En­er­getic Shana­han turns up heat

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Bruce Adams badams@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @mline­s­ports on Twit­ter

Be­fore Bishop Shana­han’s game against West Ch­ester Rustin Thurs­day evening, Ea­gles se­nior cen­ter back and co­cap­tain John Ge­orge had a mo­ti­va­tional mes­sage for his team­mates.

“I told them that this was our most im­por­tant game of the sea­son,” said Ge­orge. “It’s our fi­nal game of the reg­u­lar sea­son, and we want to come into the [District 1] play­offs hot.”

The host Ea­gles (11-7) jumped out to a 3-0 half­time lead, and in­creased it to 4-0 early in the sec­ond half en route to a 4-2 win.

The loss for Rustin (6-6-1 Ch­esMont) ended its glim­mer of hope for at least a share of the Ches-Mont Amer­i­can ti­tle. Unionville and Ken­nett fin­ished tied atop the Amer­i­can Stand­ings at 7-4-2.

“We came out with a lot of en­ergy,” said Shana­han head coach Jim Kalavik, re­flect­ing on the Ea­gles’ fast start. “We had to win to­day, we were play­ing for a lot. This win could put us in the No. 2 seed [in District 1 3A play­offs].”

Just 3 ½ min­utes into the game, Shana­han ju­nior Shi­mon Hil­ton punched in a goal, with an as­sist from ju­nior Richard Zink at 36:30; then 10 min­utes later Zink dished

out an­other as­sist, this time on a goal by ju­nior striker Jake Frank at 25:43.

With 2:50 left in the first half, Frank con­nected again, his 18th goal of the sea­son, to give the hosts a 3-0 lead. Two min­utes into the sec­ond half, Ge­orge tal­lied at 38:04 to make it 4-0.

“We’ve been prac­tic­ing our fin­ish­ing, and it paid off tonight when we jumped ahead early,” said Ge­orge.

Kalavik said, “We kept the ball on the ground tonight. We prac­tice pos­ses­sion, try to stay away from the long ball, the kick-an­drun style of play. [Ju­nior at­tack­ing cen­ter mid] Har­ri­son Coron con­trolled the mid­dle tonight, Jake Frank had a good game, and [se­nior cap­tains] John Ge­orge and Spencer Bick­ing kept the guys fo­cused.”

Just when it seemed like Shana­han had the game in hand, Rustin be­gan to fire back. With 31:04 to play, se­nior Chris McMa­hon scored his 14th goal of the sea­son (he also has eight as­sists on the cam­paign), then less than seven min­utes later, sopho­more Cal­lum Gready scored from in front of the net to make it 4-2 with 24:49 to play. For the next few min­utes, Rustin kept mak­ing ag­gres­sive runs at an­other score.

“I give credit to our boys in the sec­ond half — once we set­tled down [af­ter half­time], we showed the type of team we are,” said Rustin head coach Ryan Cas­tle. “We’ve been com­ing out slow in the first half of our away games this sea­son, and tonight it was the same thing,”

Ge­orge said, “Once the score be­came 4-2, I think our team woke up a sec­ond time. We had been play­ing a lit­tle too de­fen­sively, try­ing to kill the clock in­stead of pos­sess­ing the ball in [Rustin’s] zone. So we made ad­just­ments - our whole team be­gan mak­ing more quick passes.”

Shana­han did not al­low a goal for the re­main­ing 24 min­utes of the game, and the Golden Knights’ loss elim­i­nated them from a pos­si­ble first place fin­ish in the Ches-Mont Amer­i­can Di­vi­sion.

An en­cour­ag­ing note for Rustin Thurs­day night was the per­for­mance of their younger play­ers in the sec­ond half, when the Golden Knights had just one se­nior on the field.

“We had an eye to the future in the sec­ond half,” said Cas­tle. “We have eight ju­niors on this team — it’s been a learn­ing year, and I think our future is [bright]. Two of our fresh­men, John Park and Matthew Scof­fone, had good games for us tonight, and our ju­nior cen­ter back, Ian Sul­li­van, had a heck of a game.”

NOTES >> Prior to the game, Shana­han ju­nior Ni­cholas Krause, a var­sity player for the Ea­gles, per­formed the Na­tional An­them on his gui­tar for the fans, a pre-game per­for­mance he gives at other Shana­han boys’ soccer games as well. “He’s a phe­nom­e­nal guitarist,” said Kalavik.

PETE BANNAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Rustin’s Josh Spiegel (6) and Bishop Shana­han’s (13) Kevin He­garty bat­tle for the ball dur­ing the Ea­gles’ 4-2 win Thurs­day night.

PETE BANNAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Rustin’s Fran Naselli (7) and Bishop Shana­han’s (10) Har­ri­son Coron go for a header Thurs­day night.

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