayson Astle 7 saves