Fueled By Cassidy’s Five Goals, Spring-Ford Wins Another PAC Title
“He’s been huge for us his entire career…he puts us on his back and decided he wasn’t going to let us lose tonight,” Spring-Ford head coach Kevin Donnelly said following the Rams’ winning of a seventh straight PAC title.
“He’s our leader. He’s our captain. He inspired us at halftime to go out and play our game,” junior midfielder Ryan Rosenblum explained.
“He’s a lot better than us,” junior attackman Jarrod Marenger proclaimed with a smile.
He is in reference to Spring-Ford boys lacrosse captain Danny Cassidy. Cassidy, who recently changed his commitment from Boston University to play at Notre Dame next season, made certain he’d close out his final season the same way the first three ended.
Coming into the game, Cassidy and his fellow seniors had never lost a PAC conference game and already had three titles to their credit. On Thursday night, they were looking to extend their reign of dominance and beat Owen J. Roberts for the seventh time in a row in the PAC championship.
“Coming into tonight’s game, I knew I hadn’t lost a PAC game yet and I didn’t want to lose one tonight,” Cassidy explained, “There was definitely a little extra motivation because of that.”
And when the clock hit zero, his senior class could celebrate knowing that they never experienced the agony of defeat in the PAC. Despite Owen J. Roberts best efforts late in the game to try to tighten it up once more, the Rams would be celebrating on the Wildcats’ field once again.
The game began with a very deliberate, slow pace from Spring-Ford in most of the first half. Cassidy took advantage of some lapses in the Wildcats defense and had a hat trick before any other player in the game scored a goal. It would take until Jarrod Marenger found the back of the net with 5:25 left in the second quarter until anyone not named Danny Cassidy had scored.
Following Marenger’s goal, Owen J. Roberts took back the momentum by scored three unanswered goals going into the half. Austin Koury had two of those goals including one with less than a minute left in the half. After that goal, his Wildcats still trailed 4-3, but seemingly had all the momentum.
After a halftime talk with Coach Donnelly, the Rams jogged back onto the field and began to dominate possession. Cassidy broke through with a goal midway through the quarter. Fellow senior Tate Pijanowski followed with a goal a minute later and Rosenblum scored a minute after that one. Suddenly, the Rams had a 7-3 lead going into the fourth.
Spring-Ford goalkeeper Kyle Pettine saw that third quarter as a showing of “how every guy on this team has each other’s back. Even when it seems like we are struggling, I trust that these guys are going to be able to get us back on track.”
The Rams were still on track when Marenger scored his second goal of the day to start the fourth quarter. At this point, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Spring-Ford would win another title. However, the Wildcats still had some fight left in them.
Logan Clehisch would score with just over eight minutes remaining and teammate Joey Tordone would get his second goal of the day a minute later to tighten the game up. The Wildcats now only trailed by three with ample time to tie the game. The momentum scales looked ready to tip back in Owen J. Roberts’ favor.
Not if Danny Cassidy had anything to say about it.
He would receive the ball following the faceoff and stormed through the middle of the defense to score his fifth goal of the game and Owen J. Roberts was dealt the final, deflating knockout blow. The Rams’ defense, anchored by senior Tanner Romano and juniors Kyle Mason and Gage Warrell, locked up the rest of the Wildcats’ opportunities and closed the door on another PAC title.
As they remain atop the PAC with the 9-5 victory, Coach Donnelly called the night “a special one,” but emphasized that “tonight was the end of our second season. The first was the regular season which went well, this one means a lot especially to the guys, but we need to stay focused as the next season approaches.”
That next season he spoke of is the District 1 AAA playoffs in which Spring-Ford currently sits in fourth in the power rankings with their championship game opponent Owen J. Roberts in 14th. Other PAC teams featured currently in the 24-team playoff field include Perkiomen Valley (8th), Boyertown (21st), and Methacton (24th).
Spring-Ford now owns eight out of the eleven PAC titles since lacrosse became a league sport in 2007. Now they face the daunting task of trying to navigate their way through the District 1 tournament where they lost to Bishop Shanahan last season 7-6 in the fifth place game.
(Photo Credit: Ray Dunne)