Composure vaulted Mt. Lebanon into the Final Four of the WPIAL Class AAA boys’ lacrosse playoffs. For when the Blue Devils fell behind Bethel Park, 3-2, eight minutes into their quarterfinal match at North Allegheny, they stayed the course and eventually routed their rival, 16-6.
“At that point we needed to take a deep breath,” said Lebo field general Mike Ermer of the one-goal deficit. “We needed to settle down and execute.”
John Sramac certainly did that. The junior exploded for six goals, two of them back-to-back to vault Lebo into the lead for good, 4-3, by the end of the first frame. Sramac also dished up three assists.
“Jack’s been a monster all year,” said Ermer. “He’s a big, strong kid. He sees the field well. He’s light on his feet. He’s just a real good player.”
Jack Sullivan and Blake Nelson are equally talented. Both juniors contributed to the triumph as well as to Lebo’s undefeated (9-0) section championship.
Against BP, Sullivan accounted for three scores, two in the third frame as Lebo turned a 9-3 halftime margin into a 13-4 advantage. Sullivan also collected an assist on Sramac’s initial tally at 10:01 of the first frame.
“Jack’s a real meat and potatoes guy – a do-it-all guy,” Ermer said. “He plays both ends of the field. He’d change a flat tire on the bus if he had to.”
Meanwhile, Nelson just changes for the better. According to Ermer, he has really developed since the start of the 2019 campaign. Against BP, he produced a goal and an assist.
“Blake’s slick and slippery. He can really carry the ball when we need him to do that.”
Lebo needed Tucker Welch and the defense of Joe Gibbons, Ryan Pochek, Andrew Zundel and Sam Pelligrino to contain the Black Hawks. After surrendering goals to Ryan Ferris, Kelton Kramer and Zachary Bielozer in the first quarter, the Blue Devil defense held BP scoreless until four minutes remaining in the third stanza. Jacob Wodarek broke the dry spell. Zachary Radcliffe and Ferris completed the Hawks’ scoring in the final frame.
“Tucker played well in goal for us,” Ermer said, “and our defense overall was solid. We gave up three goals early but kept them to three the rest of the game.”
Ermer expected BP to burst out of the gates but not because the Hawks throttled Latrobe, 19-2, in a first-round playoff game or lost to Lebo in section action.
“It’s the playoffs,” Ermer said. “Anything can happen. Bethel came out with a lot of emotion. They were fired up.”
With multiple weapons, the Blue Devils doused the Hawks.
Ben Sombar registered a hat trick. Daniel Kovalan and Cooper Austin each picked up a goal and an assist. Sam Pelligrino and Zach Nickolas also supplied assists. Additionally, Adam Marks controlled the face-offs, winning 13 of 24. He also led with 10 ground balls.
With the win, Lebo improved 12-6 overall. The Blue Devils will face (NA-SV) in the semifinals set for May 21 at a STD.
The WPIAL championships are set for 8 p.m. May 24 at Robert Morris University.
In first-round WPIAL Class AAA girls’ lacrosse action, the Lebo girls defeated Seneca Valley, 18-11.
Though Lebo broke out fast, mounting a 7-1 lead, the Raiders stormed back, pulling within two goals, 7-5, at intermission.
“Seneca is well coached and they never give up,” said Lebo skipper Brian Kattan. “We just kept up the pressure and were able to wear them down a little it in the second half. Overall, it was a good game and we played well.”
For the Blue Devils, Emeilia Krakora fired in five goals and added one assists.
Maddie Reisinger and Cara Lynch followed with four tallies each. Reisinger posted two assists and Lynch had three ground balls.
Reagan Murdoch had a hat trick to match with one assist and two ground balls.
In goal, Noel Awad registered nine saves.