There might not be any moral victories in high school lacrosse, but the Mt. Lebanon Blue Devils gave Penncrest, one of the sport's nationally ranked teams, all it could handle before falling, 15-10, in a PIAA semifinal Tuesday at Cumberland Valley High School.
Penncrest, 24-1 and ranked No. 31 nationally by Laxpower.com, will meet Avon Grove for the state championship at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium. Mt. Lebanon, which has advanced to the semifinals in three of the past four seasons, finished 14-10 and was ranked No. 458. Three of its losses were against WPIAL teams, and the Blue Devils avenged one of those setbacks with a 7-6 victory against Shady Side Academy Saturday in the quarterfinals
"They are a very good team, and we knew going in they would be dangerous in transition," said Mt. Lebanon coach Mike Ermer of Penncrest. "We didn't do a good enough job of handling their transition for the entire game."
With the Lions holding a 6-2 second-quarter lead, Mt. Lebanon scored twice. But Penncrest added two more goals for an 8-4 lead.
Junior midfielder Brian Kelly led Mt. Lebanon with three goals and two assists. Sophomore midfielder Brian Ward also had three goals. Senior attack Louis Lucerne had two goals, while senior midfielder Brendan White and junior attack Sam White scored one goal apiece.
The Mt. Lebanon girls lacrosse team's season ended with a 20-7 loss to the Garnet Valley Jaguars in a Division 1 semifinal at Cumberland Valley High School.
Mt. Lebanon coach Brian Kattan was upbeat about the team's near-magical 22-1 season.
"If anyone would have told us we'd finish at 22-1 with a WPIAL title, we'd have taken it," he said.
Garnet Valley jumped on the Blue Devils early, taking a 9-2 halftime lead.
The Jaguars (23-2) will meet the winner of the other final between Springfield (DelCo) and Great Valley for the state championship at noon Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium.
Senior attack Alyssa Battaglia scored four goals in her final game with the Blue Devils, while junior midfielder Allena Holzworth added three.
"We've never been this far," Kattan said. "After we won the WPIAL title, I told the girls I wanted to win one PIAA playoff game, and we won two.
"We lose six seniors, and only three of them started," he said.
"A lot of the younger girls got a lot of experience this year, and we'll be ready to go next season."