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Springfield’s Clark shakes off injury, takes down Spring-Ford

NETHER PROVIDENCE — Jack Clark took a slash across the body immediately following the faceoff. While Springfield head coach Tom Lemieux argued the call, Clark remained down on both knees in what appeared to be a shot to the head. After a few minutes, he jumped up and sprinted to the sideline ready to go back in.

Clark turned, looked at Lemieux and nodded his head that he was OK. Luckily for the Cougars, their sophomore attacker turned out to be the difference in the game and assured that his injury would not keep him off the field.

“I just got the wind knocked out of me,” Clark said. “I wish I could’ve stayed in there.”

Clark scored two goals and assisted on two more in lifting No. 1 Springfield to a 9-7 victory over No. 16 Spring-Ford in the second round of the District 1 Class 3A boys lacrosse tournament at Strath Haven High School Thursday night. The win was Springfield’s first in the playoffs since stumbling in the 2A district final against Bishop Shanahan last season and the Cougars played like a team that wasn’t looking back.

Springfield advanced to play Downingtown East, a 15-4 winner over Boyertown, in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

Central League MVP Jack Spence opened the scoring with a goal, then Geo Dotsicas tallied one only 2:36 later. Clark put home his first strike with 16.8 seconds left in the opening quarter to give the Cougars (17-2) a 3-0 lead.

As Springfield only allowed one shot and controlled the ball for much of the first, Clark saw that opportunities were there for himself.

“I was trying to change it up,” Clark said. “They kept hopping in and out of the zone. As we’re getting shots, some of them are eventually going to fall and they did. We got enough to win the game.”

Lemieux has seen maturity and improvement in Clark and notes that he’s starting to put everything together now.

“He’s getting better every day,” Lemieux said. “He’s one of our underclassmen who we’re really going to lean on. He’s played really well and he’s getting his feet wet as a sub.”

After a dismal first quarter, Spring-Ford (14-7) turned things around in the second. Peyton Gensler, who had four goals in the opening round against Perkiomen Valley, scored back-to-back goals to cut the deficit to 4-2. Nicholas Teets notched the first of his three goals then Patrick Wixted tied things up at 4-4 with 8:02 left before halftime.

The Cougars answered with two straights goals: one from Spence and one from Liam Difonzo. Springfield had its share of opportunities in the first half but Rams goalkeeper Ben Swarr made 11 of his 20 saves in that span.

Rams head coach Kevin Donnelly, whose team fell to the Cougars, 10-4 in April, noted that Swarr was stood tall against the vaunted Springfield attack.

“He comes up big in big games,” Donnelly said. “He had 14 saves the last time we saw them. He’s got lightning fast hands and has really come along as a goalie.”

A goal by Collin Hopkins and the second from Difonzo, assisted by Clark, in the third put the game away for the Cougars, who were playing the Rams in the district playoffs for the third time in five years.



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