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Hempfield Falls in State Final

Hershey, PA – Hempfield lacrosse midfielder Grant Sweitzer fell to midfield just after the final horn sounded. As Sweitzer held his leg in pain after a last-second collision in Saturday’s Pennsylvania Scholastic Lacrosse Association championship game, teammates surrounded him. The pain in Sweitzer’s face may have been just as much a product of the Black Knights’ battle with a powerful Haverford School team as it was his injury. The Black Knights, looking to crack the Philadelphia area’s stranglehold on Pennsylvania lacrosse supremacy, fell short, losing 19-9 at Hersheypark Stadium. Haverford (25-5) ran past Hempfield, literally and figuratively, in the title showdown. Haverford’s speed proved to be lethal to the Black Knights’ cause; one time after another, Haverford took off on fast breaks that left the Hempfield defense bewildered and unable to shut down a potent offense. The Fords were led by six goals from midfielder Dan Maude and four more from attacker Casey O’Rourke. Rob Stauffer’s three goals were the most scored by a Hempfield player. “They must’ve beaten us six times on fast breaks,” Hempfield coach Doug Bailey said. “That’s just unexplainable.” Unexplainable because the Black Knights rarely see a team the caliber of the Fords in their day-to-day travails. This wasn’t a first-time meeting. Hempfield (23-5) held a 7-4 second-quarter lead when the teams met on Haverford’s field April 22, only to fall 14-9. Haverford coach John Nostrant knew what to expect from his team’s foe. “We knew if we made them play our game and defend us, it’d be tough for them to catchup,” he said. Playing catchup: that’s what Hempfield seemed to be doing all night long. It was only 71 seconds after the opening faceoff “” the game’s start was delayed 45 minutes by inclement weather “” when Haverford midfielder Max Allen managed to beat Hempfield goalie Pete Humphreville. The Fords held a 7-2 lead at the end of the first period and piled on by adding three more tallies to start the second. Despite being down by seven goals, Hempfield was not out of the match. The Knights responded to Haverford’s run by scoring three straight goals of their own “” Parker Dickerson, Ryan Stauffer and Kyle Wimer scored later in the period, cutting Hempfield’s intermission deficit to 10-5. It seemed like the Knights would maintain momentum when they opened the third period with a goal nine seconds in from attacker Rob Stauffer. That’s when Haverford’s offense turned on the spigots. In the next 13 minutes of play, stretching into the fourth period’s early stages, the Fords scored six goals in a row. It was a run that may have taken the wind out of Hempfield’s sails. “When we were down by five goals, I thought we were coming back,” Rob Stauffer said. Unfortunately, the comeback wasn’t meant to be. The problem wasn’t Hempfield’s lack of offense as much as it was Haverford’s explosive unit. “Eight, nine goals “” that should be enough to win,” Stauffer said. “They just outscored us.” It was the last game for Hempfield’s talented senior class, the first group to come through the area’s youth lacrosse program. It’s a group that will be missed. “The group of seniors we had this year was very special,” standout midfielder Jordan Kolb said. “It’s been an honor to play with them.” The game also marked the return of assistant coach Glenn Nissley, a reservist who has missed most of the season while attending training. He’s soon headed to Iraq. “He’s always with us, and this year he hasn’t been,” Bailey said. “We wanted to try to do everything to have him get back to see us play.”

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