Meyers quick on the draw as Radnor advances

LOWER MERION — Tom Meyers can’t recall an opposing team ever throwing five different faceoff men at him in a game.

More familiar is the sight of an opposing coach, played Saturday by Bishop Shanahan’s Jon Heisman and his staff, prowling the sidelines, exhorting his team in search of anybody — anybody — capable of stepping to the X and winning a draw off Meyers.

That search proved fruitless, as Meyers was simply dominant in recording a 14-for-16 day and pacing Radnor to a 9-4 drubbing of Shanahan in the District One quarterfinals at Harriton.

The No. 6-seeded Raiders (16-5) advance to Tuesday’s semifinal at West Chester Henderson to take on No. 10 seed Conestoga, a 10-9 winner over No. 2 Penncrest Saturday. The Raiders have also booked a place in the PIAA Tournament.

Meyers’ success at the X had a two-fold effect. When the Raiders’ offense was clicking, it felt like a game of make-it, take-it. Meyers won all six draws in the second quarter, which Radnor used to build a 5-1 halftime lead. That included quick-strike tallies by Jack Norton and Drew Ryan (each assisting on the others’ goals) in the final 1:38 of the half to provide a crushing blow to the Eagles (16-2).

“I just came out like every faceoff was going to be my last,’ the senior Meyers said. “Get the ball, and possession was huge. I know our offense can control the game, and having possession is a huge part.’

“He’s an incredible player, and he always gives us a great boost,’ Norton said at Meyers. “When he’s working at the X, he’s like a mechanic, and he just helped our offense in every way.’

The flip side was that Meyers’ control of possession aided Radnor’s defense in smothering the Eagles’ offense. Primarily under the watchful marking of Mike Farnish, Shanahan’s leading scorer Alex Wagner had only a fraction of his usual influence. The junior, who entered with 61 goals, was limited to just one, coming a man up 18 seconds into the fourth quarter. (Tellingly, that goal occurred after avoiding a faceoff, with Shanahan given possession due to a Radnor infraction to end the third quarter.)

With the ball, the clinical Raiders couldn’t be stopped, something Norton made sure of.

Thursday’s second-round win over Ridley, 10-4, was the first game all season that Norton hadn’t found the back of the net, though he dished three assists. He rectified that within eight minutes Saturday.

“I do what I can to get this team to win,’ the senior All-Delco said. “On Thursday, it just so happened that I turned to playing the role of provider, and that’s just fine. As long as we get the W, that’s all that matters.’

That was the first of four goals he had on the day, a number that could’ve been larger had he not been denied twice by the post and a few times by Shanahan’s Jason Yoquinto, who made some big stops among his 11.

The Raiders’ motion offense was effective throughout, leading to goals like Jack Wilson’s strike from distance in the second quarter or Kyler Albany’s two tallies. Ryan finished with two goals and four assist, three of the helpers on Norton’s goals. Even Norton eschewed his usual dodge-and-rocket shot, needing just to finesse shots home after golden setups by teammates.

Radnor was also lethal in transition, off the ground or from faceoffs. Two of Norton’s goals — one just eight seconds after Ben Farrell had cut the lead to 5-2 late in the third — were carbon copies, tic-tac-toe connections from midfielders to Ryan at one post to Norton at the other to tuck the ball away.

“My teammates were finding me open, and I give them all the credit,’ Norton said. “I think I only took one dodge and goal. My teammates were finding me, and I was putting it away.’

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