LOWER MERION >> After feeling the clamps tighten on its offense last week in the district final, West Chester Henderson enjoyed the thrill of scoring at will, Tuesday.
Henderson sputtered for the first three minutes or so of its PIAA Class 2A first round boys lacrosse game against Archbishop Wood, but the remainder of the game was a scoring spree.
The District 1 runner-up Warriors routed the District 12 champs, 18-6, at Harriton High, to set up the rubber match against Strath Haven, Saturday, in the state quarterfinals.
“It was a good matchup for us and not a good one for (Wood),” Henderson coach Paul Stankewicz. “They played hard. We were just more skilled.”
Brandon Moyer got the Warriors on the board at the 8:42 mark of the first quarter, and 37 game seconds later, Henderson was leading 3-0 with goals from Dylan Teeter and Archer Rymiszewski.
Henderson was up 5-0 before Wood found the net, thanks to two more goals from Rymiszewski, who finished with five.
“Coming off the loss last week, it was tough,” Rymiszewski said. “We always keep our heads up and play hard and we’re always looking to make the next play. Even when we mess up, we’re looking forward.”
Nick Mascetti displayed his offensive arsenal in the first half, as well, scoring three for the Warriors. On his first, he rose from the ground and blazed a shot over Wood goalie, Brian Graham. Later, Mascetti flicked another behind his back, past Graham. The senior also paced the team with three assists.
Henderson led 13-3 at the half, not only due to its explosive offense, but Luke Wierman’s prowess as face-off specialist. He won 16 of 17 face-offs in the first half and 24 of 27 for the game, and the Warriors’ offense kept coming in waves.
“Early on we were a little anxious and took some shots we shouldn’t have taken, and (Wood) ended up with the ball,” Stankewicz said. “ They’re good on offense and it was tough for us to get the ball back. Once we finally scored we were going to get the ball back because with our face-off guy, we always had the ball.”
Minus a couple of lapses, likely due to a lopsided score, Henderson’s defense was stout. Wood’s Tim Brandenburg, Eric Bauer and Dakota Taylor each scored a pair, but Henderson’s lead was never in jeopardy.
“(Henderson’s) defensive rides were shutting off our attack and we weren’t prepared for that,” Wood Jared Mayes said.
Matt Turse had the third hat trick for the Warriors, while Teeter and Joe Saulino tallied a pair.
The focus now shifts to Strath Haven, the No. 3 seed from District 1, who took down District 3 champ, Palmyra. The Panthers were 10-7 winners in the season opener, but the Warriors got revenge, 9-6, in the district semifinals.
A trip to the state semis is now on the line.
“We’ve played twice and they know us and we know them, so let’s go play” Stankewicz said.
West Chester Henderson 18, Archbishop Wood 6
W.C. Henderson 8 5 2 3 — 18
Archbishop Wood 1 2 2 1 — 6
W.C Henderson goals: Rymiszewski 5, Turse 3, Mascetti 3, Teeter 2, Jo. Saulino 2, Moyer, Wierman, McTiernan.
Wood goals: Taylor 2, Brandenburg 2, Bauer 2.
Goalie Saves: Dampman (WCH) 6, Jacobs (WCH) 3. Graham (AW) 6.