LEHMAN TWP. — “Last to first” is taking on multiple meanings for the Crestwood boys lacrosse team.
Within the strength-based divisional breakdown of the Wyoming Valley Conference, the Comets were technically a last-place team in the regular season.
But since the postseason began, they’ve become a first-place team in District 2 Class 2A and, now, the first Luzerne County boys team to win a PIAA state lacrosse tournament game.
Showing off a precision passing game right from the start, Crestwood opened a four-goal lead in the first quarter en route to a surprising, 11-4 romp over Lewisburg Tuesday night in an opening-round game at Lake-Lehman’s Eddie Edwards Stadium.
Freshmen Wyatt Malia and Anthony Caporuscio combined for six goals and five assists while Reed Karaska made 11 saves for the Comets, who finished fifth out of five teams in WVC Division 1, then beat three higher-seeded teams after entering the District 2 tournament as the fifth seed.
“We’re just working together as a team,” said Malia, who had two of the first three goals when the Comets were jumping in front, 4-0. “We just stuck together mentally and physically.
“We’ve been moving the ball and playing good defense.”
As a result, Crestwood is moving on to Saturday’s state quarterfinals against Lansdale Catholic, which defeated Eastern York, 14-8, Tuesday.
Malia finished with four goals and two assists. Caporuscio, who had three assists, and Anderson, who had one, each added two goals as the Comets attacked the Green Dragons from many different angles.
Lewisburg, the District 4 champion, had lost just once since falling in overtime at Crestwood in a non-league game April 22, but it’s the Comets who are the more improved team.
“The guys started to develop a chemistry,” Crestwood coach Brian Zabroski said. “Our attack and our offensive players have started to see each other more. They’re passing the ball. They’re trusting each other. We’re really good on groundballs between the wing lines.
“We’ve realized the power of possession in this game.”
With it, the Comets overpowered the Green Dragons early.
After Lewisburg held the ball for two minutes to start the game, Crestwood scored in under a minute, then began controlling the ball itself.
Caporuscio found Matt Tirpak at the left post and Tirpak sent it over to Malia on the opposite side for the game’s first goal.
Four players touched the ball in about four seconds on the transition game for the second goal with 7:10 left in the quarter. Malia passed to Owen Grigas, who immediately sent the ball to Caporuscio, who just as quickly set up Thomas Kulak’s goal.
From there, the Comets were off and running.
Whenever they needed help on the other end of the field, Karaska was up to the task, showing quick reactions and making several difficult saves while holding Lewisburg to a single goal in each quarter.
Crestwood 11, Lewisburg 4
Lewisburg `1 `1 `1 `1 `– `4
Crestwood 4` 2` `4 `1 ` —` 11
SCORING – LEWIS, Jack Spaulding (2 goals), Chase Keeley (goal, assist), Ethan Spaulding (goal), Michael Walling (assist). CREST, Wyatt Malia (4 goals, 2 assists), Anthony Caporuscio (2 goals, 3 assists), Zach Anderson (2 goals, assist), Matt Tirpak (goal, 2 assists), Thomas Kulak (goal), Justin McCloskey (goal), Owen Grigas (assist). Shots – LEWIS 25, CREST 23. Saves – LEWIS 7 (Coe Hutchinson, CREST 11 (Reed Karaska).