by Tom Utescher
The boys lacrosse team at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy went into spring break on a roll, knocking off visiting Wilmington Christian Academy last Thursday afternoon, 18-2.
On attack the Special K’s, sophomores Jackson Kleintz and Tasso Karras, chalked up five goals apiece for the Blue Devils, while senior Kyle Espenshade and junior Forrest Rall each scored twice.
Longtime SCH goalie Corbin Booker is now a freshman at Brown University vying for the starting job with the Bears, but the Blue Devils are fortunate to have three serviceable keepers still on the roster. Junior Ian Caplan has been given the starting nod thus far, and the other netminders are sophomore Xander Pacilio and freshman Matt Eckles.
“Ian is a very good quarterback of the defense, which is important,” noted third-year head coach (and SCH Athletic Director) Mike DelGrande.
SCH officially opened its schedule last Tuesday with another lopsided win (10-2 over Academy of the New Church), but a few rough edges were evident for the Blue Devils.
“Our guys were so geared up for the start of the season that I think there was a lot of nervous energy,” commented DelGrande. “We got rid of those jitters and today [against Wilmington Christian] we started to put some things together. Some of the younger guys got some very good playing time, and we need for them to get that game experience.”
SCH jumped out 5-1 against the Warriors on Thursday, and after the first quarter ended at 7-2, the Devils didn’t allow another goal the rest of the way. Single markers by juniors Evan Fireman and Clint Sanders and by freshman Michael Bown rounded out the winners’ total.
With Karras, a new SCH student, joining returnees Kleintz and Sanders on attack, the Blue Devils have been able to move Espenshade from attack into a midfield spot, where he joins Rall, Fireman, Bown, and other players such as senior Steve Pompilio. Rall’s twin brother, Wyn, is currently out of action with an ankle sprain, but should return in April.
Senior Jaime Hearn and freshman Nick Lawlor are the long-stick middies, and DelGrande said that he’s using a four-man defensive rotation that includes Lawlor’s brother Kyle (a sophomore), senior Matt Keyser, and sophomores Sean Delaney and Tom Hogan.
After a couple of days off following the Wilmington Christian contest, the Devils are reassembling this week for local games against Roman Catholic and Hun School, and then will take an overnight trip to the Washington, D.C. area to play the Potomac School.
SCH, which fielded its first boys lacrosse team in 2005, played each of its fellow Inter-Ac League schools once last season. This spring, the Devils will play a home/away series against both Germantown Academy and Episcopal, with single matches against Penn Charter, Haverford, and Malvern. More and more of the local school’s stickmen have been playing out-of-season, and SCH participated as a team in a winter league in King of Prussia.
“Our fundamentals and our stick skills have gotten much better,” DelGrande observed. “It’s a work in progress, and the important thing is that the guys are getting the work done and there is progress.”