Before Saturday’s PIAA Class 2A finale against Hershey, the last time Bishop Shanahan junior all-American Gabe Goforth left the lacrosse field at West Chester East High School he was accompanied by confusion and disappointment.
After Saturday’s proceedings, he was only accompanied by his teammates and the championship medal around his neck.
The 12-3 victory was the Eagles’ second consecutive state championship.
“Ever since the beginning of the season we set out for this goal,” Goforth said postgame. “It doesn’t matter what happened last year. It only matters what we do this year ... we’ve been waiting for this moment, basically.”
The early moments had the look and feel of a one-person game of seesaw, which kept the pressure on the Hershey defense early and often.
The Eagles, whose only loss came March 28, dominated the first quarter, at one point scoring five goals in less than two minutes.
“That’s the biggest part about [our attack],” said Goforth, a University of Maryland commit. “It’s almost like it’s make-it-take-it in basketball. You just keep rolling after that.”
Senior faceoff man Tyler Kingsbury, headed to High Point next season, won nine of the game’s first 12 contests (he finished with 13 wins, 4 losses).
“Tyler’s been doing that all year,” said Eagles coach Jon Heisman. “He’s like a 78 percent faceoff guy. That’s huge for us. Once we get it, we’re OK.”
Things were less than OK on March 28 when the Eagles lost in overtime after squandering a four-goal halftime advantage to host West Chester East in the Ches-Mont League opener.
“That was probably the worst experience of my high school career, walking off that field,” Goforth said. “I didn’t believe it when I was walking off the field. Then it kicked in and I was like, ‘Wow, that really just happened.’ I never want to feel that feeling again.”
On Saturday, Goforth finished with three assists, including the first to Connor Whalen (University of Maryland) that sparked a five-goal run in the first quarter.
Sophomore Owen Murray led the Eagles (21-1) with four goals.
Nick Rizzo led Hershey with two tallies. Just a junior, Rizzo could have another chance for glory next season.
The problem for the District 3 Trojans (18-6) is that so will the Eagles.
“When my coach handed me this medal,” said Goforth, pointing to the gold around his neck, “he said ‘let’s get another one.’”
Bishop Shanahan 5 3 2 2 12
Hershey 1 0 1 1 3
BS: Owen Murray 4, Connor Whelan, Kyle Gucwa 2, Vincent Riccardo 2, Bryan Rafferty 2, Owen Mehok.
H: Nick Rizzo 2, Colin Kondracki
BS — Nick Pezone 5