Radnor withstands Marple Newtown’s upset bid

RADNOR — This was not your garden variety No. 6 vs. No. 27 matchup. Radnor knew it. Marple Newtown knew it.

After 48 minutes of lacrosse, so did everyone else.

The Raiders — the higher seed, the favorites, the state tournament hopefuls — survived an exciting challenge from Tigers, 10-5, Tuesday in the first round of the District One Tournament.

Radnor (14-5) heads to the second round Thursday to host another Central League rival in Ridley. But it did not earn that right without incident. Marple Newtown (7-12) rallied twice in the second half to cut the deficit to one goal. Both times, the Raiders had an answer.

“When we saw the matchup, I knew we were in for a dogfight,’ Radnor coach John Begier said. “It was everything we expected.’

Radnor never trailed in the game, but Marple Newtown had the deficit down to 4-3 in the third quarter and 6-5 in the fourth quarter. The first time around, Mike Thompson and Drew Ryan scored within six seconds of each other to push the lead back to three goals.

The second time, Ryan connected on a pass from Jack Wilson to make it 7-5. The goal came with a man advantage — a roughly 30-second layover from a Tiger penalty enforced when Radnor was staving off its own disadvantage — and acted as key breathing room. Ryan scored again about 2½ minutes later to ice it. He wound up with four goals on the night.

“Certain goals can change the game, I want to go after those certain shots,’ Ryan said. “Definitely didn’t want the season to end.’

The key goal came directly after Begier called timeout. Ryan said “nothing specific’ was drawn up in the huddle. Simply, the Raiders were looking for a good shot in the short window they had up a man. They got it.

It’s what Begier called a “quick hitter.’

“We got that,’ the veteran coach said. “We got the look we wanted.’

Ryan and Tom Meyers added empty-net goals to pad the lead. The final count looked like a safe Radnor victory, but this was anything but. That’s what these Raiders anticipated. That’s why nobody was particularly stunned that the Tigers kept hanging around.

They were, however, a bit wary of what might happen.

“We were definitely a little nervous,’ Ryan said. “But we still had to have confidence.’

TJ Reiley and Billy Morgan each had two goals for Marple Newtown, which saw its season come to an end. This was the first playoff appearance for the program in 12 years, and it was made despite a rash of injuries and other obstacles.

With that, despite the difficult loss, Tigers coach Mike Miller was very pleased with his team.

“I’m so proud for how (far) we’ve come as a program, how far they’ve come individually,’ he said. “It’s all about them.’

But the night belonged to Radnor. It led, 4-1, at halftime behind three goals from Jack Norton (51 for the year). It survived two Marple Newtown rallies. It scored the final four goals of the game.

Making the playoffs for the fourth straight year, winning in this round is simply expected. The Raiders know it will only get harder against No. 11 Ridley.

“The next game will be even bigger,’ Ryan said. “Last year, we were a little bit of a different team. We’re trying not to get caught up in that stuff.’

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply