By Chris Jastrzembski
TopLaxRecruits.com, Posted 4/9/16
BALTIMORE – It’s not easy to bounce back after a tough loss, and it showed early on in the first half for the La Salle (PA) boys’ lacrosse team Friday night.
“We didn’t start off too hot,” said Explorers senior midfielder Colin Cahill. “We had a rough first half, but we stuck with it, came out in the second half, knew what we had to do, and we worked really hard and came back.”
After falling to nationally-ranked Malvern Prep at home on Tuesday, the Explorers used a 5-0 spurt to defeat DeMatha (MD) of the WCAC 11-8 in the 6th Annual Fallen Heroes Classic, which was held at Under Armour’s Banner Field at Latrobe Park in Baltimore. The two teams have played each other every year, with each team alternating hosting the event.
This year, it was La Salle’s turn to host, and instead of staying local, head coach Bill Leahy decided to have the game at the headquarters of Under Armour, which is the Explorers’ uniform and apparel provider.
“I just thought we’d do something different,” said the 25-year head coach.
As always, the event is different from any other game the teams will play this season. Prior to opening faceoff, the two teams got together at midfield to honor Marine 1st Lt. Travis Manion, a La Salle grad who died in Iraq in 2007; and Lt. (SEAL) Brendan Looney, USN, a DeMatha grad who died in Afghanistan in 2010. They were close friends while at the Naval Academy and standout lacrosse players.
When Travis died he was originally buried in a family plot near his hometown in PA. However, after Brendan passed away, the decision was made to bury both men side by side at Arlington National Cemetery.
The game also honored Marine Staff Sgt Marc Golczynski, whose son Christian is a senior on DeMatha, and Commander Paul Ostrowski, whose son Evan is a freshman on DeMatha.
The pre-game festivities also featured the Baltimore city police Mounted Guards and a city police officer delivering a brilliant rendition of the national anthem. A cookout for both teams and their families was held after the game.
Junior Brett Baskin (Johns Hopkins) led La Salle with three goals and two assists, 2018 Brendan Meagher (Boston University) had two goals and three groundballs and while 2019 Matt Clibanoff (Ohio State) had two goals and two groundballs. Cahill added four assists and Anthony Giuliani (Penn) won 14 of 22 face offs.
The Stags (4-6) led, 5-4, at halftime, but La Salle (5-1) took control after DeMatha’s Ricky Koehler (High Pint) tied it at 6-6 in the third period.
The Explorers then scored five unanswered goals on tallies by Craig Coleman (Air Force), Baskin, Kyle Landis (Lenoir-Rhyne), Matt Clibanoff and Cody Mazurek (High Point) in a span of 9:22.
Mike Clibanoff (Ohio State) got the start in net and made seven saves in three quarters for La Salle, while Christian Golczynski made 10 saves for DeMatha.
Koehler was awarded the “Hero Hustle Award” for DeMatha, while Cahill, who assisted on the last three goals and had four overall, was the “Hero Hustle Award” recipient for La Salle. The awards were created to honor the spirit and determination Manion and Looney displayed on the playing field, in the battlefield and in life.
“Malvern’s a big game to rebound from,” said Cahill. “We just kind of get ourselves motivated again and get our confidence back up. We’re feeling pretty good after this one, but we got a lot of hard work to keep going with.”
“I thought we came out a little slow,” said Baskin. “We really turned it around in the second half and we played a lot better. We played a lot more together and with a lot more energy.”
Cahill said that the next four league games will help La Salle improve on some things, especially on offense.
“We just need to tune up everything and make sure our offense is working well,” said Cahill. “We have to keep working hard, get after it, and just make sure we’re heading into those big games confident and ready to play.”
La Salle (PA) 11, DeMatha (MD) 8
LS 2-2-4-3 – 11
DM 2-3-1-2 – 8
Chris Hladczuk – 1G
Brett Baskin – 3G, 2A, 1GB
Matt Clibanoff – 2G, 2GB
Cody Mazurek – 1G, 3GB
Brendan Meagher – 2G, 3GB
Colin Cahill – 4A
Craig Coleman – 1G
Kyle Landis – 1G
Jared Walls – 2GB
Matt Webster – 2GB
Dan Jordan – 3GB
Mikie\. Clibanoff – 7 saves
Matt McClaren – 2 saves
Anthony Giuliani 14 of 22 FO
Mitchell Howell – 2G, 1A
Quint Burroughs – 1G, 1A
Ricky Koehler – 3G, 2A
Evan Ostrowski – 1G
Christian Golczynski – 10 saves