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Upper Dublin tops Hatboro-Horsham in SOL opener

Upper Dublin’s Max Winebrake winds up to shoot during the Cardinals' game against Hatboro-Horsham on Friday, April 13, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

HORSHAM >> The knockout shot gets the attention but it’s not always what wins the fight.

The Upper Dublin boys lacrosse team has a motto of “four rounds” this season, alluding to a boxing match and the Cardinals’ goal is to win each round, or quarter, on the scorecard. They do it by going for body blows all game, wearing down an opponent until the finish salvo can be unleashed.

Friday, UD worked its plan well as it took down Hatboro-Horsham 11-4 to open the SOL portion of its schedule.

“We had a professional boxer work us out in the offseason and we live by the motto every game is four rounds,” UD coach Dave Sowers said. “Our feeling was, we’d hit them with some body blows in the first and second quarter, really make them work and then turn it on a bit in the third and fourth quarter.”

The Cardinals (7-0, 1-0 SOL American) scored the first three goals of the game and led 3-1 at the end of the first quarter. They got up to 5-1 when attackman Jerry Bardol scored his second goal of the opening half with 8:31 remaining in the second quarter. The Hatters however, weren’t ready to go to the mat yet.

Backed by a strong defensive effort in the first half, Hatboro-Horsham rallied for a pair of goals late in the second quarter to cut UD’s lead down to two. Midfielder Chris Dearden tucked a shot inside the far post with 4:13 left in the half, then found Ian Reilley for a wicked snipe from long range with 1:51 left that chopped the deficit to 5-3 at the break.

“They came out pretty fired up in the second half while we seemed to tighten up and got a little nervous,” Hatters coach Gauntlett Walker said. “It’s a young team, so we’re growing through some of those pains.”

While the Hatters are the defending conference champions, they’re also retooling after graduating a number of key cogs from last year’s district playoff team. Reilley, Will Riemenschneider and Eddie Masterson are a few of the returning guys and all three left everything on the field as they helped HH hang tough into the third quarter.

Masterson led the defensive effort, backed up by a strong game from goalie Joseph Brophy. While the Cardinals had a 14-4 edge in shots on goal at the break, their lead was just two. The Hatters were able to funnel Cardinal attackers off their strong hands in the first half, which made it easier for Brophy to get stops.

Upper Dublin’s Colin Asper takes a shot on goal during the Cardinals’ game against Hatboro-Horsham on Friday, April 13, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

“We did a pretty good job of forcing them into our pressure points that we stressed in practice,” Walker said. “Joe Brophy did an amazing job, he had a ton of nice saves for us. In the second half, we got away from the fundamentals, let them get to their strong hand and they had a lot of easy dunks to the inside.”

Upper Dublin also took the body blow thing a little too literal in the first half, slamming a number of shots right into Brophy’s stick or chest protector.

“That’s lacrosse, it was one of those days where were hitting the pipes and their goalie did a nice job,” Sowers said. “My assistant coach even said it was a good thing he had a chest protector on because were blasting it right at him. We had to keep shooting, we knew they would drop.”

Max Winebrake stepped up in the second half to help UD put Hatboro-Horsham down for the count. With Bardol sitting out the second half injured, Winebrake netted three of his four goals after halftime while the Cardinals defense tightened up over the final 20 minutes.

Hatboro-Horsham’s Ian Reilley takes a shot on goal against Upper Dublin during their game on Friday, April 13, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

After Winebrake and Jed Hanson put UD up 7-3, Jason Kleintz got one back on a nice solo effort for the Hatters with 7:59 left in the third period. Hatboro-Horsham wouldn’t score again while UD bagged the last four goals of the game, two of them belonging to Winebrake.

“We just stuck to the same gameplan and started shooting better,” Winebrake said. “We don’t really panic, we just keep playing. We were getting good shots, we just couldn’t score.”

Carey Romig added two goals and two assists for UD, Brian McCarry scored two goals and Jason Williams had a pair of assists. Defensively, Nick Sowers, Brody Balasa and Sam Polin played well for UD especially during the second half.

Friday’s game was a critical one for UD given that it wanted to start conference play with a strong effort.

“We were 6-0 coming in with some big wins but this is league play and this is a good program,” Sowers said. “We had to be ready to go. I’m proud of the kids and they fought to the very end.”

UPPER DUBLIN 11, HATBORO-HORSHAM 4
UPPER DUBLIN 3 2 3 3 – 11
HATBORO-HORSHAM 1 2 1 0 – 4
Goals-Assists: UD – Max Winebrake 4-0, Carey Romig 2-2, Brian McCarry 2-0, Jerry Bardol 2-0, Jason Williams 0-2; HH – Chris Dearden 1-1, Will Riemenschneider, Jason Kleintz, Ian Reilley. Shots: UD – 23, HH – 12. Saves: UD – Lojeski 8, HH – Brophy 10.

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