Down by two goals at half, host Lancaster Country Day/Lancaster Catholic scored seven unanswered in the third period of Monday evening’s District Three Class 2A boys lacrosse first-round playoff game against visiting Ephrata. It proved to be the difference in a comeback 10-6 victory for the No. 7-seeded Cougars (13-4) over No. 10 Ephrata (11-8).
“Matthew Lane always has a great (halftime) speech for us,” LCD/LCHS senior Mike Nicklaus said afterward. “He got us hyped up. We came out strong in the second half.”
It marked the Cougars’ first district playoff win in the PIAA-sanctioned era of high school lacrosse, and the first playoff win of any kind under third-year coach Zach Lombardo.
“I’ve had this senior group since they were sophomores,” Lombardo said. “But it feels like I’ve had them since they were freshman. We’ve been in battles and have been in some ups and downs the last three years….the guys were ready. Our upperclassmen wanted to keep their season going.”
LCD/LCHS adjusted on the offensive end in the second half by bringing its wings up a few yards from behind the net to instead keep them parallel with the net when the Cougars attacked, leading to smoother passing and finding gaps more easily when swinging the ball around the Ephrata defense.
Nicklaus, who won 17 of 19 faceoffs, and fellow seniors Devin McMahon (2 goals), Lane (2 goals) and Joe Loiseau (1 goal, 1 assist) combined for five of the third-quarter scores, sandwiched around back-to-back goals from freshman JP Jones. Senior keeper Peyton Snopek made seven stops.
Boys Lacrosse: senior leader @mnicklaus22 got the 7-0 run started after halftime for @LCDSsports by scoring off a faceoff (he won 17 of 19 faceoffs, too). Here's what he had to say on the Cougars' first ever District 3 playoff victory @LancasterSports @4cougarlacrosse pic.twitter.com/R3KiPju3AS— John Walk (@JWalkLNP) May 14, 2018
Ephrata, meanwhile, saw its turnaround season come to a close after snapping a three-year sub-.500 spell and appearing in districts for the first time since 2014.
“We are really proud of our senior class,” second-year Ephrata coach Mike O’Donnell said. “They did a really good job changing the culture with the program.”
LCD/LCHS will travel to No. 2 Trinity (15-2) for Wednesday’s District 3-2A quarterfinals.
District 3-3A tournament:
Penn Manor: In the District 3-3A boys lacrosse tournament...the No. 9 Penn Manor (13-6) won a district playoff game for the first time since 2013 with Monday’s 11-7 win over No. 8 Governor Mifflin (12-6). Locked 3-3 after the first period, the Comets outscored GM, 5-3 in the second period and held the Mustangs to one goal after halftime, with Aidan Mahoney (5 goals), Clayton Hollinger (3 goals) and Josh Heckman (1 goal, 2 assists) pacing the offensive end while keeper Seth Wilton recorded six saves. Penn Manor travels to top-seeded Central York (16-0) for Wednesday’s 7 p.m. quarterfinal round matchup. The Comets will look to avenge the 20-5 regular season loss at Central York.
Hempfield: No. 5 Hempfield (16-4) beat No. 12 Exeter (8-11), 27-14, to advance to Wednesday’s 7 p.m. contest at No. 4 Cumberland Valley (15-3). Monday’s single-game total of 27 goals is a new program record for the Black Knights, outpacing the pair of 24-goal efforts from earlier this season. It’s also believed to be the highest single-game total in any District Three boys lacrosse playoff game - outdoing Manheim Township’s 23-7 district playoff win over Dallastown back in 2011. Along those lines, Hempfield’s Kohl Wesner set the new high-water mark for most goals scored by an L-L player in a game this season with Monday’s 11-goal output, going along with six scores from Matt Heuston and 4 goals and 3 assists from Cam Aksu.
Warwick: No. 10 Red Lion (11-7) beat No. 7 Warwick (12-5), 9-3, to advance to face Manheim Township in a District 3-3A quarterfinal round matchup on Thursday at 5 p.m. in Neffsville.