Future remains bright for Shady Side boys lacrosse after WPIAL championship loss

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Saturday, June 5, 2021 | 11:33 AM


Shady Side Academy coach Cam Thompson and the Bulldogs boys lacrosse team set their expectations high every year.

WPIAL championship or bust.

Whether the team had just lost a season due to the coronavirus pandemic didn’t matter, Thompson and his team had their eyes set on WPIAL gold and they came within a few inches of capturing their first title since 2014 this season.

Trailing North Allegheny 9-6 in the late moments of the WPIAL Class 3A championship game, Shady Side Academy sophomore Ethan Salvia, who was voted the WPCLA Class 3A player of the year after scoring 49 goals and dishing out 39 assists, put the Bulldogs on his back.

He scored Shady Side’s first goal of the second half at the 5:20 mark of the fourth quarter, then scored his fifth goal of the game 40 seconds later.

Over the next 4 1/2 minutes, Salvia ripped four or five shots that came within inches of finding the back of the net as North Allegheny employed a zone defense that kept the top-seeded Bulldogs’ offense quiet for a majority of the game.

In the end, the Tigers pulled out the 9-8 victory.

“We were proud of the group in the way that we competed,” Thompson said. “It wasn’t the result that we expected. It wasn’t the result that we had planned for, but I was proud of the way with how hard we played. I would say that it wasn’t a game that we felt we played particularly well, and that’s a credit to (coach) John Rullan and the North Allegheny team. They did what they needed to do.”

Although they lost, the Bulldogs still punched their ticket to the PIAA playoffs and earned a matchup with District 3 champion Wilson.

Shady Side fell behind early and could never really get back into the game, and Wilson pulled away for a 12-6 victory.

“It was a long bus trip, we were missing a handful of guys that played key roles for us, and I think it’s always difficult for high school athletes, after losing a game like we did to North Allegheny the week prior, to turn around and have the spark and the energy to go out and play a good Wilson team,” Thompson said. “Our guys battled hard.”

Shady Side Academy finished the season with an overall record of 14-5 and outscored opponents 286-164. Before their loss to North Allegheny, the Bulldogs hadn’t lost to a WPIAL team all season.

“I thought our boys responded well and I think it showed how much they enjoyed playing this game and competing with one another,” Thompson said. “I thought that was a huge factor with how we responded throughout the entire season this year after giving up a season a year ago.”

The Bulldogs will be back as they’ll have plenty of talent returning next season. Salvia will be the headliner, but fellow sophomore JP Henry, an all-WPIAL selection who scored 67 goals and tallied 18 assists, will also be coming back.

Junior long stick midfielder Thompson Lau, who had 118 ground balls and 67 caused turnovers this year, will also be back along with junior Will Badeer, who scored 24 goals and added 42 assists. Both Lau and Badeer were all-WPIAL selections.

Freshmen Mac Mohn and goaltender Nick Anderson also played valuable minutes for the Bulldogs this year.

“Bringing back players who had a lot of contribution this year, as well as leaders like Thompson Lau and Andy Marous, I think that our future is bright going into 2022,” Thompson said. “The standards and expectations don’t change.”

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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