By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/11/22
Senior defenseman Will Gallagher admits it was a challenge for the 2022 Radnor boys’ lacrosse team to start its own legacy after a state championship run in 2021.
“Coming in, we were trying to find our leaders and find how to play together, and it took a little time,” said Gallagher. “We lost a lot of seniors, but ultimately we found that tight bond and we practiced hard and worked so hard got better and better.”
That work showed Saturday as the Raptors used a 4-0 third-period run to break open a 2-2 game and rolled to a 12-5 win over Garnet Valley in the PIAA 3A championship at West Chester East.
Radnor (24-2) won its last 22 games and became the first team to win back-to-back PIAA since Springfield-Delco in 2016-2017 and the first team since Conestoga in 2012 to sweep its league, district and state crowns.
Mason Montrella and Colin French each scored three goals and Ryan Goldstein had two goals and four assists for the Raptors, who led, 2-0, but saw the Jaguars (19-7) send the game into halftime at 2-2 on goals by Ryan Nealon (3G) and Andrew Goldt (1G, 1A).
Montrella scored two goals to open the third period and Tommy Deshan and French followed to make it 6-2. Luke Mingioni (1G, 1A) made it 6-3, but Radnor scored six unanswered goals in the final period to ice it.
This is Radnor third PIAA championship. It also won the 2015 crown (when there was one class).
“I think our guys had some big shoes to fill from last year and I think it took us a little bit to get into the groove,” said Radnor senior midfielder Nick Lucchesi. “Once we got it, our confidence shot up.
“They say it’s like a myth, that you can’t win all three (titles) and that just fueled our fire. We wanted to make history. I am so proud of the how hard we worked and how much we sacrificed.
“The guys knew what it takes to win a state championship because guys from last year were coming to practice and saying, ‘This is what you have to do.’ We followed through with it.”
As it did last year, Radnor’s defense was a major cog in its state title. Gallagher, an All-EPLCA pick headed to Notre Dame, is the most recognized player in the backline, but the overall unit, led by coach John Sims, again was elite all year. Gallagher was joined at close defense by sophomore Michael Savadove (six caused turnovers on Saturday), junior Luciano Chadha and senior Sammy Carter, LSM’s Thomas Barton (senior) and Pablo Strid (junior) and short-stick middies Drew Warren (senior), Cooper Mueller (junior) and Tucker Graham (sophomore).
Gallagher had the task of defending Garnet Valley senior All-American Max Busenkell (over 15 points this year) – also a Notre Dame signee and close friend – and he helped keep Busenkell scoreless.
“He’s great, he’s probably the hardest player I had to guard this year,” said Gallagher of Busenkell. “But I can’t take all the credit. It’s trusting I have a slide coming next to me and (senior goalie) Nate Brown was awesome all season. I was just the one that drew the assignment, but it’s everyone.”
Added Lucchesii: “They (the defense) bailed us out countless times. I don’t know what we’d do without that squad back there.”
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