LANGHORNE – With his team trailing Neshaminy 7-4 at the half and 10-9 after three quarters, Pennsbury junior midfielder Ben Abraham just about willed his team to a win, scoring the equalizer, the game-winner and an insurance goal in the last five minutes of the contest, helping the Falcons to a comeback win in their biggest win of the season.
Heck! It’s 13-11 triumph over the Skins Wednesday, May 3 at Harry Franks Stadium in Langhorne might be Pennsbury’s most significant victory in the past three seasons as it secured the team’s first possession in three tries at the Doug Greenfield Cup.
Known as “Grandpa” to many involved in the Falcon lacrosse program, Greenfield helped start the Pennsbury youth lacrosse program over 15 years ago.
“We did it all for you grandpa, all for you,” exclaimed Pennsbury goalkeeper Tim Davis after helping his team secure the win by limiting Neshaminy to a single goal in the fourth period.
“This win was huge. It’s our whole season,” added Abraham. “We’re coming off nine straight losses. We have no shot at the playoffs so this is like our championship.
“To win this it means so much to the organization and to Grandpa, it’s awesome.
Abraham’s halves in the battle mirrored those of his team. He scored only once in the first half while Neshaminy (3-8, 1-4 SOL) mounted a 7-3 lead on Nick Donato’s fourth goal of the game and third straight in the second period with 6:24 to go in the first half.
The Falcons scored on a goal by Cole Ruoff with a little less than five minutes to go in the first half and that seemed to ignite them. Pennsbury (1-4, 3-10 SOL) came out in the third period looking like an entirely different team.
“We saw we were down four or five goals and we knew we had to get this win so we fought hard,” said Abraham. “We couldn’t let them take the cup three straight years.”
“In the past we’ve gotten ourselves into four-goal holes and we haven’t been able to bounce back.
“We struggle as a team with that and that’s hurt us. Luckily today we were able to push through.”
Abraham got the Falcons going right away after the break, feeding midfielder Nick Sutton for a quick-strike goal 59 seconds into the third period and scoring himself to draw Pennsbury within a goal at the 1:47 mark.
“We knew we had to strike first, get in their heads and bring the momentum,” said Davis. “Our defense was composed, we were sliding great – ultimately, that helped us win.”
The teams then traded goals with Donato striking for his fifth tally of the game for the Skins at 3:55 and Ryan Kelly recording his third goal of the game for the Falcons at the 4:31 mark.
While Neshaminy junior Mason Zeberlein and sophomore Luke Sermarini put the Skins up 10-7 with 5:19 left in the third period, Pennsbury answered back with goals by midfielder Luke Vando and another by Abraham, drawing the Falcons back within a single goal and setting up the drama in the final frame.
Neshaminy senior Pearse Brolly gave the Skins a 2-goal cushion with 7:36 remaining though Nate Racagno answered back for Pennsbury less than two minutes later.
That set things up for Abraham and he bounced the equalizer into the back of the net from less than 10 feet out on the right side, tallied the game-winner from the left side of the goal about 25 feet out then added a power play goal much the same way with just 2:20 remaining in regulation.
Ironically, the first time Pennsbury captured the cup was on the Skins’ home turf.
“Whether it’s home or away, Neshaminy-Pennsbury is a huge rivalry,” stated Davis. “Everyone is bringing 110 percent – it’s crazy.”
After initiating the series three years ago, Greenfield, an 88-year-old who played the sport at the University of Delaware from 1947-51, had to give the trophy registered in his namesake to the Skins the first year when they trampled his beloved Falcons 11-3 and again last year when Donato registered an overtime game-winner handing Neshaminy the second cup, that time by a 9-8 score.
This year it was Abraham’s turn to take control for Pennsbury and he did. No one was happier than Doug Greenfield himself. When the Falcons posed for the team picture with the trophy, Greenfield cast his wheelchair aside and sat down with the boys along the 20 yard line.
“He was exuberant,” said Pennsbury head coach Drew Artin. “I’m surprised he wasn’t crying on the sidelines. This was a big win for him.”
With 1:25 remaining, Neshaminy came up with a groundball and looked poised to score its 10th goal of the game when defender Ethan Glynn came up with a groundball of his own in front of the Falcon net. Just as Glynn turned upfield, an inadvertent whistle gave possession back to the Skins.
Neshaminy was then called for a crease violation, however, giving the ball back to Pennsbury.
On this very special day for Doug Greenfield – the grandfather of Falcon boys lacrosse – it seemed nothing was going to stop “Grandpa’s Team” from claiming its grand prize of the 2017 campaign.
Pennsbury 13, Neshaminy 11
(May 3 at Neshaminy)
NESHAMINY 3 4 3 1 – 11
PENNSBURY 3 1 5 4 – 13
GOALS: P – Ben Abraham 6, Ryan Kelly 3, Nate Racagno, Luke Vando, Cole Ruoff, Nick Sutton 2; N – Connor McVey, Mason Zeberlein 3, Nick Donato 5, Jeremy Sheley 2, Pearse Brolly, Luke Sermarini.
ASSISTS: P – Abraham, Racagno, Sutton, Trey Raniello; N – Zeberlein 3, Donato, Brolly 2, Sermarini.
SHOTS: Pennsbury 27, Neshaminy 21.
SAVES: Tim Davis (P) 8; Joe Ardin (N) 9.
TOP PHOTO: Known as the Grandfather of Pennsbury boys lacrosse, Doug Greenfield poses with his beloved Falcons after they pulled off a dramatic 13-11 comeback victory over Neshaminy Tuesday, May 3 at Harry Franks Stadium in Langhorne. (Steve Sherman – 21st-Century Media)