Pine-Richland boys lacrosse soaks up WPIAL title experience

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Friday, May 31, 2019 | 9:03 PM


The Pine-Richland boys lacrosse team left little doubt as to which WPIAL Class AAA team was the best this year after toppling Mt. Lebanon, 12-5, to win the program’s first title last Friday at Robert Morris.

The score was a solid indicator of the team’s eminence, but it still took the cold jolt of an ice bath for it all to set in for Rams coach Kevin Welty.

“Are you kidding? I think it was a little surreal for me, personally. But then, the Gatorade shower, that sort of made it real for me and I realized, okay, we really just won this thing,” Welty said.

“You’re so focused on the actual game itself while it’s happening. I think from start to finish, we just had fun on Friday night. The whole experience was just amazing. From start to finish, we had a blast and it was just a great night for everyone involved.”

Welty’s team was stellar from start to finish against Mt. Lebanon. From longstick midfielder Jon Scherer’s goal in the opening seconds of the contest, described by Welty as “an absolute bomb,” to Dayne Goltz’s first-quarter buzzer-beating goal, to Dane Dowiak’s multi-score performance, it all went according to script for the Rams.

Yet it wasn’t just the offensive attack that shined. The team’s defense may have gone unnoticed to many, but coach Welty said it played a key role in the championship victory. Specifically, he pointed to Scherer and senior Reis Ravotti, who stepped up to help put the clamps on Mt. Lebanon’s John Sramac, who has scored more than 100 goals in his WPIAL career.

“We had four or five guys that had the game of their life in that game, and that’s not hyperbole,” Welty said.

“Jon Scherer was just a complete weapon in that game. And Reis Ravotti, the job he did covering John Sramac from Mt. Lebanon, it was great. We game planned for him all week, and we gave that assignment to Reis and he just did a fantastic job against him. It all starts with the defensive crew.”

Welty said the catalyst for the Rams’ championship-game performance came just weeks ago.

“I would say the key for us, and the key difference between last year’s team and this year’s team, is that when we lost to North Allegheny in the regular-season finale, the boys were hungry and they were just absolutely committed to going back to work and doubling down on their effort,” Welty said.

“I’m telling you, it continued into the postseason. They had one of their hardest practices of the year the day before the WPIAL championship game. They just continued to trust each other and the coaching staff. They always bought in.”

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