Lebo beats Peters Township; moves on to WPIAL boys’ LAX finalPublished May 21, 2013 at 12:34 pm (Updated May 21, 2013 at 12:34 pm)
Mt. Lebanon defender Tim Donoghue puts the pressure on Peters Township’s Cody Sheetz while Will Nabors guards the net during WPIAL Division I boys’ lacrosse playoff action. Lebo defeated PT, 17-9, and advanced to the semifinals.
Eleanor Bailey / Staff
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Jack McMahon did not score any goals in Mt. Lebanon’s 17-9 victory over Peters Township. But, he is a big reason why the Blue Devils will play for the WPIAL Division I boys’ lacrosse championship on May 23 at Baldwin.
After the Indians had closed the gap, 8-3, with two goals in the final 30 seconds of action in the first half, McMahon controlled the second-half face-off and triggered a Lebo tally that dashed the Indians’ spirits. Sam White scored off an assist from Doran Graham 26 seconds after intermission.
“That was nice,” Lebo skipper Mike Ermer of the goal. “It set the tone for the second half and 27 (McMahon), he’s our face off guy, set that up. He’s a spark plug for us. He wins that face-off and takes it down the field and we score. That was key.”
Key, too, was Lebo’s ability to maintain its composure, particularly after the Indians had jumped off to a 1-0 lead. Mario Toscano scored the first of his three goals less than five minutes into the contest.
“One goal is a goal,” Ermer said. “We don’t get too high or two low. There are 48 minutes in a game and there was a long way to go. We only worry about making the next play.”
In the next 18 minutes, the Blue Devils made many of them. They recovered quickly from the setback and reeled off eight unanswered scores. And though PT narrowed the gap again to five goals, 9-4, on Jake Hareza’s tally, Lebo never faltered in its strategy.
The Blue Devils valued every possession.
“We wanted to focus on making plays, rather than worrying about scoring goals. Saving our legs and staying fresh.”
Because many players were involved in the production of goals, Lebo enters its championship fray against North Allegheny balanced, focused and rested.
Doran Graham led the parade to the goal. He dumped five goals into the net. Sam White followed with four scores while Tim McNichol notched the hat trick. Chris O’Dell and Brian Kelly each tallied two goals while Brian Ward registered the remaining score.
“Teams can focus on Doran all they want but we are interchangeable parts,” explained Ermer. “That we’ve been able to win is a testament to the depth of this program.”
Defense has contributed to Lebo’s success. While Will Nabors excelled in the nets for the Blue Devils, Tim Donoghue and Brian McMullan led Lebo with five and three ground balls respectively.
In addition to Toscano’s hat trick, Cody Sheetz, Conner Pike, Derrick Bacchiochi, Andrew Rao, Connor Buzzelli and Hareza accounted for PT’s remaining goals.
Though Lebo’s win over PT was less dramatic than its regular-season triumph, 10-9, the Indians battled and gave no less effort.
“Peters Township is a real good team,” Ermer said. “They have 30 to 40, 14 to 17-year-olds, who want to win just a badly as we do. We knew that they would come back. They were here for a reason.