FALLS – Maybe it was because it was the second year in a row the Falcons lost the battle for the Doug Greenfield Cup. Maybe it was just a typical Neshaminy-Pennsbury rivalry game but emotions spoiled over both during and after the Skins’ second overtime win of the season over the Falcons Wednesday afternoon (May 11) on Hood Boulevard.
Neshaminy freshman Nick Donato slammed home the decisive goal 2:27 into the extra session off a feed from sophomore Mason Ceberlein, giving the visiting Skins a 9-8 victory, their second OT win over Pennsbury this season.
“Nick and Mason are both amazing players; I’ve played with them a long time,” said Neshaminy senior middie Dave Nuckles. “They’re well-coached. They’re both good and they know what to do.
“Nick is a freshman and Mason is a sophomore and they handled themselves great; they’re just fantastic players – just a real pleasure to play with.”
The Skins held the lead from the six-minute mark of the second period until Ben Abraham tied the score for Pennsbury at 5-all 4:17 into the fourth quarter. Ryan Kelly put the Falcons up 6-5 with his fourth goal of the game, tallied 5:43 into the final period in regulation.
When Abraham scored again for Pennsbury at 7:25, it gave the home team a two-goal edge.
“Two goals is nothing in lacrosse,” stated Nuckles, however. “We know what to do and we believe in each other.
“We believe in our offense, we believe in our defense and when we got to one (goal deficit), it gave us the momentum and we kept doing what we’ve been coached to do.”
Back came Neshaminy, however. Nuckles scored his third goal of the game then fed Ceberlein for a goal to deadlock the sides at 7-all at the 9:44 mark. Less than 45 seconds later, the Skins took an 8-7 edge on a goal by Matt Dodge off a feed from Luke Sermarini.
“We’re a second-half team and we’re well-coached in that,” explained Nuckles. “When we get down, we don’t get discouraged; we keep going, we keep fighting all four quarters, all the way.
“When we got down, we didn’t think anything of it. We just kept playing like we’ve done all year.”
With time winding down however, Abraham scored his third goal of the game for the Falcons, sending the sides to sudden-death overtime.
Leading 3-2 at the half on a goal by Nuckles midway through the third period, Neshaminy surged ahead and was up 5-2 with less than four minutes left in the third quarter on goals by Dodge and Donato.
Back to back goals late in the third period by Kelly brought Pennsbury back to life however, heading into the final frame.
“It’s a long game so you’re going to have our ups and downs,” stated Nuckles. “We’re not a very deep team; we’re very young.
“We expect that to happen but we keep fighting; we have a lot of heart.”
The Falcons’ cause took a huge hit in this game when senior attack wing Hunter Lake was tagged with his second unsportsmanlike conduct penalty with less than three minute left in regulation. Lake was ejected from the game and Pennsbury was stung with a 3-minute penalty that was locked in.
During the man-down, the Skins scored twice, taking a one-goal lead with 1:36 remaining in regulation before the Falcons managed to deadlock the score at 8-apiece.
“I don’t think a lot of people saw (the penalty on Lake); that’s why I challenged it,” said Pennsbury head coach Drew Artin.
After the game, there was an overabundance of exuberant chatter coming from the Falcons’ side of the field. Even the game officials objected.
After losing the Greenfield Cup to Neshaminy last year, Artin suspects his team became emotional losing the trophy named after one of the Pennsbury lacrosse founders a second year in a row. Adding fuel to the passion surrounding the game, Alice Greenfield, Doug’s wife of 64 years, passed away suddenly last week. She would have been at the game, said Artin, if not for a rainout of the original date scheduled for last week.
“It was definitely an emotional game,” said Artin. “I told the guys before we started, ‘this year, we’re taking the cup back.’”
“But the name of the game is to put more balls into the back of the net than your opponent and it looks like this year, they got us again.”
Pennsbury took leads of 1-0 and 2-1 in the first quarter on a goal by Kelly and another by senior long-stick captain Brian Doron. The Skins went ahead 3-2 at the half on goals by Jeremy Sheley and Nuckles.
NOTES: Nuckles is taking his game to the next level with plans to play at North Greenville (S.C.) next season. Additionally for Neshaminy, T.J. Daino (Elizabethtown) and Rob Cautilli (Arcadia) are advancing to the next level. For the Falcons, Brian Doron is headed to Messiah and Hunter Lake says he’ll play at Northampton C.C. The Skins won the first duel this season between these two schools by the exact same 9-8 score in overtime.
Contact Steve Sherman at ssherman@21st-Centurymedia.com or @BucksLocalSport on Twitter
Neshaminy 9, Pennsbury 8 (OT)
(May 11 at Pennsbury)
GOALS: P – Ryan Kelly 4, Ben Abraham 3, Brian Doron; N – Dave Nuckles 3, Matt Dodge 2, Nick Donato 2, Jeremy Sheley, Mason Ceberlein.