RIDLEY >> When Ridley’s Brock Anderson surveyed the field in overtime Tuesday night, he had time for little more than a deep breath before getting after Springfield.
Had he gone man-by-man, taking stock of the collection of underclassmen surrounding him in a six-man attack half-composed of scout-teamers from the preseason, he might’ve been shocked at the Green Raiders’ challenge.
Instead, Anderson put his head down, calmly took the ball from Zane Johnston on a switch, and did what he’d done all night.
Anderson bulled around a corner and darted for the cage, firing home a shot that beat Springfield goalie James Spence to the far side for a 9-8 win over their Central League rivals.
“I was on tonight,” Anderson said of his fifth goal. “I’m not trying to toot my own horn or anything, but I wanted the ball in my stick. Once I got the ball, I was going to the cage, and I knew that I had five other guys that were behind me that I could’ve dished the ball to.”
Brock Anderson wins it! 9-8 in overtime. pic.twitter.com/oOUeBG993R
— Matthew De George (@sportsdoctormd) April 27, 2016
Anderson wasn’t alone in the Green Raider attack. But there’s no denying how significantly the unit has been blighted by injuries. Eight regulars were missing from Kevin Ellers’ lineup Tuesday, including attackmen Joe Minnick and Devon Tavani, plus midfielder Kevin Monaghan and faceoff man Cade Heverly.
Add in Springfield’s shutdown defense, which used Pat Smyth to muzzle Anderson’s running mate, Cade Stratton, to nothing more than the opening goal 104 seconds in, and Anderson could’ve felt isolated with just the constant shadow of Springfield long-stick midfielder Zac Methlie for company.
That’s not to mention the pressure of five straight losses, all in the league, while hosting a Cougars squad on a five-game winning streak with neighborhood bragging rights on the line.
Instead, the adversity emboldened the junior, dodging his way to the crease and rifling home his quintet of markers, plus setting Johnston up with 5:50 to play for a goal that appeared to put Ridley (6-6, 2-5) in firm control.
Springfield (6-6, 3-4) had other ideas, however. The Cougars played catchup since Stratton and two Anderson markers put Ridley up, 3-0, after a quarter. Springfield tied the game at five when Mike Gerzabek took a feed from Jack Spence and buried his first goal at 9:54 of the fourth quarter, Springfield’s third man-up tally against the undisciplined Green Raiders.
Part of Springfield’s challenge was borne of Ridley’s necessity: Short-handed on poles, the path of least resistance for Ridley’s defense was to faceguard Kyle Long with a short-stick mid. The sophomore playmaker scored twice and set up a goal in the second quarter to get Springfield even at four, but Ridley successfully limited his influence thereafter.
“That was a little new, but I think we did a pretty good job of getting used to it,” said Mike Vent, who scored three goals, two set up on a platter by Long. “We were still able to go through our sets and everything, but we haven’t seen that too often.”
In need of a boost in the fourth quarter, Ridley got one from an unlikely source. Justin Monaghan played all of 30 seconds Tuesday, recovering from a hamstring injury. So when the Green Raiders got a man-up chance, they rushed the midfielder on, and he promptly put them in front with a laser assisted by Eric Magro with 8:30 to play.
“I just know, it’s Springfield against Ridley, Central League, under the lights, I’m going,” the senior said.
Twice in the final quarter Ridley built two-goal leads, first from Johnston, then Magro in transition when Seamus Boyle notched a rare faceoff win off Andrew Pickett (16 for 20) with 3:34 left.
But Springfield charged back. With Long muted, Gerzabek completed his hat trick, the first with a swim move off a Jack Spence feed with 1:14 left, then a power drive to the net with 25 ticks remaining.
Gerzabek ties it. 25 ticks left. pic.twitter.com/OUrHaUpwt5
— Matthew De George (@sportsdoctormd) April 27, 2016
In overtime, Pickett won the faceoff, but Springfield coughed the ball up. Stratton fired an off-balance shot wide of the cage, but Ridley retained possession.
After a beat, Johnston handed off to Anderson at the top of the key, and there was little doubt that an attempt to end the game would be waged from Anderson’s stick.
His aim was absolutely true.
“It was just a sense of urgency that we had to go and we had to make something happen,” Anderson said. “Pat Smyth did a terrific job tonight and so did Zac Methlie. But between me and Cade, our urgency was there tonight, and we came out on the right foot and we did what we had to do.”
Also in the Central League:
Haverford 13, Conestoga 9 >> The Fords spotted the Pioneers seven goals … then roared back to score 13 of the next 15 in a stunning upset for their first defeat of their Main Line rivals since 1998.
Luke McCallion was the orchestrator, bossing the faceoff X on an 18-for-26 day and turning that possession into six goals and an assist. Bobby McClure paired a goal with five assists, and Jack Daly scored four times for the Fords (10-2, 6-1), who create a four-way tie atop the Central.
Strath Haven 10, Radnor 7 >> Jeff Conner scored five goals and an assist, Will Huestis added two goals and a helper and Will Brake made 10 saves as the Panthers (11-1, 6-1) passed another test.
Dan Connolly scored twice, and Drew Brown matched a goal with three helpers for Radnor.
Penncrest 16, Upper Darby 3 >> Tim Parsons had a career day with four goals and two assists, the same tally as Alex Bonnett, and John Batipps added his first varsity goal as Penncrest (8-3, 5-2) cruised.
Jake Robinson scored all three of Upper Darby’s goals.
Garnet Valley 12, Marple Newtown 6 >> Matt Moore scored three goals and dished four assists as the Jags owned a 5-1 edge in the fourth quarter to pull away.
Jacob Buttermore added a hat trick with an assist, Evan Trizonis scored twice and Michael Bonaddio made 11 saves for Garnet Valley (8-3, 6-1).
Christian Xitas scored three goals, Tyler Kostack supplied two assists and Eric Carrigan made 14 saves for Marple (7-6, 1-6).
In the Inter-Ac League:
Haverford School 13, Springside Chestnut Hill 6 >> Dox Aitken registered four goals, and Keyveat Postell powered the Fords’ 10-goal first half with three goals and two assists.
Johnny Nostrant and Peter Garno scored twice each for the Fords (12-4, 5-0).