White, Kelly, Lee vault Lebo into LAX finals
With one minute remaining in overtime, Sam White scored off an assist from Brian Kelly and vaulted Mt. Lebanon to victory, 10-9, against North Allegheny in a boys’ lacrosse playoff game at Baldwin Stadium.
“Big goals,” said Lebo field general Mike Ermer. “That’s all (Sam) does.”
White’s goal certainly was the biggest of the season as the tally propelled the Blue Devils into the WPIAL Division I championship game set for 8 p.m. May 23 at Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh. The Blue Devils will battle Shady Side Academy for the right to retain their title. Lebo won last year’s district championship, ironically, with a win against North Allegheny.
With five minutes to play in regulation, Lebo’s fate appeared bleak as the Tigers had opened up a 9-6 advantage on a pair of goals by Nick Koebley and Alex MacGovern. Brian Kelly, however, sparked a rally.
He registered the equalizer with 21 seconds to play in the fourth quarter. The junior also assisted on Brendan White’s goal at the five-minute mark and Sam White’s tally at 3:36. For the game, Kelly collected five assists to go with his one score.
Of Kelly’s contribution Ermer said, “He’s the consummate team player. We’ve moved him around a lot and he never says a word. He’s a dynamic player as a shooter and as a feeder.”
Dynamic was the play of Matt Lee in the nets. The first-year starter went toe-to-toe with John Abbondanza and came up big, particularly in overtime. Lee made six saves in the two, four-minute extra periods.
“I’m happy for Matt,” said Ermer. “He stepped up his focus in overtime. He was the difference in the game in my opinion.
“NA has a great goalkeeper,” Ermer added, “and Matt matched him.”
Lee’s brother, Dan, matched him on the offensive, scoring a hat trick. Bryan Ward contributed two tallies and Tim Donoghue led in ground balls with four.
Lou Lucerne also fired in a goal. The tally ignited a four-goal run that enabled the Blue Devils to turn a 5-2 deficit into a 6-5 advantage with 2:18 remaining in the first half.
But, the Tigers dominated the first part of the third quarter. They scored two goals to start the second half and tacked on a third at the 6:30 mark to again forge a three-goal advantage. Never once, however, did the Blue Devils lose their composure.
“The mark of a leader is someone who can hold his head about him when everybody else is losing theirs,” said Ermer. “I try to stay calm. If I lose my mind, that does nobody any good. I try to keep it calm and simple. My assistant coaches, however, can go crazy.”
USC falls, 9-6
Shadyside Academy scored three unanswered goals, two in the final frame, to snap a 6-6 deadlock and defeat Upper St. Clair, 9-6, in the semifinals of the WPIAL Division I boys’ lacrosse playoffs.
After a wild third frame, in which seven goals were scored, Michael Concordia scored with 1:50 remaining and Dan Marous tacked on another tally to ice the victory for the Panthers.
The game was deadlocked, 3-3, at halftime. Andrew Bartusiak, Ryan Kincaid and Mac Madson scored for the Panthers.
In the third frame, Dan Morris scored three times for the Indians, including the go-ahead goal, 7-6, with 3:10 remaining. Alec Bernstein also had a goal in the period.
Nick Carr exploded for four goals as Canon-McMillan defeated Mars, 7-3, in the quarterfinals. In semifinal action, however, the Big Macs
In girls’ action, Seton-La Salle succumbed to Quaker Valley, 14-7.
Hope Tornabene’s six goals spearheaded Chartiers Valley’s 14-4 victory over Ellis School in Division II action. The Lady Colts have been WPIAL runners-up the past three years.
In Division I play, Mt. Lebanon dispatched North Allegheny, 13-4, while Peters Township defeated Pine-Richland, 13-7. Both teams played last night (May 20) in the semifinals.