TOWAMENCIN >> Scoring twice made Senior Night a little bit sweeter, but Eric Diamond was fine just savoring a victory that kept the North Penn boys lacrosse team rolling into the postseason.
“It’s always a little icing on the cake,” Diamond said. “But I’m just happy we got the win tonight.”
Visiting Wissahickon scored the opening two goals in Friday’s Suburban One League non-conference matchup, but the Knights steadied themselves in the second quarter then held off the Trojans in the second half to earn a 10-8 win.
“We’ve been a little bit of a slow-starting team all year,” Diamond said. “We’ve been come back from a couple deficits over the year and we just know when it gets down to it everyone’s going to fight as they can and we’re going to get back in the game.”
Diamond, Dakari Luby and Danny Payne each had pair of goals while Payne collected two assists for North Penn (13-5, 7-2 SOL Continental), which scored the final four goals of the first half — shutting out the Trojans 3-0 in the second quarter — to lead 6-3 at the break.
Wissahickon (6-10, 6-2 SOL American) cut the margin to two twice in the third, but the Knights scored the quarter’s last two goals by lead 9-5. Diamond’s tally with 4:27 left in the fourth made it 10-6 and North Penn went on to claim a fifth consecutive win.
“Wissahickon played a heck of a game. I mean, they are an extremely young team and their future is very, very bright. And it was a fun game,” North Penn coach Rick Smith said. “I think our guys took advantage of the energy that we had and I think we capitalized on a couple of the mistakes. But we need to learn from games like this and we really got to tighten things up in certain aspects.
“But I’m pleased the guys fought hard, Teryn Arnott, senior, did a really good job at the faceoff cause Wissahickon’s guy has been have a heck of a season and we really neutralized him and we wanted to created 50/50s and that’s what he did.”
— Mike Cabrey (@mpcabrey) May 12, 2018
Owen Baim scored three of his game-high five goals in the second half while John Dickson added two goals for Wissahickon. The Trojans took a 3-2 lead on Baim’s goal at 2:50 in the first quarter but did not score against until Brody Myers’ strike off a Baim assist 29 seconds into the third made it 6-4.
“We’re a young team and you can kind of tell in the first half. We’re were just a little bit like a deer in headlights,” Wissahickon coach Dan Layfield said. “And once we held their pressure, right, and we started to dodge with confidence, we really had a lot of success. Some of our best middies at the end there put in goals pretty easily against this goalie. If we would of figured that our earlier we would of been in better position.
“We had a lot of missed opportunities as well in transition — two-on-one and we drop the ball or shoot stick-side high and he (North Penn goalkeeper Bryon Rimmer) saves it. Credit to the goalie for standing tall and hugging the pipe but I hope that we can learn to have a little bit more discipline and finish those types of goals.”
Despite the loss, Wissahickon appears poised to qualify for the District 1-3A playoffs after starting a tough schedule 0-6. The Trojans sit in the 24th and final spot in the field in the power rankings with the district seeding meeting Saturday.
“I know that whatever matchup we get we’re excited to surprise some people,” Layfield said. “Even here, these guys, I don’t what they were thinking, if they were going to roll over us or not, but once we got going we were ready to play. It just to us a little bit to get there. I think that’s a little bit of the youth on the team as well.”
North Penn looks set on earning the seventh seed in 3A, which would give the Knights a first-round bye and a home game in the second round.
“All year we’ve know we have an extremely talented team and we haven’t always played up to it,” Diamond said. “So, we’ve been injured a lot so the bye will give us a couple days to get healthy. And we just to come fired up and ready to play like we know we can and it should go well.”
North Penn was routed 12-1 by Central Bucks West on May 1 but the Knights haven’t lose since and in their last four games have score at least 10 goals.
“I think every year there’s always that one game that’s kind of a wake-up call,” Diamond said. “And we went into West thinking we were going to win that game like no problem. No taking them lightly, but we definitely weren’t ready to play. And after that, you can tell at practice everyone’s been ready to go and everyone’s been a lot more fired up from the start of the games.”
— Mike Cabrey (@mpcabrey) May 12, 2018
Baim opened the scoring Friday night at 7:56 in the first quarter and just 47 seconds later it became 2-0 when North Penn believed it called time out but it was in fact not granted and Dickson scored easily at 7:09.
“I thought we had a time out and they’re coaching staff was the on the field, I’m on the field and the referees are letting the kids play,” Smith said. “And our goalie was coming over for a time out. And next thing they’re shooting and it’s a goal.”
Back-to-back goals from Luby and Lucas Yannul had North Penn even 2-2 at 4:52. Baim gave Wissahickon back it the lead 3-2 but Connor Young scored in front at 1:57 and the team finished the first quarter tied 3-3.
The Knights took control in the second quarter — Payne giving the home side the lead for good with his strike at 9:09 while Luby drove and bounced a shot into the back of the net to make it 5-3 at 6:24. Matt Dickson scored off a Payne assist for a three-goal edge at 4:15.
“We got our feet underneath of us and we started to finish. And we started to capitalize on mistakes,” Smith said. “And the game of lacrosse it’s all momentum and I feel like Wissahickon had the momentum at the beginning and then we took it back and it just kept on going back and forth.
“But I think when it was all said and done, I think the faceoffs made a big difference and Bryon Rimmer had a couple of key saves for us, but we’re still making mistakes. We’re in the penalty box too much and you can never, ever play any team when you’re down a man and I think that set us back a little bit tonight.”
The Trojans pulled within two twice in the third, the second time on Baim’s strike that made it 7-5 at 3:43.
“He’s one of our captains and he’s been a strong leader and he’s their best defensive middie, too,” said Layfield of Baim. “So he was on the field the entire game and he was saying he was getting tired toward the end there but he dug deep for the last six or so minutes and played the entire game. Credit to him for being an incredible athlete as well as being a leader on this team. So, yeah, five goals and defensively played lights out against some of their best middies.
Payne’s goal had North Penn back ahead by three at 2:51. Jack Kim scored in front of a Yannul assist with 1:24 left in the quarter for a 9-5 NP lead.
Baim’s fifth goal on the night at 3:05 in the fourth put the Trojans down 10-7 but Wissahickon did not score again until there was just 5.3 seconds remaining.