Quaker Valley tops Freeport to reach PIAA Class AA boys lacrosse playoffs

Friday, May 24, 2019 | 8:01 PM

The Freeport boys lacrosse team started the WPIAL Class AA playoffs as the No. 12 seed, but the Yellowjackets battled their way to an opportunity for a spot in the state playoffs.

The Yellowjackets, led by six goals from junior midfielder Garret Schaffhauser, pushed No. 3 Quaker Valley to the limit in the third-place consolation game Friday at Robert Morris.

But the Quakers, who got a half dozen goals from senior attacker Evan Frund, held off Freeport’s charge and came away with a 12-10 victory.

“We were a team of grit and determination all year,” Freeport coach Dave Riley said. “We didn’t give up and never stopped. They never thought they were out of a game.”

Quaker Valley, which played Friday’s game without four starters because of injury, improved to 12-4 on the season. The Quakers start the state tournament Tuesday against District 3 champion Hershey at a site and time to be determined.

“Freeport played an awesome game, and their goalie (Greg Smith) was fantastic,” Quaker Valley coach Chip Hansen said. “They were relentless, and that’s what carried them to this point in the playoffs. It was a little more of a challenge than we would’ve liked, but we dug deep to match and overcome that challenge.”

Quaker Valley and Freeport met for the first time this season.

The Yellowjackets, who finished their season at 9-9, upended No. 5 Chartiers Valley and No. 4 Moon in the first round and quarterfinals, respectively, before falling to top seed Mars in the semifinals.

“Winning this would’ve been an enormous step,” Riley said. “But we made a big step this season in bringing Freeport to the forefront of lacrosse. We’ve got some good athletes. We have guys who are committed to learning more about lacrosse. We’re ever trying to increase our lacrosse IQ.”

Riley said Frund and senior attacker David Kraus were the main focus of the Freeport defense.

In addition to Frund’s six goals, Kraus, an Allegheny College commit, added a hat trick to give him 49 goals on the season. His score with 7 minutes, 47 seconds left in the fourth extended Quaker Valley’s lead to 11-8, the largest advantage of the game for either team.

Senior Case Habertstroh scored his third of the game with 5:43 remaining, and Schaffhauser tallied his final goal at the 2:40 mark as Freeport pulled to within one.

Schaffhauser led the Yellowjackets with 13 goals over four playoff contests.

But Frund, a Capital University recruit, put an insurance goal on the board with 2:27 left.

Schaffhauser and Haberstroh put shots on goal in one final Yellowjackets push, but they were unable to get the ball past Quaker Valley keeper John Auth.

Smith, a senior in net for Freeport, recorded a number of athletic and point-blank saves to help keep Freeport in the game.

“Greg had one of his best games of the year when we needed it,” Riley said. “I talked about that with him to bounce back from the Mars game.”

Sean Fennell, a senior, scored for Freeport at 7:38 of the second, giving him 10 goals in the playoffs. The score put the Yellowjackets up 3-2. Less than a minute later, Haberstroh found the back of the net for a 4-2 Freeport advantage.

Quaker Valley then scored four of the final five goals of the half to lead 6-5 at the break.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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