Springdale coach Paul Palo credits a good portion of his team’s attack to the instincts and natural talent among an experienced group of midfielders and forwards.
Led by junior Billy Lawrence, that talent was on full display in their WPIAL Class A playoff opener Tuesday night.
Lawrence had a hat trick and two assists to help the sixth-seeded Dynamos earn a 5-1 win over No. 11 Carlynton on Tuesday night at Burrell.
“This feels amazing,” Lawrence said. “I’ve been playing with a lot of these guys since I was 4. Growing up with them and being around them all the time and coming from a small town … these guys are my brothers. To help them win and keep the seniors’ season going is amazing.”
The Dynamos controlled possession throughout most of the first half and prodded the Carlynton defense, leading to several close calls, but Carlynton keeper Pouya Khalil Ahmad was sharp.
Springdale broke through when Lawrence fired a shot from the top of the box that hit the shin guard of teammate Bret Overly before hitting the back of the net with just over seven minutes remaining in the first half.
“(Carlynton) brings a lot of speed forward and puts balls in the air that we have to settle down, which is the opposite of the game we’re trying to play,” Palo said. “We want to bring it to the floor and move it our way. We felt them out and it took a little bit, but once we finally got one, we were able to build confidence and build off that in general with some good combinations.”
Lawrence provided another boost just before halftime, scoring in the final minute from the left side after a nice pass from Nate Dubas.
“The first goal was an anger goal,” Lawrence said. “I had a breakaway I didn’t convert about a minute before that, so I figured I’d take my anger out on the ball. I smashed it as hard as I could, and luckily it went into the back of the net.”
Carlynton pushed back early in the second half and generated a couple of chances in Springdale’s box, but it did not record a shot on target.
Springdale put the game away with goals just over a minute apart midway through the second half.
Chris Mitchell got the first tally off a feed from Lawrence. Then Lawrence got his second, which was set up by Dubas.
Lawrence scored his third goal off a pass from John Fitzgerald with 7:12 remaining. He had to fight off three defenders in the box but used some nifty footwork to create some space and put a shot on target.
Ryan Lewis scored on a penalty kick at 6:56 for Carlynton to spoil the shutout.