West Goshen – Sixteen days after losing a close 4-3 decision to Springfield in the PIAA 2A District 1 championship game, West Chester Henderson gave it one more try against the Cougars in the PIAA 2A state title contest Saturday.
Three times, the scrappy Warriors trailed Springfield by three goals, and though they narrowed the gap each time, Henderson never caught up, losing 9-8 to the District 1 champions in front of a packed house at West Chester East’s Harold Zimmerman Stadium.
“We threw the ball away too much in the middle of the field [early in the game],” said West Chester Henderson head coach Paul Stankewicz. “But our kids are resilient and by the end of the second quarter we started doing the right things.
“Springfield is a skilled team, and when you’re going against an All-American goalie [Springfield senior James Spence] and an All-American defender [Pat Clemens], you need to do the right things [on offense] the entire game.”
West Chester Henderson battled Springfield to a scoreless tie at the end of the first quarter, but in the second quarter, the Cougars’ third All-American, junior attack/midfielder Kyle Long, assisted on two of Springfield’s four second-quarter goals, as the Cougars built a 4-2 halftime lead.
Meanwhile, West Chester Henderson senior midfielder Matt Turse kept the Warriors in the game with two first-half goals of his own (he finished with four tallies). Henderson had 12 shots on goal in the first half.
“We gave it our all today, and we came out shooting against an All-American goalie who stopped us the last time we played them,” said Turse.
Henderson received fine faceoffs throughout the game Saturday from sophomore Luke Wierman, a first team All-Chesmont faceoff man who won six of seven faceoffs in the first half, and won 15 of 19 for the entire contest.
“We have a ton of great seniors on this team, and I was getting a lot of help on the wings from [seniors] Steve Fuller and Mark Rizzo,” said Wierman. “We have a tough group of guys who are good in transition. I was trying to get us into fast breaks.”
Henderson fell behind 5-2 early in the third quarter, then cut Springfield’s lead to 5-4 within the space of 41 seconds on goals by junior attack Archer Rymiszewski (assisted by senior midfielder Nick Mascetti) and Turse (assisted by junior midfielder Joe Saulino).
Three minutes later, Springfield sophomore attack Joe DiBernardi scored (with an assist from Long) to give the Cougars a 6-4 advantage. Henderson senior attack Brandon Moyer came right back 31 seconds later with a goal (assisted by Rymiszewski) to make it 6-5.
Springfield forged ahead 8-5 when DeBernardi scored twice in the space of 52 seconds. Saving the Warriors from further damage in the rest of the third period was junior goalie Kyle Dampman, who made several fine saves late in the quarter.
Both defenses clamped down early in the fourth quarter, then Mascetti tallied with 6:16 left to cut the Cougars’ lead to 8-6. Springfield came back with a Jack Spence goal (assisted by Ben Garcia) to give the Cougars a 9-6 lead with 4:42 left.
One minute later, Saulino made a 180-degree turn and fired in a scoring shot despite tight coverage to make it 9-7. Wierman won another faceoff, and Turse put in his fourth goal of the game (assisted by Moyer) to make it 9-8 with 2:45 left.
After another winning faceoff by Wierman, Henderson took several shots on goal in the final minute, but none of them found the mark. The Warriors called a timeout with 8.6 seconds left and possession of the ball, but could not crack the Springfield defense and a last-ditch Henderson shot flew above the net.
Springfield 9, West Chester Henderson 8
West Chester Henderson 0 2 3 3 – 8
Springfield 0 4 4 1 – 9
West Chester Henderson goals: Turse 4, Rymiszewski, Moyer, Mascetti, Saulino.
Springfield goals: DiBernardi 4, Spence 2, Garcia, Tulskie 2.
Goalie saves: Dampman (WCH) 9, Spence (SPR) 11.