HIGH SCHOOL LACROSSE: Indians dominate Warriors again
Even with the section title essentially in the bag, the Indiana boys’ lacrosse team considered Thursday night’s game against Penn-Trafford a must-win situation, a workmanlike approach that ultimately paid fruitful dividends.
Indiana inched closer to wrapping up its first section title and shellacked Penn-Trafford for the second time this month with a 16-2 win on senior night in a WPIAL Division 2 non-section game at Andy Kuzneski Field.
The Indians beat the Warriors, 14-3, in Harrison City on April 7. Indiana (8-4) can wrap up the WPIAL Division 2 Section 1 title with a win over Latrobe (1-7) on Wednesday.
Indiana, which formed its program in 2009, handed Greensburg Central Catholic just its second section loss in the last 10 years on April 16.
The Centurions have captured section titles in eight of the past nine seasons.
“This win definitely helps,” said senior Keldon Spicher, who collected three goals, a game-high seven ground balls and an assist. “Every win helps us for the next game, and once we seal things up with Latrobe it’s going to feel great. We have a chance to finish 5-0 in our section, and right now, you just can’t ask for anything better.”
The Indians snapped a 1-1 tie early by netting seven unanswered goals in the last eight minutes of the first quarter to establish an 8-1 lead. Dylan Stapleton scored back-to-back goals in a one-minute span, the second of which came with 7:06 to play in the first quarter.
David Zimmerman then beat Penn-Trafford goalie Alex Martin 43 seconds later to make it 4-1.
A goal apiece from Luke Lewandowski, Kyle Grube, Stapleton and Zimmerman in the last six minutes of the first quarter stretched Indiana’s lead to 8-1.
Ryan Watters, John Louis Gatti and Spicher then netted a goal apiece in the second quarter to extend the Indians’ lead to 11-1.
“Most of these guys worked really hard in the offseason on their shooting, so as a result we have a number of weapons and a number of shooters, and that really helps,” said first-year Indiana coach Alan Affolter. “One or two good shooters can be shut down, but when you have several capable scorers, they become even bigger assets to the team.”
Spicher won the opening faceoff in the second half, zoomed into Warriors’ territory and flicked a shot past Martin to make it a 12-1 game just six seconds into the third quarter.
Zimmerman enforced the mercy rule, which entails a running clock, just 1:42 later when he took a feed from Michael Supinka and uncorked a shot that beat Martin, ballooning Indiana’s lead to 13-1.
Stapleton, Gatti and Garrett Sharp scored a goal apiece in the last seven minutes of the game. Sharp, who along with Spicher and the injured Jon Anna, make up the Indians’ senior class. Sharp scored the game’s last goal with 52 seconds to play.
“We put in a new offense this year (and) it’s really helping us out,” said Stapleton, who scored a game-high four goals and dished out an assist. “It’s a lot of cutting and moving the ball around quickly. It creates an amazing attack and it helps us move around better without the ball.”
Indiana outshot Penn-Trafford, 43-17. The Indians also piled up 43 ground balls to the Warriors’ 15.
Affolter attributed Indiana’s dominant defensive performance to their ability to pick up ground balls by saying: “That’s really a big difference maker when those guys are winning ground balls. Those long poles aren’t easy to master, and we have several guys who are not only fast but very good at getting to ground balls. That’s something we work on a lot, but it’s really a testament to their skills.”
Indiana goalie Max Kittelmann made four saves. Supinka added two assists.