Seton-La Salle captures Division II boys' lacrosse title
Seton-La Salle completes turnaround with WPIAL trophy
Four years ago, Seton-La Salle won one match in boys' lacrosse. Today, the Rebels are WPIAL champions.
“My first year, we went 1-12 and we only won our last game of the season by one goal,” said Josh Kurtz, the Rebels' first coach.
Though Kurtz vacated his position in February to take a job in Boston, he returned to Baldwin on May 23 to see his mission fulfilled. Seton-La Salle defeated Quaker Valley, 13-8, and claimed the WPIAL Division II boys' title.
“I challenged them to be (in the championship) and I would be here to celebrate with them.”
The Rebels partied as well with their current coach, Brian Yates, who humbly deflected the credit to Kurtz and his players.
“A lot of the credit goes to Coach Kurtz. He set the foundation and he left this program in great shape. Plus, we have hard-working, committed players, who are very unselfish.”
While many of them got into the scoring action, Kevin Hudson anchored the defense. In the nets, the junior held the Quakers scoreless until the last 12 seconds of the first frame. Hudson made 14 saves for the Rebels, who led 10-3 with 5:20 to play in the third stanza.
“Kevin has been huge for us all season. He's a phenomenal player,” Yates said. “It's only his second year as a goalie but he's a leader. He's passionate about his sport and he will make a great college goalie,” added Yates, who himself played at Maryland.
While Noah Kaib was making the great plays on defense, recording 14 ground balls, and Dominic Tolomeo controlled 14 face-offs, Colin Bashaw and Connor Quinlan dominated the scoring action. Each registered four goals.
Bashaw, Robert Lomire, Quinlan and Matthew McGervey staked SLS to a 4-0 advantage before Mike Clark and Jimmy Perkins closed the gap, 4-2. Quinlan, off an assist from Kaib, and Anthony Shoplik, off a dish from McGervey, expanded the margin before Perkins struck again before intermission.
Lightning delayed the second-half of play but the stoppage did not thwart the Rebels. They reeled off goals by McGervey, Bashaw and Quinlan to expand the lead to seven goals. Brendan Donovon and Shoplik earned assists.
“We saw what happened in the Super Bowl,” said Yates of the delay. “We felt it was happening to us now but I'm very proud of how my kids responded and how they were ready to go.”
SLS responded, too, when Perkins ignited a four-goal run that pulled QV within 10-7 with 6:27 to play. Perkins finished with six goals. Quinlan and McGervey replied with goals and assists while Bashaw also added a score, off a dish from Shoplik.
“When it was 10-7,” Yates said. “I was no more worried than in any other part of the game.”
That's because, after several fruitless seasons, the Rebels were ready to produce during their moment in time.
“At halftime, I told the kids, 'this is it' and I challenged them,” Kurtz said. “This was their time; their opportunity. This is something they will want to tell their kids, their family and friends about.”
The Rebels finished 15-1 overall. Among the other players to contribute to the team's success included starting defensemen Liam McLane, Mike Kalnas and Nick Sywyj as well as outside middie Jacob Blahut.
Among the other contributors were: James Pietras, Christian Vogel, Ryan Milcarek, James Mallon, Elliot Frank, Michael Mankos, Adam Pistella, Sean Nerone, Michael Prichard, Brendan Duffy, Mark Williamson, Joseph Farnan, Robert Lydic, Nick Messina, Frank Shepard, Dan Boland, Sean Rieber, Rob Beck, Matthew Graham and Gino DePerna.