MARPLE >> For a few minutes, Marple Newtown looked like it hadn’t gotten the memo that its District 1 Class 2A lacrosse playoff with Springfield-Montco had been moved from Tuesday to Wednesday.
The eighth-seeded Tigers dug themselves a two-goal hole almost as quickly as goalie Liam Ferry lost the temporary filling he’d forgotten about while making big save after big save for his teammates through the years.
But Ferry got himself together after exiting for a few minutes in the first quarter, and Ferry’s twin brother Collin and Mike May combined for five goals to ignite the offense and lift the Tigers to a 7-5 triumph at Crozer Keystone Stadium.
The Tigers (13-6) oppose host Bishop Shanahan Saturday at 7 p.m.
“I got a root canal a couple of years back and I never got the permanent filling put back in and I guess when I turned, I knocked it out,” Ferry said. “I was just sitting there and I felt the tooth come out in my mouth so I picked it out and I threw it over (toward the bench).”
The Tigers gave up a second goal to fall behind, 2-0, with Ferry out of action and rounding up his dental appliance.
But Vince Terra scored to break the ice for the Tigers, and Collin Ferry and May each scored to leave the teams deadlocked at three at the intermission. And May, a senior, kept pouring it on. His nasty stick check on a long stick player twice his size created a turnover that led to Ferry’s first goal. It stoked some of the diehard Tigers fans who’d been sent home Tuesday when the game was postponed due to inclement weather, complete with lightning strikes.
“It’s the biggest win of my high school career,” said May, who got the game ball for his three-goal performance. “I was trying to do whatever I could. This would be my last game if we lost so I was just giving it my all out there. We lost two of our best players, so when the coaches came up to me and told me I’m the guy, I just did all I could do out there.”
The ninth-seeded Spartans (13-6) wouldn’t go away.
It looked like Springfield was done when May, Julian Caberal and Collin Ferry scored in the third quarter to stake the Tigers to a 6-3 lead. But when Nick Pugliese and Brennan Floor scored back-to-back goals, the lead was just 6-5, with 2:31 remaining.
That’s when the Tigers made several key plays, including a steal by long stick Kevin Hahn and a goal by May to ice it.
“We just made a few mistakes down the stretch,” said Floor, who tallied two goals. “We played as well as we could have. They just played a little better than we did. We did what we should have done and stuck to our game plan. We can’t make excuses.”
The Tigers played without another regular, who sat out the contest with an illness. If you would have told coach Tom Hannum his team would be able to weather so much late season strife and reach the second round of the playoffs, he probably wouldn’t have believed it.
“We really have a resilient team,” Hannum said. “We lost Al Viola to injury. Then we lost Luke Jelus, our second-leading scorer. He went out with an ACL in the Radnor game. They were both hurt close to the end of the season. And then our kids really stepped up and beat Penncrest, and we beat Haverford for like the first time in 15 years … without those guys. Our kids were getting a lot of confidence. And then we lost Stephen Bradley, who’s been a really great player for us. He got sick today at school. In the face of all that adversity and losing a lot of key players our kids are stepping up every game.”
Hannum praised May for bringing it Wednesday, the Spartans for their effort and finally his team for grinding on.
“Hey, that’s the beauty of Marple Newtown,” Hannum said. “Those kids are tough. They’re Delco kids. Delco tough.”
Tough like Liam Ferry and his new smile. Minus the tooth, Ferry made a small handful of point-blank saves in the second quarter that kept the Tigers in the contest. Oh, and he’ll sacrifice another molar to get the Tigers where they want to go.
“Once we got through that first quarter, you could see what the shots were going to look like and I just tried to get my body in front of it and lock in on the ball,” Ferry said. “It’s huge. This win, it’s huge.”