WEST CHESTER >> It was an unusual morning start, but the West Chester Henderson boy’s lacrosse squad was obviously wide awake and ready on Saturday for visiting Phoenixville.
The Warriors dominated every facet of the non-league clash at Dicks Stadium, and by the time the Phantoms woke up, the nightmare was well underway. Henderson scored the first six goals less than nine minutes and went on to secure a 15-1 victory that was never even remotely in doubt.
“We talked about (the early start) and were ready to go,” said first-year head coach Sean Evans.
“Right before that start, coach (Evans) said: ‘let’s take it too them in the first five minutes and that that will really show how we were going to play,’ and we did that,” echoed junior midfielder Sean Surowiec.
It was Henderson’s third straight blowout victory following a season opening setback to Penncrest. Now 3-1 overall, the Warriors have outscored their last three foes 43-1. That’s right: 43-1.
“In the last three weeks, I think the guys have progressed nicely,” said Evans, who took over for legendary mentor Paul Stankiewicz after he retired following 55 seasons at Henderson, the last 38 as head coach.
“We’ve had three nice wins and have been able to work on our things, which will be important this week as we face some very nice teams,” Evans added.
First up is rival West Chester Rustin on Tuesday in the Warriors’ Ches-Mont opener.
“Rustin beat us for the first time in a while last season, so we are looking forward to that one,” said Surowiec, who finished with three goals and two assists.
With another non-league road clash the day before, Phoenixville (1-2 overall) had a brutal turnaround for Saturday morning – and the Phantoms struggled.
“It was tough,” said head coach Jason Costello. “The weather (Friday) night wasn’t great, so we had a 90-minute ride each way to New Hope (Solebury), and then had to turn around in about 12 hours and get here and play one of the better teams in the Ches-Mont.
“We struggled in the first quarter. We woke up a little bit for the second quarter, and some day we will figure out how to get the ball into the cage.”
Tenacious all over the field, especially after every forced turnover and ground ball, Henderson never really allowed Phoenixville to catch their collective breath in the first half. It was 2-0 before the Phantoms got possession for the very first time.
“We are just having a blast out there,” Surowiec said.
“What (Evans) is saying, we are taking it to heart. He knows what he is doing.”
The trio of Seamus Murphy, Jake Wagner and Surowiec had an immediate impact at the offensive end, having a hand in all but one of Henderson’s first six goals. Just before the end of the first period, Patrick Ford got Phoenixville on the scoreboard, but the Warriors finished the half with four unanswered goals, including two more by Surowiec.
“We played well,” Evans ackowledged. “I thought we rode really hard and that was the difference. We forced a lot of turnovers. We got the ground balls and we were sharing the ball, which is what I like to see.
“The guys are running the offense the way we want to put in. They are working hard and buying in.”
It was more of the same in the second half. In all, the Warriors had a 28-4 edge in shots on goal, and the combo of seniors Brett Patton and Charlie Fort gave Henderson a dominating 15-4 advantage on face offs.
“Henderson is the first team we’ve seen this season with a very aggressive defense,” Costello said. “They were on top of us as soon as we got the ball.
“Every game matters in District 1 play so it is good to play strong opponents out of our league because we will be better prepared when we get into (Pioneer Athletic Conference) play.”
Murphy, a sophomore, and Wagner (senior) wound up leading the way with four goals apiece, while Harry McIntyre and Ryan Prete each chipped in a goal and an assist. Goaltender Ryan Timmins turned aside all but one shot, but he only faced four.
“Our defense is one of the best in the Ches-Mont. We have some football kids back there and they real get after it,” Surowiec pointed out.
“We have a lot of good leadership on defense as Jack Gibbs and Ryan Timmins in the cage are both seniors,” Evans added. “We also have some athletic sophomores back there. They’re working together as a unit.”
West Chester Henderson 15, Phoenixville 1
Phoenixville 1 0 0 0 — 1
West Chester Henderson 7 3 2 3 — 15
Phoenixville goal: Field.
West Chester Henderson goals: Wagner 4, Murphy 4, Surowiec 3, Brutsche, Fort, McIntyre, Prete.
Goalie saves: Cappelli (P) 13; Timmins (WCH) 3.