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Kingsway advances to County Cup final

From behind the net, Tim Kemner floated the ball over the shoulder of Washington Township goalie Chris Burns.

From behind the net, Tim Kemner floated the ball over the shoulder of Washington Township goalie Chris Burns.

The ball found Ryan Davidson, who deposited an uncontested goal from four feet in front of an open net just two minutes into the second half.

For Davidson, the goal was a gift. For his Kingsway boys' lacrosse team, the play represented the antidote to Township's run-and-gun style.

Even as Township made its runs Thursday at Kingsway, the Dragons leaned on patience and ball movement, using a deliberate style to escape with a 9-7 home win in the semifinals of the Gloucester County Cup.

Kingsway, ranked No. 7 in South Jersey by The Inquirer, moves on to its third consecutive Gloucester County Cup final. The team will play for the title, against the winner of No. 9 West Deptford vs. Clearview, Wednesday night at Washington Township.

"It's huge for us to be back in the finals," said Mark St. Pierre, who, along with Davidson, led Kingsway with two goals. "We've been working hard all year, and it's nice to be seeing results."

The Dragons (10-3), who will vie for their second overall Gloucester County Cup title and first in two years, also were aided by the play of junior goalie Connor Beers.

Beers recorded 19 saves. He kept his poise late in the fourth quarter with a desperate Washington Township controlling possession and bombarding him with shots.

"Connor's had a great year. This is his first year starting for us, as a junior," Kingsway coach Sean Dunn said. "He definitely came up big for us in this game."

After ending the first quarter with a 4-0 lead, the Dragons were caught on their heels for much of the second period. The 10th-ranked Minutemen (5-8) used an aggressive, physical attack to control possession and end the half down by 5-2.

"They're a big transition team. We knew that coming in," Dunn said. "We just focused on limiting those opportunities.

"We have good chemistry. We move pretty well off the ball. We just stayed focused on executing."

Kingsway broke the game open and kept the lead for good by slowing the pace in the third quarter.

The team scored the half's first three goals to take an 8-2 lead, which it never lost.

"We knew coming into this game we were going to have to be disciplined," Davidson said. "So our game plan was just to settle the ball and find our shots."

After an 18-9 loss to No. 5 Shawnee on Tuesday, Thursday's win was a confidence boost for Kingsway before it finishes a tough regular-season schedule that includes games against No. 2 Moorestown and state power Hunterdon Central.

"We have a pretty good schedule this year," Dunn said. "But that's definitely a positive for our team."

Washington Township   0 2 1 4 – 7

Kingsway   4 1 3 1 – 9

Goals: WT-T.J. Mulderig, Ian Mitchell, Frankie DiStefano 2, Chris Paulo 2, Nate Rhoads; K-Ryan Davidson 3, Mark St. Pierre 3, Kyle McLaughlin 2, Tim Kemner.

Saves: WT-Chris Burns 10; K-Connor Beers 19.