Downingtown – When Radnor sophomore Drew Brown fired in the game-winning goal in double overtime against host Bishop Shanahan in the PIAA District 1 2A quarterfinals Saturday evening, Red Raider head coach John Begier wasn’t too surprised.
“Drew’s one of our best shooters, a real gym rat,” said Brown. “You could find him on the field all last summer, relentlessly working on his shooting.”
Brown’s game-winning laser from the right side just 53 seconds into the second overtime period gave the scintillating sophomore a hat trick, and it gave the No. 5 seed Red Raiders a 7-6 win against third seeded Shanahan, ending the Eagles’ (14-5) season.
Radnor (13-7) will now face No. 1 seed Springfield Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the district semifinals (the top three teams at Boys 2A Districts advance to States)
“When I let go of the [game-winning] shot, my first thought was, ‘Oh please let it go in,’” said Brown. “We worked really hard to get here, and we wanted to win this game for all the seniors on the team.”
Begier said, “Our guys are getting used to tight spots. Last Friday, we beat Central Bucks East in overtime. For a defense to be making stops in overtime like we did tonight really takes composure.
“Shanahan is dangerous with their picks and two-man games. They have a creative offense, and it takes all six guys on defense and the goalie to stop it. [Senior goalie] Tucker Ballbach stood tall for us tonight.
“Shanahan’s an athletic team, skilled on offense, they didn’t give us much on defense, and they’re well-coached. There was no loser tonight.”
Shanahan head coach Jon Heisman, whose squad led 6-4 late in the third quarter, said, “This was a really tough way to lose. Radnor’s a great team, and we gave them a tough battle, but it’s a tough way to go.”
Shanahan jumped out to a 2-0 lead two minutes into the first quarter, as junior midfielder Michael Tagliaferri and senior attack Sam Goforth (the Eagles’ second-leading scorer this season) both fired in quick scores.
Just one minute later, Radnor junior midfielder Connor Pierce broke the Red Raider scoring ice (he later dished out two assists). Both teams’ goalies kept making stellar stops (Ballbach finished with seven saves, Shanahan goalie Nicolas Pezone recorded 13) and the first quarter ended at 2-1.
Radnor caught fire in a three-minute stretch early in the second quarter, scoring three times (twice by Brown, once by freshman attack Jackson Birtwistle) to take its biggest lead of the night, 4-2.
Shanahan still trailed 4-3 midway through the third quarter, then exploded for three goals in the space of 1:20 to suddenly take a 6-4 lead. Tagliaferri scored his third goal of the game, Goforth his second and sophomore defender Connor Whalen his first.
Radnor chipped away at the host’s advantage, as Red Raider senior attack Clayton Proctor scored with 1:25 left in the third quarter, then with 5:59 left in regulation Birtwistle whistled a shot into the cage to tie the score at 6-6.
With both teams facing elimination, the final few minutes of regulation and the first overtime period took on a frenzied air. The last few minutes were filled with potential game-winning shots that just went wide, turnovers on both sides and stellar stops by both goalies. Radnor’s winning goal occurred nine seconds after a Shanahan turnover and a Red Raider timeout.
“[The winning play] was one we drew up in the huddle,” said Brown. “Clayton [Proctor] pushed to the right side, and then threw it back to me. I really wanted to get it in there – we didn’t get it done in the first overtime.”
Senior midfielder Phil Regan and senior attack Westy McLaughlin assisted on earlier Red Raider scores.
Begier said, “This win was a total team effort – from our starters to the guys on our bench.”
Radnor 7, Bishop Shanahan 6
Radnor 1 3 1 1 0 1 – 7
Bishop Shanahan 2 1 3 0 0 0 – 6
Radnor goals: Pierce, Brown 3, Birtwistle 2, Proctor 1.
Bishop Shanahan goals: Tagliaferri 3, Goforth 2, Whalen.
Goalie saves: Ballbach (RA) 7, Pezone (BS) 13.