Shady Side Academy boys lacrosse overcomes challenges during successful season

Saturday, June 10, 2023 | 11:01 AM

The Shady Side Academy boys lacrosse team knew there was no way Ethan Salvia’s production could be completely replaced. The Bulldogs standout and Marquette recruit tore his ACL during basketball season and was forced to miss his senior season on the lacrosse field.

However, Shady Side Academy coach Cam Thompson knew the Bulldogs would adjust the best they could.

“Ethan’s the type of player who is hard to replace,” Thompson said. “He’s the best passer we’ve had, and his vision is excellent. You will see that next year at Marquette. We were fortunate to have a number of kids who were freshmen and sophomores on the WPIAL title team last year that gained experience, and we were able to create things offensively.”

The Bulldogs, who play a notoriously tough out-of-WPIAL schedule, saw their season come to an end with a 14-11 loss to Manheim Central in the first round of the PIAA Class 3A playoffs June 6. The Bulldogs finished the season with a 9-13 record and were WPIAL runners-up, losing to Mt. Lebanon in the championship game.

Shady Side Academy entered the WPIAL playoffs as the No. 4 seed and beat Pine-Richland and Peters Township to reach the championship game.

“In the last six or seven years, we’ve played one of the more difficult schedules in Western Pa.,” Thompson said. “We challenge ourselves outside the WPIAL with the idea that we are going to play late into May and June. The kids understand the schedule will help prepare us for that.”

Against Manheim Central, the Bulldogs took a 7-5 lead into halftime. Shady Side just couldn’t keep the pace through all four quarters.

Seamus Riordan was one of the other players who stepped up and helped out with the attack for the Bulldogs.

“We did a good job of executing offensively,” Thompson said. “We had a lot of strong effort in possessions that turned into scoring opportunities (in the first half). After halftime, we got worn down. They had a lot of Division I talent, and we had a lot of missed possessions and ground balls in the second half. We ran out of gas in the fourth quarter.”

Despite missing Salvia, the Bulldogs were able to rely on another Marquette recruit, JP Henry. Henry set the Shady Side Academy record for goals in three seasons. He was denied a chance to add on to that number during his freshman season, which was wiped out by the covid pandemic.

“J.P. has good hands and he was able to learn how to be a better dodger this year,” Thompson said. “He doesn’t just catch and shoot. He’s able to create his own scoring opportunities.”


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