by Tom Utescher
“Red rain is pouring down, pouring down all over me.” – Peter Gabriel
Two things made Penn Charter lacrosse fans miserable at last Friday’s Inter-Ac League match, a steady, chilly rain and the red-clad Patriots of visiting Germantown Academy.
They say soggy playing conditions can curtail the scoring in such a contest, but on the Quakers’ Perrott Turf Field the two teams rang up a total of 30 goals, with GA posting 20 of them to raise its record to 1-1 in league play and 5-1 overall.
Both schools officially opened the Inter-Ac season with a loss on Tuesday of last week, GA falling to a team with a national rep, Haverford, by a 12-7 tally.
Pat McDonough, the head coach for Penn Charter (4-4 overall), related, “We lost 7-6 to Malvern on Tuesday but we played pretty well, so the way we looked today was disappointing. Give GA credit – they came ready to play today, obviously more than we did.”
Just a few minutes into the second quarter, McDonough’s club was looking up at a 9-2 deficit. It was 11-7 at halftime and PC struck twice at the start of the third quarter to trail by only two goals, but the Pats went on a roll that lasted the rest of the game, outscoring their hosts, 8-1.
“We held them to three goals in the second half; we played very well at both ends of the field,” observed GA skipper Dave Martin. “We have an older, veteran team who’s been around for a long time, and they know what it’s like to play in this league, which is incredibly difficult game-in and game-out.”
Three of the seniors who did battle last Friday will be attending Dickinson College. Penn Charter midfielders Grant Guyer and Tyler White are bound for the Carlisle, Pa. school, along with GA’s George Robinson, also a middie.
Charter has scoring standout Joey Sankey signed up with the University of North Carolina, and another attacker, Andy Grabowski, is headed in the opposite direction, set to play for Williams College. GA’s Beau Jones will be taking his playmaking skills to the University of Delaware, while his classmate Bobby Tait, a defender, joins the squad at Syracuse University.
Jones delivered eight assists and scored twice himself in the Patriots’ victory at Penn Charter, and GA got six goals from Reid Weber and five from Billy Oppenheimer, both juniors. White and Sankey gave the Quakers five and three goals, respectively. Junior goalie Jackson Tamasitis, who is already getting a lot of college looks, was under pressure much of the game and finished with nine saves in a losing cause.
After junior middie Connor Crump put Germantown on the board with an unassisted strike in the opening minute of last Friday’s fray, the visitors went on to lead 7-2 by the end of the first quarter.
After the Pats increased their advantage to 9-2 with 9:35 to go in the first half, Charter enjoyed its best offensive stretch of the game. The Quakers were back within five with a minute-and-a-half remaining, and with just 15 seconds left Guyer found the upper left corner of the visitors’ goal to make it 11-7 at the interlude.
White quickly netted PC’s eighth goal as the second half got underway, and a little later an apparent score for GA was negated by an offsides call. With 8:55 left to play in the third period White went airborne in front of the Germantown goalcage for a successful shot, pulling PC within two points of the Patriots for the first time since the middle of the first quarter.
This time, GA responded quickly. Just 14 seconds after Charter’s ninth marker, the visitors’ Tait cut across the front of the crease and dumped the ball past Tamasitis. Three more goals followed over the next three minutes, and Jones came from behind the cage near the end of the quarter to make it 17-9 heading into the final frame.
“We got way down early, and it’s hard to dig yourself out of that deep a hole,” admitted PC’s McDonough. “We did it to a degree in the second quarter, but we weren’t able to sustain that. We’re a little beat up; we lost a bunch of guys on defense to injuries in the last couple weeks. We have some inexperienced guys in there who are trying to adjust as fast as they can, but there are going to be some growing pains.”
Although the turf was holding up well, everything and everyone else was pretty well saturated as the contest progressed into its final 12 minutes. With its front supports sinking into the mud, Penn Charter’s filming scaffold was listing towards the field as Germantown’s video crew and scorekeepers looked nervously down from their perch.
The Patriots were still going strong between the lines, outpointing PC 3-1 in the concluding quarter to double up the Quakers, 20-10. Sophomore Tyler Crump finished the game in goal for GA, relieving junior starter Jake Adoni.
“There’s always room for improvement,” GA’s Martin said after his club’s convincing win. “I told the kids at the beginning of the year that the objective is to keep improving throughout the season, and that process is a marathon, not a sprint. Hopefully in a month we’ll be better than we are now, just as we’re better now than at the start of the season.”