No deju vu this time! St. Joe's Prep had lost to archrival La Salle in the last seven Catholic League lacrosse finals. This time, on Thursday eve at Cardinal O'Hara, the Hawks topped the Explorers, 8-6, for top honors. Blaine Fleming, a junior midfielder, led the attack with three goals; Brad James and Anthony Marini each added two goals apiece.
It was Prep's first championship since 2003 and third overall (it also won in 1993). La Salle, the PIAA state champ in 2009 and runner-up to Conestoga last year, was seeking its 17th title in the last 19 years.
The Hawks are guided by third-year boss Eric Gregg. The 32-year-old is the son of former major-league ump Eric Gregg, who died from a massive heart attack five years ago. Afterward, the coach said, "He's probably dancing up in heaven for me right now." Touching moment.
The Prep moves on the state tournament. The Hawks will face Pennsbury, District 1's No. 4 seed, on Wednesday at a site and time to be determined. It's all over for talent-filled La Salle, which featured four Division I-bound seniors: Kevin Forster, Jack Bogorowski (Johns Hopkins), Zack Jones (Towson), and Mark DiFrangia (St. John's).
That's right - only one team from District 12 advances to states. Prep felt that pain the last two years.