Upper Dublin soars in win over Upper Merion

UPPER DUBLIN — Upper Dublin High’s boys lacrosse team is deep-into-the-state-playoffs good.

Upper Merion is not at that level, and was missing a handful of quality starters due to injury.

If that combination spelled rout, then the Cardinals and Vikings lived up to expectations Thursday afternoon.

Scoring 18 times in the first half, the host Cardinals rolled to a 19-2 victory, a win made that close only due to head coach J.P. Banks’ refusal to score more than 19 goals in a game.

“The kids came out and did what they needed to do,’ Banks said after the contest, played in damp, and downright cold conditions.

“We’re always trying to focus on the next game, and make sure we’re getting better,’ added defender Jack Rapine, who added a pair of goals to his outstanding game. “We have to focus on ourselves.’

Early on, the Cardinals controlled play, but were held back by some wild shooting and general sloppiness.

“I thought we did some good things early on,’ said Vikings head coach Brady McCormick. “We had (Isaiah) Graham-Mobley faceguarding (Cardinals standout attack Michael) Sowers, and he did a good job of that, considering he’s only been playing lacrosse for about four weeks.’

But then, almost before you could blink, the Cardinals completely took over the game.

Up 2-0 midway through the first quarter, Upper Dublin scored five times in a span of 83 seconds, and the contest was tilted permanently in favor of the home team.

“Offensively, they were real heavy with pressuring us, and we couldn’t get out of our own end,’ McCormick said.

The barrage continued through the remainder of the half, with Michael Mullen (eight goals, one assist) and Max Winebrake (three goals, two assists) doing the bulk of the damage.

By the break it was 18-0, and the Vikings could do nothing but dig in and try and work harder.

“I know it’s embarrassing to see, ‘ 18-0′ at halftime,’ McCormick said, “but you have to keep working.

“And for the most part, our guys did that.’

Upper Dublin’s Jerry Bardol scored just 1:33 into the second half, at which point the Cardinals did not shoot at the opposition net, choosing, instead, to drop the ball on the ground whenever they were in a position to shoot.

“It’s just something I won’t do,’ said Banks, about his won’t-score-20 rule. “Maybe I look at it as a karma thing, that if we start embarrassing teams that it could come back to bite me one day, and the kids know better than to shoot. It won’t happen.

“We’ll work the ball around and give ourselves opportunities. But we won’t shoot.’

Steve Ferguson would score two second-half goals for the Vikings, both assisted by Will Borkowski, but the issue had long been decided.

“It’s difficult playing in a game like this,’ Rapine said. “So when we do, we’ll work on our offense and work on our defense and make sure we’re doing things the right way.’

The Cardinals will have to make sure they do things the right way next week, with meetings against rival Wissahickon on Monday and top-ranked Haverford School on Wednesday on the docket.

“We know we’re going to have to play our ‘ A’ game next week,’ Rapine said.

LAXNOTES: Along with Mullen’s eight goals and Max Winebrake’s three, the Cardinals got offense from Michael Sowers (two goals, five assists), Rapine (two goals) and Nick Vernacchio (two goals), along with Evan Scott (one goal, one assist) and Paul Chung (two assists). … Upper Dublin outshot Upper Merion, 40-12 … Vikings goaltender Troy Minnich had six saves, while Bobby McPeake and Dylan Lojeski combined for five saves for the Cardinals.

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