Fourth-quarter surge pushes Vincentian boys lacrosse past Shaler
In the past nine meetings between Shaler and Vincentian boys lacrosse, the Titans have come out on top. This season the tide shifted as the Titans are in a rebuilding phase and the Royals — under coach Andy Bencsics — have the stronger team.
Shaler jumped out to an early 2-1 lead thanks to goals from Zach Weidner and Kyle Ferrari. Kyle Heery answered for Vincentian to keep pace, and the Royals tallied the lone goal in the second quarter thanks to Nick Bencsics.
The third quarter was uneventful in terms of scoring, but some of the Royals players got a little rough with each other.
“It was tied, 2-2, late in the third, which is crazy,” coach Andy Bencsics said. “Then, we had two seniors get in a big argument. That catapulted up to put it all together. We realized we had to be unselfish.”
The blowup resulted in a 6-4 Vincentian win.
With the score tied, Vincentian's Grant Weher scored and Nick Bencsics struck again. Jordan Swartz made the lead a three-goal affair.
Nat Devlin gave Shaler some hope late with a goal, but that threat was quickly snuffed out when Vincentian's Ethan Andolina answered moments later. Weidner tallied one more score for Shaler, which is as close as the Titans came.
“Shaler has a really good goalie (in Danny Ireland),” Andy Bencsics said. “We just thought we had the better team this year … this is the best team I have had at Vincentian. We have a nice combo of seniors, juniors and sophomores who are all playing well.”
Vincentian goalie Anthony Tommarello had a pretty good game, too. Shaler put together some nice combinations offensively, but Tommarello had answers.
“The big thing is to keep our guys on theirs and keep them farther out from the net,” Tommarello said. “At some points this season, we were getting beat and I kept telling the guys that can't happen against Shaler. We have to keep working on offense, avoid the hard passes, share the ball and get more people shooting.”
Shaler coach Ken Sines won't make excuses but said there are some growing pains when five freshmen start and four more are significant role players.
“We only start three seniors, but we are maturing and growing,” Sines said. “This is a byproduct of being young. It's tough when you are 13-14 years old and going up against 17-18-year-olds. It's a big difference. When things go bad, it's harder to rebound for them than for guys who have been here before.
“When they feel good, they feel like they can beat the world. When things aren't going well, it's harder to rebound.”
The game was not a total loss as some of the younger players for Shaler were able to score some points, and freshman goalie Ireland garnered respect.
“(Danny) is going to be a superstar,” Sines said. “He has the confidence of every player on our team. It's a shame we have a bunch of injuries, which hurt our continuity. But, they say when you start (several) freshmen, you are in it for the long haul … we are in it for the long haul.”
Jerry Clark is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org.