Overtime win leaves Springfield singing in relief

WEST CHESTER — After their 9-8 overtime win over Hershey in the first round of the PIAA boys lacrosse tournament, Springfield players broke into a joyous rendition of the Credence Clearwater Revival hit “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?’

Never mind the song came out nearly three decades before the players were born, it was the perfect choice, a classic for a timeless moment in the Cougars’ lives. And, well, they had seen the rain.

Storms delayed the start of the game more than 90 minutes. Then midway through the third quarter, the rain and lightning returned, sending everyone at West Chester East scurrying for cover.

“It was a struggle,’ said senior midfielder Dan Wasson, who in addition to the long delays felt under the weather on a day that it didn’t cooperate.

The extended break seemed to disrupt the Cougars. When Springfield left the field in the third quarter, the District One champs held a 7-3 lead. Eighteen minutes of game play later, the Cougars were tied. The Trojans found the back of James Spence’s net five times in the fourth quarter, while Lucas Spence’s second goal, in which he spun off two defenders with a fake pass, was Springfield’s only answer. After regulation it was 8-8.

“At 7-2, we didn’t want to settle down, but I do think we were a little overconfident,’ Wasson said of the Cougars’ advantage at halftime. “But the same thing happened against Conestoga (in the district title game). They scored four quick goals against us. We battled back both times.’

Springfield (18-4) will face Central Bucks East Saturday in the quarterfinals. The Cougars got there via a winning goal exactly one minute into the extra session. After Springfield’s opening possession stalled, Hershey called time out. Michael Gadd took the ball at the top of the circle and drove hard to his right, where he was met by Cougars defender Zac Methlie.

“So I saw him dodging, trying to get to the net and coach told me slide early,’ Methlie explained. “So I stepped up and knocked the ball loose.’

Methlie had learned from a previous error. The Trojans’ eighth goal, which sent the game to overtime, came when the junior failed to move over after Adam Krauter forced George Briggs wide. With little resistance, Briggs fired a shot past Spence. Springfield head coach Tom Lemieux admonished Methlie when he ran off the field. Methlie didn’t make the same mistake twice.

Following his stick check on Gadd, Methlie collected the ball and passed to James Spence. Three more passes and the Cougars were across midfield in earnest. Wasson did the rest.

“I got the ball from my brother (Dave) and I was going to slow it down,’ Wasson said. “But I saw the short stick (defender) get caught and I decided to go for it.’

He circled the net and quickly sneaked a shot into the bottom corner. The game winner appropriately mimicked the Cougars’ strong start in the first half. They found success in transition, especially in midfielders Dan Wasson and Kyle Long, who scored twice and added an assist in the second quarter alone. Mike Gerzabek was also particularly effective against Hershey’s press, using his quickness to dart through and around the defense for a goal and two assists.

Wasson’s heroics, coupled with some timely defense, calmed the storm.


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