In the past, the ultimate goal in boys' lacrosse was to win the Keystone Cup, which signified Pennsylvania's state champion. For the girls, the District 1 championship was as far as teams could go.
Now that the PIAA has assumed total authority of the sport for member schools, the challenge is to become the first PIAA state champion.
This afternoon, teams from Southeastern Pennsylvania - no matter who wins - will capture both the boys' and girls' first PIAA state championships.
At noon, Radnor and Strath Haven will play for the girls' championship, and La Salle will play Conestoga at 2 p.m. for the boys' title. The games will be played at HersheyPark Stadium in Hershey.
These all-local finals shouldn't come as a surprise. Conestoga and La Salle are the A standards when it comes to boys' lacrosse in Pennsylvania, and Radnor and Strath Haven are the among the top teams for the girls.
The La Salle Explorers (20-4) are ranked first in the state, according to phillylacrosse.com, and the Pioneers (24-1) are second. The La Salle and Conestoga boys met this season in the season-opener, and the Conestoga Pioneers won.
The Radnor (23-1) girls are ranked first by phillylacrosse.com, and Strath Haven (21-4) is ranked second.
"The team that limits turnovers and the team that gets to the loose ball will win," Conestoga coach Brian Samson said of the final. "There is going to be a lot of talent on that field."
That's an understatement.
La Salle boasts four all-Americans in seniors Niko Amato (goalie), Pete Schwartz (midfielder/attackman), Tyler Knarr (long-stick midfielder/defender) and Tucker Durkin (defender).
Senior defenseman Mike Bronzino and junior attackman Austin Rogusky are Conestoga's all-Americans.
And each team has an academic all-American in La Salle senior Westy Hopkins (attackman) and Conestoga senior Travis Armiger (midfielder).
La Salle is eager to avenge its 6-3 setback to the Pioneers. It was the Explorers' lone loss to an in-state opponent.
"They have our attention, yes," said La Salle coach Bill Leahy, whose squad won last season's Keystone Cup.
Perhaps the Explorers overlooked their opponents in the season opener. After all, some expected that game to be nothing more than a tuneup for La Salle team predicted to win the state title. Instead, the Explorers exited the contest humbled.
"They score does not reflect the beating we took," Leahy said.
Even though they were overtime setbacks, Leahy hopes contests against Maryland powers Gilman, Calvert Hall and Georgetown Prep will give the Explorers an edge today.
Gilman (first), Calvert Hall (sixth) and Georgetown Prep (12th) are all listed in the Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse national rankings.
"You really hope that type of pressure comes back to help us now," Leahy said.
But Leahy knows La Salle is in for a tough contest against a well-balanced squad.
Rogusky (41 goals, 24 assists) is far from Conestoga's only offensive threat. Senior attackman Paul Mita (39, 21) and junior attackman Matt Smith (37, 19) are close behind. Midfielders Peter Bowers (24, 11), Jason Klunder (20, 20) and Ryan Lord (20, 17) are also dangerous.
Radnor's only loss this season came to Springfield (Delaware County), and the Red Raiders have beaten Strath Haven twice this season. Allie Martin and Kelyn Freedman have been scoring lately for Radnor.
For Strath Haven, Emily Garrity scored seven goals, including the 400th goal of her career, in Tuesday's state semifinal win over Unionville. Kelly Ruffini scored her 100th career goal last Saturday in a 23-7 romp over Hempfield.