Scranton Edges Catholic in Landmark Semifinals

SCRANTON, Pa.-Senior Patrick Cefalu (East Islip, N.Y./East Islip) didn't score a goal in Scranton's 12-9 victory over Catholic in the semifinals of the Landmark Conference tournament Wednesday afternoon at Fitzpatrick Field.

And yet he's a major reason why the Royals will be making their second Landmark title appearance in four years.

Cefalu, a preseason honorable mention all-American by Inside Lacrosse magazine, won 17 of 25 face-off attempts and kept Scranton in control throughout the afternoon as the Royals won their third straight game to improve to 9-7.

Scranton will now meet top-seeded Goucher, which defeated Susquehanna, 11-3, in the other semifinal game this Saturday in Towson, Maryland, with the winner receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

Sophomore attacker Taylor Nelson (Chester Springs, Pa./Downingtown East) led the Royals with three goals and an assist, junior midfielder Mike Rufo (Broomall, Pa./Haverford School) scored three times, and junior attacker Daniel Slade (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East) had two goals and an assist.

Scranton, which held a commanding 41-24 advantage in shots and a 46-38 margin in ground balls, also received a goal and three assists from freshman John Gregitis (Wayne, Pa./St. Joseph Preparatory), a goal each from senior attacker Thomas Alati (Glen Ridge, N.J./Montclair Kimberly) and sophomore defender Tim Cleary (Shrewsbury, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy), and two assists from senior attacker Sean Coleman (Philadelphia, Pa./Roman Catholic).

Senior midfielder Jimmy Sinnott (Blue Bell, Pa./LaSalle) and freshman attacker Brendan Englert (Fayetteville, N.Y./Fayetteville-Manlius) led Catholic, now 11-6, with two goals apiece and junior midfielder Chris Fuccillo (Patchogue, N.Y./St. John the Baptist) and junior midfielder Tyler Catalani (Frederick, Md./St. John's Preparatory) finished with a goal and an assist apiece.

In what was expected to be a close affair, especially after the Royals pulled out a 12-10 win over Catholic in last

Saturday's regular-season finale at Cardinal Stadium in Washington, D.C., Scranton came up with two key scoring surges, one fueled by back-to-back goals by Rufo within a 40-second span in the second period and the other by Rufo and Cleary within a 14-second span in the third.

Rufo's two goals in the second period extended a 5-4 lead to 7-4 by intermission and his and Cleary's goal in the third period turned the momentum back in Scranton's favor after the Cardinals opened the third period with goals by Englert and Fuccillo to shave the lead to one.

Nevertheless, Catholic did manage to cut the gap to two twice more, but Nelson's goal off an assist from Gregitis took the wind out of the Cardinals' sails with 4:50 left in the fourth period. Two minutes later, the Royals added an insurance goal as Alati scored on an extra-man opportunity off a picture-perfect pass from senior attacker J.P. Barton (N. Brunswick, N.J./St. Joseph Metuchen).

Scranton's back line of seniors Stephen Bruestle (Holland, Pa./Archbishop Wood) and John McShea (Strafford, Pa./St. Joseph Preparatory) and freshman Ryan Saraceni (Lansdale, Pa./LaSalle) also played a key role in today's win. With sophomore goalkeeper Ben Worthington (Jenkintown, Pa./Archbishop Wood) making just his second start of the season, Bruestle, McShea and Saraceni combined for six caused turnovers and never allowed the Cardinals' high-scoring front line of Englert, Sinnott and Fuccillo, each of whom has scored well over 30 goals this year, to establish any type of rhythm.

Worthington finished with seven saves while his counterpart, junior Sean McKenna (Rockville, Md./Good Counsel), had 14 for the Cardinals.

During the regular season, Scranton handed Goucher its only conference loss, 9-8 in overtime, on Saturday, April 23, at Fitzpatrick Field. In the Royals' first trip to the Landmark finals, on May 2, 2009, Scranton lost an 8-6 decision to the Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York.


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