FRANCONIA >> Souderton had the right audience in the house Monday night.
With former coach Mark Princehorn back on the sideline, his first as a visitor, Souderton’s boys lacrosse team wanted to keep its recent string of strong performances going. There was more than an extra charge of energy on both sides, with the hosts looking to make an impression and visiting Lansdale Catholic trying to make it a good homecoming for their coach.
Souderton made the most of that energy, capitalizing on LC’s mistakes for a 12-6 win under the lights.
“For the past week, we’ve really been drilling that this was a big game and we needed four quarters of lacrosse going 110 percent the entire time,” Souderton senior long stick midfielder Manny Puente said. “We carried that mindset the entire week and it showed in our past few games and translated into this game as well.”
Princehorn was the head coach at Souderton from 2014-19 before becoming athletic director at Lansdale Catholic prior to the 2019-20 school year and taking the helm of the Crusaders boys’ lacrosse program this season. After the game on Monday, a host of former players and many of the current Souderton upperclassmen came over to chat with their former coach.
Puente and several of his fellow seniors on defense got plenty of plaudits from Princehorn, who credited the entire Souderton team for its play. Attacker Jamison McDivitt noted the game goes in ebbs and flows and that was the case for Souderton’s season until this recent hot streak.
“We lost a few games early in the season we felt like we shouldn’t have and we felt like we needed to finish the season strong to roll into playoffs and tonight we did that,” McDivitt said. “We’ve hit our stride the past three games and now we’re looking to keep it rolling.”
LC’s energy parlayed into a great start, with the Crusaders going up 2-0 about two minutes into the game, but would soon turn into a negative after Justin Warzynek got the hosts on the board. A flurry of flags stalled Lansdale Catholic’s momentum and gave Souderton a couple of man-up chances.
Tyson Bui bagged back-to-back goals, the second assisted by McDivitt, on the advantage to give Souderton a 3-2 lead it wouldn’t give back. The teams traded goals in the second quarter, with a late rip by LC midfielder Colin Corbett cutting the lead to 5-4 at the break.
Despite his team trailing by just a goal, Princehorn saw too many trends that were going against his team.
“It’s my first time coming back, and it was a lovely homecoming that ended very quick,” Princehorn said. “We had penalty problems, we couldn’t pick up the ball, we turned it over on clears, we made all the mistakes you can not make when you play a good team. To (Souderton’s) credit, they came out and played really, really well.
“They beat us in every phase of the game and you can’t make mistakes like that against a good team, which is the message to our guys.”
LC was limited to just two goals in the second half and the second only came in the final seconds of the fourth quarter as Souderton’s defense locked things up. With freshman goalie Matt Malanga zeroed in, making 11 stops, Souderton’s poles and defensive mids could afford to be aggressive.
While Souderton has a large influx of youth on the roster, a lot of its experience is on the back end. Puente, poles Nick Curotto, Lance Pelysh and Tommy Goshow are seniors, as is defensive mid Jake Calin and they gave LC’s attack a lot of problems on Monday.
“Our coaches do such a great job scouting so before the game even started we knew exactly what they were going to do before they did it,” Puente said. “We knew which hand was each player’s strong suit, we knew if they were going to shoot and we tried to keep a pole matched up on all their shooters. With Matt in net, we’re super-comfortable letting them take tough shots from outside if they have a stick on their hands.”
Connor Mann was a bright spot for LC. The junior attacker scored four goals, with his third marking the 100th of his career.
“He missed an entire year, so to come out and score 101 goals in essentially two years, he played awesome and he does a lot for us outside of scoring goals,” Princehorn said. “It’s a testament to him, he’s a guy who works year round to hone his craft and it’s a great accomplishment.”
Souderton controlled possession in the second half because it controlled the ball. Puente cited the work of senior Luke Wawrzynek on the faceoff X, where the midfielder went 17-of-21 and all the preparation he did going up against a long pole on the opposing side of the X.
“Luke Wawrzynek was the X-factor winning faceoffs,” Princehorn said. “We tried to do everything we could to even out the possessions, but we turned over on clears, we lost faceoffs, we got in the box and the possession factor completely swings in favor of Souderton. When you don’t have the ball, you aren’t going to score.”
McDivitt assisted three goals, including a terrific no-look pass to Ty Quintois in the third before he punched one home for himself to cap a 5-1 Souderton third quarter. John Martin Vince led Souderton with a hat trick while Quintois, Kobi Bui, Tyson Bui and Justin Wawrzynek each put away two.
At the half, Souderton was ready to keep trading punches with LC but thanks to its energy, the host side never needed to.
“We hustled on every single play and nobody left anything out there,” McDivitt said. “That’s what I love to see, we preach that to all our guys. Every ground ball was ours today and we just executed to perfection.”
SOUDERTON 12, LANSDALE CATHOLIC 6
SOUDERTON 3 2 5 2 – 12
LANSDALE CATHOLIC 2 2 1 1 – 6
Goals-Assists: S – John Martin Vince 3-1, Jamison McDivitt 1-3, Kobi Bui 2-1, Justin Wawrzynek 2-0, Tyson Bui 2-0, Ty Quintois 2-0; LC – Connor Mann 4-0, Pat McKeever 1-3, Colin Corbett 1-0.
Saves: S – Matt Malanga 11, LC – Connor Flanegan 10.
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