UPPER DUBLIN >> With a shade more than four minutes left in the first quarter, Upper Dublin’s boys lacrosse team found itself up just a goal on visiting Council Rock South.
Over the next 16 minutes of game time, up until the halftime horn, the Cardinals turned that one score advantage into a 10-goal lead and erased any doubt that they would be moving on to the District 1-3A quarterfinals next week. The secret in the UD takeover wasn’t in its offense though, but instead with its defense and faceoff man Lucas Roselli.
Upper Dublin’s defensive pressure and Roselli’s efforts on the X made their mark as the No. 3 Cardinals topped the No. 19 Golden Hawks 19-3 on Thursday.
“They’re a good team that made it to the second round so we had to respect them for that,” UD coach Dave Sowers said. “We started to kind of press out and flush them out in the first quarter, we weren’t going to just let them throw it around and make it a 6-5 game.”
Roselli, in his second season as the Cardinals’ faceoff man, waged a good battle with CR South’s Chase Patterson. The Cardinals junior won 10-of-16 faceoffs he took before being lifted early in the third quarter with the score growing one-sided.
The midfielder also tallied a goal and an assist in the win, but his biggest impact was either outright winning the draw or getting it to wingers Nick Sowers and Jake DiMartile and starting the offense. During Upper Dublin’s 8-0 second quarter run, the Cardinals (16-1) had a number of quick transition goals set up off Roselli faceoffs.
“I knew he was good, so I just had to keep fighting and my wings did a really good job,” Roselli said. “The first quarter, we had to feel the other team out. Once we did that, we started to score more goals and kept them from scoring any more until the fourth.”
After Upper Dublin went up 3-0 in the first quarter, the Hawks got themselves back into the game with two straight goals. Throughout the first quarter, the upset-minded Hawks played deliberate on offense, content to keep passing the ball and not make runs at goal until they wanted to.
Carey Romig with a wicked bouncer for 9-2 UD lead with 1:57 left Q2 pic.twitter.com/83r6Pkck88
— Andrew Robinson (@ADRobinson3) May 17, 2018
Given that CR South was without one of its key attack men in Phillip Mignacca, who was injured in its first-round win over Pennsbury on Wednesday, the Golden Hawks (9-9) didn’t want to get into a high-speed game. If Upper Dublin wanted to regain control, the defense was going to have to set the terms.
“It’s mostly hustle, the thing the coaches have been preaching is we have to take that next step up in the playoffs, we need to go all out and give as much effort as possible and I think we did that,” UD defenseman Nick Sowers said. “That helped us when we made that switch to go out and pressure them, give it your all every single time.”
Nick Sowers, who has been a fixture on the Cardinals’ defensive unit since the 2016 district title season, felt every guy on the defense played well on Thursday. The senior credited his fellow long poles in DiMartile, Sam Polin and Brody Balasa and the relentless defensive mids in Malik Bootman, Anthony Cerminara and Sam Kassar for applying the pressure that allowed UD to open things up on offense.
The Cardinals’ defense has been quietly terrific all season, relying mostly on its strength as a group rather than individuals. There is one guy that Nick Sowers credits for making it all work though.
“It really starts with our goal, Dillon Lojeski,” Sowers said. “It was me and him on the 2016 team and he’s been the goalie since then. The experience he has and you know you can always count on him, he’s been here before. We look to Dillon and from there, it trickles down.”
Jed Hanson led the UD offense with four goals while Max Winebrake and Jerry Bardol notched hat tricks. Bardol and Hanson each had two goals during the 8-0 second quarter while Bardol also added one of his two assists in the frame.
Upper Dublin faces No. 6 Central Bucks West in the quarterfinal round Saturday, with the winner clinching a state bid.
“Every game, we just get better and better,” Roselli said. “There’s a lot of young guys on this team who are good and we make the most of our practice before games.”
UPPER DUBLIN 19, COUNCIL ROCK SOUTH 3
COUNCIL ROCK SOUTH 2 0 0 1 – 3
UPPER DUBLIN 4 8 5 2 – 19
Goals-Assists: UD – Jed Hanson 4-0, Jerry Bardol 3-2, Max Winebrake 3-0, Brian McCarry 2-0, Jason Williams 1-1, Colin Asper 1-0, Carey Romig 1-0, Jason Scott 1-0, Brett Rama 1-0, Jason Scott 1-0, Jayden Santangelo; CRS – Brandon Follis 2-0, Brendan Gambino 1-1.