WEST NORRITON >> Being a facilitator on the Lansdale Catholic boys lacrosse team is a role Grady Kelly has no problem accepting.
“I like helping run the offense and get everyone involved,” he said. “Move the ball around and if I need to score, score.”
Kelly’s ability to set up fellow Crusaders for goals as well as his skill in putting the ball in the net himself were on display in Monday afternoon’s non-league contest with host Norristown. Kelly handed out seven of LC’s 12 assists and collected a game-high five goals as LC rolled past the Eagls 18-2.
“His talent doesn’t go unnoticed. He usually gets some key matchups against key defenders in bigger games and so we’ve asked him to help his teammates out,” said Lansdale Catholic coach Thomas Nace of Kelly. “And he has a lot to learn still, we’re constantly preaching to him get your eyes up the field, finding the open man. If guys are going to slide early to him, find the open man and stick it.”
Stephen Davis and Ryan Flanagan each had a hat trick while Phil White chipped in with a pair of goals for the Crusaders (5-7, 3-4 Philadelphia Catholic League), which scored the first six goals. LC led 9-1 at halftime, with eight of those goals coming off assists — half by Kelly.
“We use all of our games league and non-league as evaluation periods. For us, it’s evaluation talent and really highlighting on our weaknesses,” Nace said. “Using it is to implement new systems, new plays, try to work on things that we don’t get looks on in practice because our defense usually knows our system, messes things up a bit.”
“We just wanted to come out and try some new things. We really harped on sharing the wealth, getting the assists up, getting the quality goals.”
Norristown (1-10, 1-6 Suburban One League National) broke through on the scoreboard at 8:03 in the second quarter but LC ran off eight straight goals before the Eagles tallied the second and final goal. With a young squad still learning the sport, Monday was another tough game that will hopefully build to a better future for the program.
“The younger guys are getting some good experience playing varsity which is good and they’ll be better next year,” Norristown coach John Hildebrand. “We’re a young team, so we’ll get better next year. It is tough when the kids don’t play youth lacrosse.”
Lansdale Catholic, meanwhile, is trying to secure its position in the PCL playoffs and finishes the week with a pair of crucial home contests — Father Judge 3:45 p.m. Wednesday and Roman Catholic noon Saturday.
“It’s been an exciting year. I don’t think our record reflects how talented our team really is,” Nace said. “We’ve had four very close games, three of our Catholic League games by one goal, really makes our record worse than it actually is. We hope to fix that this week with Father Judge on Wednesday and Roman Catholic on Saturday.
“But the guys are meeting expectations. Last year, they didn’t have a ton of success in the Catholic League. They’ve already won three games in the Catholic League. We should have two more this week, if we can finish .500 in the Catholic League, it would be a huge step forward for us.”
— Mike Cabrey (@mpcabrey) April 26, 2016
Norristown is back in SOL American play Tuesday as it hosts Upper Merion at 3:30 p.m.
Kelly got the LC offense going by assisting on the opening goal — a Davis tally at 8:42 in the first quarter — and found Phil White for a goal at 4:53 as the Crusaders ending the first 12 minutes up 4-0.
“Once everyone gets involved and everyone wants the ball and they just don’t rely on just us, key players, we score team goals,” Kelly said. “Cause we can do that kind of stuff, sometimes people are scared and kids play scared.”
Back-to-back goals by Kelly made it 6-0 and after the Eagles score the Crusaders ended the half with three straight goals, the last two by Davis off Kelly assists to make it 9-1.
Lansdale Catholic collected the first five goals of the second half before a Joey Giannone scored off a drive to the net to make it 14-2. The Crusaders tacked on four more goals in the fourth.