PHILADELPHIA >> After an up-and-down, inconsistent first half, the Lansdale Catholic boys lacrosse team came flying out the second half gate, scoring three goals in the first four minutes of the third quarter.
“We really stick by two things – discipline and consistency. The first half we weren’t consistent, nor were we disciplined, that’s for sure,” LC head coach Tom Nace said. “Second half we just came out and we executed, finally.”
The Crusaders would win the third quarter 5-0 and not look back in a 14-8 win over Eastern York in the first round of the PIAA Class 2A state playoffs Tuesday.
After a goal and assist early in the third by Grady Kelly, Ryan Flanegan would take over.
The sophomore scored back-to-back goals, his third and fourth of the game, to give the Crusaders a five-goal lead in the blink of an eye.
“I think it was a full team effort. Flanegan had a big game for us last week in the District 12 championship,” Nace said. “Didn’t let up today.”
In addition to Flanegan, Mike Basilii had a huge game with five points (three goals). Grady Kelly had a hat trick as well.
“The reality is when you have so many threats it makes it hard for the other team to shut any one guy down,” Nace said. “We spread the wealth around quite a bit.”
Flanegan played strong all game, as three of his four goals came unassisted.
Eastern York started hot out of the gate, scoring three goals in the first six minutes of the game. Jim Kurnik accounted for a goal and assist, while Cole Witman and Bryce Smith scored the other two goals for the Knights.
“(We) started really slow. It was a long weekend, holiday weekend, a lot of guys on vacation,” Nace, who is a military veteran, said. “Practice was really slow yesterday. We came out pretty flat. We’ve been a third and fourth quarter team all year. We’ve owned the third quarter and we’ve been excited about that. We knew if we would get the looks we talked about at practice we would get the goals.”
That was all the offense Eastern would muster in the first quarter, as Lansdale Catholic stormed back with four straight goals. Basilii had his hand in the first three, with a goal and a pair of assists. Joe Walsh also added a goal and an assist, while Dan White and Ryan Flanegan each potted a goal.
“We don’t change our game plan, we don’t freak out,” Nace said. “It’s just a matter of keeping our composure and just executing when the time is right.”
The second quarter was marred by penalty, and not all deserved. Of the seven goals scored in the second, five of them were on a man advantage. That includes all four scored by Eastern York in the period.
Kurnik added another goal and assist for Eastern, and Smith scored his second of the game.
Walsh also scored his second of the game for LC. Grady Kelly and Nick Heiler also found the back of the net.
The first half saw five ties and five lead changes. Every time Eastern would take a lead, LC would find it’s way right back level.
“Our captains – Mike Basilii, Seamus Horan, Grady Kelly and Bobby Bausman kind of got our heads straight and told us the game’s not over yet,” Flanegan said. “We’re not gonna end the season against a team like this. So despite all the physicality and the poor calls by the refs on our side, we decided to come out and just keep working.”
The game was “chippy” throughout, and emotions boiled over in the third quarter when LC goalie Bob Bausman took a shot, and Basilii came to his friend’s defense.
“I love my kids, they stood up for each other. I was really proud of the way they were sticking up for their goalie,” Nace said. “We’re a family here at LC and we treat every game like we’re at war with our opponent.”
Bausman finished the game with nine saves.
That emotion leaked into the second half defense as well. LC allowed just one goal in the second half, including the third quarter shutout that turned the game.
“We had a big injury in Seamus Horan…in the first half. He came back in the second half despite his pain and that really brought the defense back up,” Nace said. “He’s been our cornerstone all year, he was our defensive MVP this year. Having 28 on the field is a very important part of our defense.”
The fourth quarter had the possibility of a quick comeback, with Dom Particelli scoring just 41 seconds into the period. Basilii answered just 14 seconds later to complete, however, to complete his hat trick and extinguish the Eastern fire.
Lansdale Catholic advances to the state quarterfinals with the win. They will play Saturday against Crestwood from District 2 or Lewisburg from District 4.
LANSDALE CATHOLIC 14, EASTERN YORK 8
Eastern York 3 4 0 1 – 8
Lansdale Catholic 4 3 5 2 – 14
Saves: EY – Kevin Royce 9; LC – Bob Bausman 9, Jon Wood 1
EY – Cole Witman– 8:17
EY – Bryce Smith – Assist Jim Kurnik – 6:51
EY – Kurnik – 6:13
LC – Dan White – Assist Mike Basilii – 5:12
LC – Basilii – Assist Joe Walsh – 3:59
LC – Walsh – Assist Basilii – 1:14
LC – Ryan Flanegan — :49
EY – Smith – Assist Kurnik – 11:06
EY – Kurnik – 9:18
LC – Grady Kelly – 8:42
EY – John Gilbert – Assist Bryce Henise – 7:33
LC – Walsh – 3:52
EY – Henise – 1:46
LC – Nick Heiler — :16
LC — Kelly– 9:06
LC – Flanegan – Assist Kelly – 8:34
LC – Basilii – 7:49
LC – Flanegan – 3:13
LC – Flanegan – 2:48
EY – Dom Particelli – Assist Henise – 11:19
LC – Basilii – 11:05
LC – Kelly – Assist Walsh – 7:12