Plymouth Whitemarsh bounces back, downs Springfield

GLENSIDE — There aren’t many more difficult ways to lose a lacrosse game than the way Plymouth Whitemarsh had earlier this week against Springfield. The Colonials lost by one in quadruple overtime, allowing the deciding goal with four seconds left and a two-man advantage.

Fortunately for PW, it got another shot at Springfield two days later. The Colonials controlled the entire game Friday at Springfield High School, in what junior Austin Betterly considered the team’s best 48-minute performance of the year, and knocked off the Spartans, 9-4.

“We were eager to say the least,’ PW coach Bryan Gregg said. “We were definitely eager. (Thursday) was an intense practice and all of the guys and myself were a little discouraged after the other day and we were eager to come back and play a better game.’

“We wanted redemption so bad,’ Betterly added. “Our heads were down after the game, but coach said, ‘ It sucks, I know, but let’s get them back,’ and we did.’

It was Betterly who got the Colonials (4-4, 4-3) off on the right foot. On the opening possession of the game he took a pass from Alex Salvarese and beat Springfield’s goaltender to give PW an early edge.

“That was huge for us,’ Betterly said of the early goal. “If we score first, we have the momentum. We knew we wanted the game real bad… Getting that first goal was crucial because that gave us momentum for the rest of the game, gave us hope.’

Betterly scored two more goals in the first quarter, which ended with Plymouth Whitemarsh ahead, 4-1. The goal that completed the hat trick came in the final moments of the opening period. Betterly fought through contact — enough contact to warrant penalty flags — and fired another shot into the back of the net.

“I had an eye for the goal and I was going to go for it,’ Betterly said. “I knew I got fouled, we had to keep the ball up, and why not? If you have the opportunity just go for it.’

Betterly finished the game with four goals and a pair of assists.

“Austin is very athletic,’ Gregg said. “He’s very fast and very athletic. He’s getting better every day. We create a lot of offense through him, which is good. He’s been a leader on the team now for a couple of years and has just progressively gotten better each year. His speed is second-to-none, so it’s nice to have him on the field.’

Springfield (2-3, 2-3) would never get the margin any closer than three the rest of the way.

A unique aspect to PW’s offense is it’s goaltender, Riley White. That’s not a misprint, the goalie helps the offense. White setup the Colonials’ fifth goal with a pass that sailed three-quarters of the field right on the money to Vinny Martina, who quickly found Salvarese in front of the net for a wide-open goal. In the second half, White setup the eighth goal when he carried the ball himself all the way into the attacking third of the field. The play resulted in a Martina goal.

“Our goalie was first team all league last year,’ Gregg said. “He’s an excellent goalie — going to Cabrini next year. Despite the fact that we don’t necessarily teach him to do that stuff (help the offense), we know that he can if we need him to. It does give us a bit of an advantage.’

White played effectively on the defensive end as well, making 10 saves and allowing only three goals before coming out of the game in the fourth quarter.

The win evens Plymouth Whitemarsh’s record at 4-4 as they remain in third place in the Suburban One League American Conference behind Upper Dublin and Wissahickon.

“We’ve had some good games and some not-so-good games,’ Gregg said. “Our goal is to get better every week — progress on the things that we are trying to learn — and we are getting there. Little by little we’re getting more confident, we’re getting better skill wise… We’re definitely progressing.’


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