La Salle opens states with rout of S-F

Springfield Sun - - SPORTS - Dway@21st-cen­tu­ry­

La Salle is a lacrosse team on a mis­sion.

The Ex­plor­ers want noth­ing less than the PIAA Class AAA state cham­pi­onship this year, and they’re not go­ing to be con­tent un­til they achieve it.

That means tak­ing no one for granted, go­ing all out at all times and all the other clichés that come up this time of the year when a pow­er­ful team is streak­ing to­ward mak­ing a lit­tle his­tory.

The Ex­plor­ers got their mis­sion off to a rous­ing start Tues­day evening at rain-soaked Ply­mouth Whitemarsh High, top­ping Spring-ford, 14-3.

But the Ex­plor­ers are tak­ing noth­ing for granted.

So while the fi­nal score was lop­sided, Ex­plor­ers head coach Bill Leahy still saw some things that didn’t please him.

“We did a lot of things well,” Leahy said, “but there are still things to work on.

“We threw the ball away far too much when we were try­ing to clear the ball, and that’s some­thing that can’t hap­pen at this level.

“Spring-ford is a very good team, and we needed to play bet­ter.”

Some of things Leahy couldn’t grouse about in­cluded face­off man An­thony Gi­u­liani win­ning 15 of 18 face­offs and Chris Hlad­czuk scor­ing four times.

But when you’re chas­ing a state ti­tle, and Leahy and the Ex­plor­ers have chased quite a few in his ten­ure, there are few stones left un­turned. Spring-ford took the lead less than a minute in when Danny Cas­sidy beat Mike Clibanoff at the 11:01 mark, but that would be the Rams’ last gasp for a while.

The Ex­plor­ers fol­lowed with goals by Chris Mock­aitis, Joey Tay­lor, Matt Clibanoff and Chris Hlad­czuk be­fore Spring-ford’s Tate Pi­janowski found the net with two sec­onds left in the first quar­ter.

Brett Baskin in­creased the La Salle lead to 5-2 at the 10:22 mark of the sec­ond quar­ter, be­fore the Rams’ Jar­rod Marenger an­swered for Spring-ford at the 6:48 mark of the quar­ter.

But the Ex­plor­ers struck twice, get­ting goals from Ethan La­mond and Hlad­czuk’s sec­ond of the game, be­fore half­time.

Spring-ford was still in it, but the fi­nal 1:39 of the pe­riod doomed the Rams to run­ner-up sta­tus.

The third pe­riod,was score­less un­til the Ex­plor­ers got two goals from Hlad­czuk and one apiece from Brett Baskin and Clibanoff to make it 11-3 af­ter three quar­ters.

And when Baskin scored fol­low­ing a Rams turnover 70 sec­onds into the fourth quar­ter, the die was cast.

“That minute and a half of the third quar­ter killed us,” said Rams head coach Kevin Don­nelly. “We were still in the game, but that minute-and-a-half put us in a hole, and we never were able to re­cover.”

“We go into ev­ery game like we’re play­ing for the state cham­pi­onship,” Hlad­czuk said. “We play it a game at time.

“In the be­gin­ning of the game we weren’t set­tled down. But once we got our spac­ing of­fen­sively and went through X like we’re sup­posed to, we were ef­fec­tive.”

So ef­fec­tive that the Rams had no choice but to play out the game’s fi­nal quar­ter in fu­til­ity mode.

“This sea­son has been fun,” Don­nelly said as the Ex­plor­ers con­tin­ued to cel­e­brate. “Th­ese guys work hard, and I can’t wait to work with them again next sea­son.” LAX-ENDS » Spring-ford de­fender Kyle Ma­son went down with a shoul­der in­jury in the game’s fi­nal 5:20. His shoul­der was popped back into place and he was es­corted from the field. La Salle 14, Spring-ford 3 Spring-ford La Salle 2 4 1 3 0 4 0—3 3—14 La Salle Scor­ing: Chris Hlad­czuk (4); Matt Clibanoff (2); Brett Baskin (3); Joey Tay­lor (1); Chris Mock­aitis (1); Ethan La­mond (1); Lo­gan Lazusz; Robert Foster (1). Spring-ford Scor­ing: Danny Cas­sidy; Tate Pi­janowski; Jar­rod Marenger.

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