Colin Keegan scored nearly half of Springfield-Delco’s goals and still managed to play unselfishly in a 9-7 comeback win over host Lower Merion in Central League action on Tuesday.
The St. John’s-bound senior attackman tallied four times – including the Cougars’ final three scores – to complete Springfield’s rebound from a 4-2 halftime deficit to the Aces (0-4). And while protecting the late two-goal lead, Keegan sped through traffic and found himself in point-blank range for a fifth score.
Instead of shooting, though, he passed outside to junior Joe Venit (one goal), allowing the Cougars (3-1) to call timeout and preserve possession, making a late Lower Merion surge more difficult.
“When Colin came into the huddle, one of our others players on the bench said, ‘I would have shot it,’ Springfield-Delco coach Mike Friel said. “That just shows you Colin’s got his head on straight.”
Keegan, who also had one assist, said he “just didn’t want to take the chance to turn it over.”
“We were trying not to give them any more chances,” Keegan said. “We were trying to keep it in the offensive end.”
Springfield-Delco (3-1), ranked No. 3 by the Eastern Pennsylvania Scholastic Lacrosse Association (EPSLA), needed Keegan’s best to overcome a strong start by a determined Lower Merion bunch.
The Aces boast Division I talent in Towson commit Andrew Mongeluzzi (five goals) and future Duke Blue Devil Jordan Wolf (two assists) up top, along with Vermont recruit Ahmad Zachary (two assists).
Their opening three losses were also against teams ranked in Eastern Pa. – No. 14 Spring-Ford, No. 15 Avon Grove and No. 8 Episcopal Academy, which is 6-0 and likely to climb even higher.
On Tuesday, though, Mongeluzzi scored three of Lower Merion’s four goals in the first half, with the speedy Wolf creating chances and Zachary’s physicality flustering the Cougars early.
But Springfield roared out of halftime for two quick goals, sparked by the first of three assists for Cougars senior midfielder Josh Cavanaugh (Navy), the reigning Central League MVP.
Cavanaugh’s deft bounce-pass across the top to senior attackman Bobby Gildea led to Gildea’s first of two goals and cut the Aces’ lead to 4-3 with 10:39 remaining in the third period.
Then Springfield senior Billy McCullough won the ensuing faceoff, leading to Venit’s game-tying goal just 10 seconds later.
“I thought we played pretty well,” Lower Merion coach Chet Laubach said. “But they’re a well-coached team, and they’re experienced.”
Springfield won five of seven face-offs in the third period, giving them more scoring chances. Lower Merion and Springfield then traded leads, and the score was knotted 6-6 at the end of three periods.
While Lower Merion junior goaltender Hank Altschuler made 18 saves to six by Springfield’s Austin Kaut (Penn State), Springfield won another faceoff to open the fourth period.
Altschuler saved a shot by Cavanaugh, but Keegan scooped the rebound and snapped a shot by flipping his stick over and behind his head for a spectacular individual effort and a 7-6 lead and 11:41 to play.
Keegan scored again at the 7:24 mark from the left side off a Cavanaugh assist to make it 8-6. Then Wolf found Mongeluzzi at 5:39 to close the gap to 8-7.
That’s when Keegan raced from behind the net and released a screaming shot into the top right corner, sacrificing his body – unselfishly – to a firm hit by Zachary, but distancing Springfield with just 3:33 to play.
Springfield-Delco 1 1 4 3 9
Lower Merion 1 3 2 1 7
SD: Colin Keegan 4, Bobby Gildea 2, Larry McLaughlin 2, Joe Venit 1.
LM: Andrew Mongeluzzi 5, Joey Shallow 2.
Saves: SD-Austin Kaut 6; LM-Hank Altschuler 18.