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PIAA 3A boys: Radnor repeats as state champion, topples Garnet Valley, 12-5

Saturday, 11th June 2022

Categories Boy's/Men's, High School  

By Chris Goldberg, Posted 6/11/22

Senior defenseman Will Gallagher admits it was a challenge for the 2022 Radnor boys’ lacrosse team to start its own legacy after a state championship run in 2021.

“Coming in, we were trying to find our leaders and find how to play together, and it took a little time,” said Gallagher. “We lost a lot of seniors, but ultimately we found that tight bond and we practiced hard and worked so hard got better and better.”

That work showed Saturday as the Raptors used a 4-0 third-period run to break open a 2-2 game and rolled to a 12-5 win over Garnet Valley in the PIAA 3A championship at West Chester East.

Radnor (24-2) won its last 22 games and became the first team to win back-to-back PIAA since Springfield-Delco in 2016-2017 and the first team since Conestoga in 2012 to sweep its league, district and state crowns.

Mason Montrella and Colin French each scored three goals and Ryan Goldstein had two goals and four assists for the Raptors, who led, 2-0, but saw the Jaguars (19-7) send the game into halftime at 2-2 on goals by Ryan Nealon (3G) and Andrew Goldt (1G, 1A).

Montrella scored two goals to open the third period and Tommy Deshan and French followed to make it 6-2. Luke Mingioni (1G, 1A) made it 6-3, but Radnor scored six unanswered goals in the final period to ice it.

This is Radnor third PIAA championship. It also won the 2015 crown (when there was one class).

PIAA 3A boys’ champion Radnor

“I think our guys had some big shoes to fill from last year and I think it took us a little bit to get into the groove,” said Radnor senior midfielder Nick Lucchesi. “Once we got it, our confidence shot up.

“They say it’s like a myth, that you can’t win all three (titles) and that just fueled our fire. We wanted to make history. I am so proud of the how hard we worked and how much we sacrificed.

“The guys knew what it takes to win a state championship because guys from last year were coming to practice and saying, ‘This is what you have to do.’ We followed through with it.”

As it did last year, Radnor’s defense was a major cog in its state title. Gallagher, an All-EPLCA pick headed to Notre Dame, is the most recognized player in the backline, but the overall unit, led by coach John Sims, again was elite all year. Gallagher was joined at close defense by sophomore Michael Savadove (six caused turnovers on Saturday), junior Luciano Chadha and senior Sammy Carter, LSM’s Thomas Barton (senior) and Pablo Strid (junior) and short-stick middies Drew Warren (senior), Cooper Mueller (junior) and Tucker Graham (sophomore).

Gallagher had the task of defending Garnet Valley senior All-American Max Busenkell (over 15 points this year) – also a Notre Dame signee and close friend – and he helped keep Busenkell scoreless.

“He’s great, he’s probably the hardest player I had to guard this year,” said Gallagher of Busenkell. “But I can’t take all the credit. It’s trusting I have a slide coming next to me and (senior goalie) Nate Brown was awesome all season. I was just the one that drew the assignment, but it’s everyone.”

Added Lucchesii: “They (the defense) bailed us out countless times. I don’t know what we’d do without that squad back there.”

Garnet Valley’s run to the title game also was noteworthy. The Jaguars finished third in the Central League, but knocked off Catholic League champion La Salle in the first round of states and reached the title game for the first time – after bowing in double overtime in the semis each of the past two seasons.

“It sucks to lose the final game, but I am really proud of our team for making it here,” Busenkell said. “We had never done it as a school and we had a lot of adversity – an injury to one of our best players and we weren’t playing our best in the regular season.

“But for everyone to step up in the playoffs and get here was fun.”

Busenkell credited Radnor’s defense and overall performance.

“It’s definitely frustrating (to play them), they suffocate you,” he said. “Will is a great pole. Their whole defense really plays so well together and it’s hard to find an open shot. They have great coaches and great players; they deserve it.”

Garnet Valley All-American defenseman Sean Gallagher (Navy commit, four caused turnovers) said his team had no regrets.

“I am really proud of everybody,” he said. “No one thought we’d ever be here, no one thought we’d beat La Salle, no one thought we’d win our next two games (to make the finals) and then no one thought we’d play with Radnor.

“We played as hard as we could. Unfortunately, we ran out of gas at the end. They’re a great team, but it was a really fun run and I am proud of how hard we worked to get here.”

Radnor coach John Begier said his team jelled more and more, especially after a clutch win at Connecticut power New Canaan.

“When we won it last year I felt the 2020 team that didn’t get an opportunity to play (due to COVID-19) did so much for the 2021 team,” he said. “The 2021 team did so much for this team, but we needed to find our own identity.

“I felt early in March this team was longing for what we had last year and we needed to move past that – we had new leadership and we challenged ourselves with a tough non-conference schedule and did some traveling.

“When we came back from New Canaan we really came together and found our identity.”

Radnor 12, Garnet Valley 5
Radnor 2-0-4-6- 12
Garnet Valley 1-1-1-2- 5

Garnet Valley
Andrew Goldt 1g, 1a
Luke Mingioni 1g, 1a
Ryan Nealon 3g
Sam DiTrolio 14/21 FO
Andrew Keaveney 7 saves

Ryan Goldstein 2G 4A
Mason Montrella 3G
Colin French 3G
Nate Lucchesi 1G 2A
Nick Lucchesi 1G
Tommy DeShan 1G
Will Kaplan 1G
Cooper Mueller 1A
Giordan Ramondo 5/10 F/O
Mason Brown 2/11 F/O
Nate Brown 4 Saves

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