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All-Delco Boys Lacrosse: Birtwistle, Morin had standout junior campaigns

Junior Jackson Birtwistle scored five times as Radnor defeated Hempfield, 14-4, in the opening round of the PIAA Class 3A boys lacrosse tournament. It was Radnor's first state playoff win since claiming the title in 2015. (Pete Bannan/Digital First Media)

In addition to Player of the Year Peter Garno of Haverford School, the rest of the All-Delco first team includes:

Jackson Birtwistle, Radnor: The junior attackman blossomed into an All-American performer. He led Delaware County players with 77 goals and 117 points and was third with 40 assists, the do-everything engine that powered the Raiders to the semifinals of the District 1 and PIAA Class 3A tournaments. Birtwistle, a key figure in Radnor soccer’s run to the PIAA Class 4A final in the fall, came through at every turn. He started the season with 11 goals and eight assists in two games, wins at Central Bucks East and Ridley. He added five goals and four assists to trounce Lower Merion, had a hand in six goals to beat Spring-Ford and scored six times over C.B. West. Birtwistle had two goals and three assists in a postseason win over Springfield, five and one to beat Hempfield in states, then three and four in downing Mount Lebanon. In the season-ending loss to Conestoga, Birtwistle tallied four of Radnor’s six goals. He is committed to Marquette.

Garnet Valley’s Mitch Lachman fires a behind-the-back goal past Wilson goalie Brayden Skipper in the first half Tuesday afternoon. Lachman would score five more times Wednesday in the resumption of the suspended game, a 13-6 win for the Jaguars. (Pete Bannan/Digital First Media)

Jake Morin, Garnet Valley: The junior makes his second straight All-Delco appearance, again pacing a Garnet Valley attack to the District 1 final and PIAA Class 3A semifinal, a pair of devastating one-goal losses. Morin was second on the team in goals with 50 and led the way with 45 assists. He ranks 11th in Delco in goals, second in assists and third in points at 95. Morin twice scored five goals, both in league victories at Strath Haven and Penncrest. He blistered Springfield for four goals and three assists in the district semifinals and added three goals and three helpers in a states win over Wilson. Despite an 11-10 loss to eventual state champ La Salle in double overtime, Morin had seven points on the day. The All-America pick is committed to rising national power Penn State.

Mitch Lachman, Garnet Valley: The junior attackman made history by scoring 71 goals, a program record, and tied for third in Delco this season. He added five assists, one of the county’s best and most ruthless finishers, with his long arms and proclivity for behind-the-back shots. He scored six goals in a game twice, including in the states-opening win over Wilson, and added four five-goal outings. Three came in the league — Harriton, Marple Newtown and at Strath Haven — while the other was in the state semifinal loss to La Salle. Lachman scored 15 goals in three states games and scored multiple goals in 20 of the Jaguars’ 24 games. The All-Central pick remains uncommitted.

READ: The full list of All-Delco honorees

Ibo Pio, Strath Haven: The explosive junior midfielder was the engine that drove Strath Haven to a District 1 Class 2A final and the state semifinals. He finished third on the team in both goals (39) and points (71) and led the way with 32 assists. He was recognized as an All-State selection. Pio scored three goals and three assists in a game on two occasions, including the opening-round states win against York Catholic. He scored four times in beating Hampton in the state quarters and had two goals and three assists in the state semifinal loss to Hershey. Also a standout football player, Pio is uncommitted.

Strath Haven junior Ibo Pio, left in this game against Bishop Shanahan, led his team in assists as the Panthers ran to the Class 2A state semifinals. (Pete Bannan/Digital First Media)

Jack Spence, Springfield: Named the Central League MVP, Spence became the third Spence brother (with three-time honoree Lucas and three-timer/2017 POY James) to be named All-Delco. He’ll also follow his siblings’ path to Lehigh. The All-America led Springfield with 52 goals and 78 points and was second with 26 assists, helping the Cougars win 19 games and earn spots in the District 1 Class 3A semifinal and PIAA quarterfinals. He was seventh in Delco in points. The offense ran through Spence, and he had multiple points in every game save for one. He tallied three goals and an assist in the states upset of 2018 state champ Manheim Township and the loss to 2019 champ La Salle. Spence scored four goals to get Springfield past Strath Haven in the regular season, and had his biggest offensive game with three goals and four assists against Lower Merion.

Mac Costin, Haverford School: With a greater chance to shine, the senior stepped up into the larger role he’d long been groomed for. Costin scored 36 goals against six assists, leading them to the top seed in the Inter-Ac tournament and a 17-6 record against a daunting national schedule. Costin opened the season with his best game, a six-goal effort against Maryland power Boys Latin. He added hat tricks against St. Paul’s, La Salle and Culver Academy, scoring in 20 of the Fords’ 23 games. His biggest goal came in the GEICO Showcase, rifling home the game-winning goal in the final minute to see the Fords past Long Island’s Ward Melville. Costin added a goal and two assists in the Inter-Ac semifinal win over Penn Charter and two goals in the final loss to Malvern Prep in double OT, including the equalizer late in regulation. The All-Inter-Ac and All-America will continue his career at Utah.

Gavin Burke, Haverford School: A two-time All-Delco, the Villanova-bound senior was unquestionably the best two-way midfielder in the county. His defensive work contributed to a defense that allowed only eight goals per game, winning 17 games against a national schedule featuring teams from eight states plus Canada. Burke was also the conduit to turning defense into offense, scoring 16 goals and adding four assists with his ability to push in transition. He tallied a hat trick in the win over Episcopal Academy and added two-goal outings against Boys Latin, Radnor and St. Anthony’s, the latter with an assist. Burke was an All-Inter-Ac selection.

Haverford School’s Mac Costin scores the game-tying goal with one second remaining in regulation Tuesday past Malvern Prep goalie Will Pettit. Malvern would win in double-overtime, 9-8. (Pete Bannan/Digital First Media)

Collin Loughead, Episcopal Academy: The All-American defender helped guide a stingy EA defense that surrendered an average of 7.6 goals per game on the way to a 12-7 record. Opponents only exceeded 10 goals against EA on five occasions, and Loughead was the key cog in that defense, both in taking on the most daunting individual matchup and in marshalling the unit as a vocal leader. Loughead also scored two goals, in the win against Ridley and in a 10-8 semifinal loss to eventual Inter-Ac champion Malvern Prep. Loughead will continue his career at Boston University.

Pat Clemens, Springfield: Clemens battled through a leg injury that cost him three weeks of his senior season, but his performance still garnered a third straight All-America nod, the first player in Springfield history to earn that distinction. Along with fellow senior Jeff Biancaniello, the three-time All-Delco has served as a bridge of eras, between state championship teams and a raft of underclassmen he mentored. In 24 games, the Cougars allowed an average of 5.7 goals per outing; only three teams, including District 1 Class 3A champ Conestoga and PIAA champ La Salle, made it to double-figures. Springfield was 13-0 when scoring nine or more goals. Clemens was also active in transition, scoring one goal (against Garnet Valley) and three assists. He’ll continue his career at Saint Joseph’s University.

Ryan Niggeman, Haverford School: The senior defensive leader makes his second appearance on the All-Delco squad. The All-America pick helped Haverford, against one of the nation’s most stacked schedules, allow an average of eight goals per game. They didn’t allow a team to exceed 13 goals on the season, were 12-2 when scoring at least 10 goals and allowed single-digit goals in 15 of 23 outings. Niggeman often drew the responsibility of muting an opponent’s top threat, which brought him up against some of the nation’s best players. He added a goal in the win over IMG Academy and an assist in beating Penn Charter in the Inter-Ac semifinal. He’ll continue his career at Lehigh.

Nick Van Horn, Garnet Valley: The junior goaltender had huge shoes to fill with the departure of All-Delco Jason Rose, who led the Jaguars to the District 1 Class 3A crown last year. But Van Horn did the job, earning All-Central recognition. Despite an up-tempo attack, the Garnet Valley defense was rock solid at the back. They averaged just 6.9 goals allowed per game. Outside of an 18-goal pasting by Haverford School, only eventual state champ La Salle topped 10 goals (11, in two overtimes). Van Horn had 10 games of 10-plus saves, including 14 in the state quarterfinal win over St. Joseph’s Prep and 15 in the loss to La Salle. He turned aside 22 shots in the regular season loss to Penn Charter, stymied Radnor with 15 saves and made 13 denials in the district final against Conestoga. Van Horn’s lacrosse future is undecided.

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