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Boys’ lacrosse: La Salle’s second-half surge sparks 9-5 win over defending PIAA champion Radnor

Saturday, 26th March 2022

Categories Boy's/Men's, High School  

By Chris Goldberg, Posted 3/26/22

Perhaps the 2021 season ending made the 2022 season debut even more special for the La Salle lacrosse team Friday night.

Charlie Huntley

The host Explorers outscored Radnor, 6-1, in the second half and opened their campaign with a 9-5 triumph over Radnor before a large crowd watching two teams with high expectations.

La Salle had defeated the Raptors (the school’s new mascot) on opening day 2021 and had the goal of a state title, but fell to Wissahickon in the first round of the PIAA Class AAA tourney. Radnor, of course, went on to win the state crown.

“Last year we played them the first game and had a sour end of the season,” said La Salle senior midfielder Charlie Huntley, who had a goal and an assist.

“We’re hungry. We had a lot of young guys last year so we needed to develop and we’ve had this marked on our schedules since the fall. We had a bunch of energy; it was a slow first half, but we really picked it up in the second and showed what La Salle lacrosse is about.”

Radnor scored three unanswered goals – by Nick Lucchesi (1G), Mason Montrella and Ryan Goldstein (1G, 2A) – in the second period to seize a 4-3 halftime lead. But the Explorers dominated in the third period, sparked by the work of sophomore faceoff specialist Stevie Davis – who won his last 12 draws and finished 14 of 17.

“Stevie is the biggest X factor on the field,” said Huntley.

Huntley tied the game, 4-4, with 9:25 left in the third quarter and PJ Oppenheimer (3G) scored back-to-back to make it 6-4. The Raptors drew within 6-5 when Goldstein fed Nate Lucchesi (1G, 1A), but La Salle continued to dominate possessions and finally Jack Vandegrift (2G) made it 7-5 with 3;29 to play. Andrew Kelly (2G) and Vandegrift added insurance tallies.

“They have a chip on their shoulder, like us; they won the states last year,” said Huntley. “We would have loved to play them (for a state title), but it’s great getting a win like this. It gives us energy for Tuesday (a date with defending Inter-Ac League champion Malvern Prep). That’s also one of the games marked on our calendars.”

Oppenheimer agreed.

“Playing against the defending state champs is a big deal,” he said. “We came out to play. We started slow, but in the second half we turned it on. We were winning the faceoffs, the defense played great and got us the possessions.”

Raptors coach John Begier said a game like this is the perfect chance for a team to learn about itself.

“I thought our energy and competitive fire was at a really high level,” said Begier. “We talk a lot of about trying to take passion and matching it with execution. We had the execution at times and felt very good about how we were playing at halftime.

“I thought in the second half they got the better of the groundballs and got more possessions than we did. We didn’t have the ball a lot. But this is a long journey; we know we have work to do.”

Nate Brown had 13 saves for Radnor, which looks to also defend its Central League championship.

“La Salle’s got a lot of talent and you know they are well coached,” Begier said. “It was a total battle, but they got the better of us. We graduated 15 seniors, but I really like this group. We’ll find a way to get better from it.”

La Salle 9, Radnor 5
La Salle 3-0-3-3-9
Radnor 1-3-0-1- 5

Ryan Goldstein 1G 2A
Nate Lucchesi 1G 1A
Nick Lucchesi 1G
Colin French 1G
Mason Montrella 1G
Cooper Mueller 1A
Mason Brown 2/11 F/O
Carter Mountain 1/5 F/O
Nate Brown 13 Saves

La Salle
PJ Oppenheimer 3g
Andrew Kelly 2g
Jack Vendegrift 2g
Charlie Huntley 1g, 1a
Jack Pilling 1a
Stevie Davis 1g, 14/17 FO
Matt Nelson 5 saves

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