SPRINGFIELD >> It was the mad versus the desperate Tuesday afternoon when the La Salle soccer team played host to Archbishop Ryan.
The host Explorers were angry over having just lost to Council Rock North over the weekend, while the Raiders were desperately trying to stay in the Philadelphia Catholic League playoff chase.
In this case, give the nod to the angry ones.
La Salle shook off an early Ryan goal, netted the match’s final three and moved to within a tie of the outright PCL regular season title via a 3-1 victory.
“We got off to a slow start, and maybe that was a little hangover from the weekend,” said Explorers head coach Tom McCaffrey. “We lost a huge one to Council Rock on Saturday, and maybe there was a little bit of a hangover.
“But we recovered and got back in the game.”
The Raiders got on the board first, but La Salle answered soon after via a goal by Chris Lenge, assisted by Mike D’Angelo, then blew up in the second half.
“I think the team came back strong after the loss, we wanted to respond positively,” D’Angelo said. “We didn’t really kill ourselves over that loss, but there was a little bit of fatigue. That was a tough, hard-fought game (against CR North).
“We’re still undefeated in the PCL, and that’s what is important.”
Knotted at the half, the Explorers took over in the second half behind the play of Spencer Patton, who cross was headed in by David Steinbach.
Later in the half Patton would assist on D’Angelo’s putaway goal.
Ryan could not threaten again down the stretch.
“(Ryan) came out hard, and they had a man all over me from the start of the game,” Patton said. “The only way we were to combat what they were doing was to match that aggressiveness with aggression and speed.
“We came out a little slow, but we picked it up. Our goal is to win the league, and now we can do that clinch first place on Friday.”
La Salle will be ready for the regular-season clincher Friday, but for now will focus on preparing for what’s coming up in the postseason.
“This team has responded to almost every challenge they’ve faced this year,” McCaffrey said. “We have to keep our focus and get ready for the most challenging part of the season.”
Top Photo: La Salle’s Mike D’Angelo beats Archbishop Ryan’s Christian Shoemaker for a header during their game on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)