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 BY JEFF FALK

 MECHANICSBURG – There is a difference between right and wrong.

 There is a difference between fair and unfair.

 There is a difference between losing something and having it taken away from you.

 One could never have imagined something like this happening, especially in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association postseason. And if the response is ‘that’s the rule’, then the rule must be changed.

 On a moist Tuesday night at Mechanicsburg’s Memorial Stadium, the Palmyra boys’ lacrosse team’s spectacular season was shockingly ended by one of the most controversial decisions in the history of Lebanon County scholastic sports. The Cougars were declared losers when their opening round game of the PIAA Class AAA playoffs with Mount Lebanon was suspended by lightning and then not resumed.

 At the time of the inclement weather, 9:02 showed on the fourth-quarter clock and Palmyra trailed Mount Lebanon 10-9. After the teams were escorted to their respective locker rooms, game officials waited an hour for the thunderstorm to pass, before declaring the contest official and Mount Lebanon the winner.

 The game was called at 9:50 p.m.

 The decision was met first with disbelief and anger by members of the Palmyra coaching staff and players, then sadness and grief. Up until last night, the Cougars had put together one of the most successful boys’ lacrosse seasons in the history of Lebanon County athletics.

 Palmyra head coach Dave Ondrusek promised to appeal the decision to the PIAA.

 “We lost,” said Ondrusek, with a blank stare. “It was a decision made by the referees. The thinking was we would be able to start the game again. But by rule, they can call the game at the end of three quarters.

 “You would think it has to be a complete game,” continued Ondrusek. “But they’re saying it can end. There is some discrepency. We’re going to make our appeal.”

 As it stands now, the outcome ended District Three champion Palmyra’s campaign at 20-3. During the season, the Cougars also captured Keystone Division and Mid-Penn Conference championships.

  The season-ending result ended Palmyra’s 13-game win streak.

 Mount Lebanon, the runner-up from District Seven, improved to 14-7 overall. Mount Lebanon is a suburb of Pittsburgh, a three-hour drive from Mechanicsburg.

 “I’ve never seen anything like this in the state playoffs,” said Ondrusek. “If it had been a blow-out, I could understand. But there’s nine minutes left and it’s 10-9 – and we had the ball in a man-up situation.

 “They (his players) wanted to finish the game,” Ondrusek continued. “They were looking forward to finishing the game. For some of these guys, it’s their senior year. We wanted the game to resume and to go out and win it.”

  Palmyra trailed most of the way, after the Blue Devils notched the contest’s first three goals. But neither side could fully capture the momentum, and the score was tied on four different occasions.

 The final time came at nine-all, 1:06 into the fourth quarter, on a goal by the Cougars’ Seth Robertson. With the electric weather approaching, the Blue Devils’ John Sramac scored what would prove to be the decisive goal, with 10:17 showing on the fourth-quarter clock.

 “We thought we had a pretty good chance of winning this game,” said Ondrusek. “In my opinion, no, this game should not have been started. No one could’ve envisioned this happening.”

 Down 7-5 early in the third period, Palmyra got a pair of goals from T.J. Caton 1:45 apart to tie the score. The Cougars knotted the score again at eight on a Kyle Wasilewski-to-Andrew Ward give-and-go three minutes later.

 But Ryan Kosmer gave Mount Lebanon a 9-8 edge, on a tally with 15 seconds left in the third quarter.

 “We probably didn’t play the way we wanted to play,” said Ondrusek. “Their goalie (Tucker Welsh) was good. We had chances to make things happen. But they (the Blue Devils) played very good defense.”

 Goals by Wasilewski and Caton in the middle of the opening stanza pulled Palmyra to within 3-2 of the lead. And a spectacular Grant Haus goal – a flip behind his head as he was going past the net – 1:42 into the second period tied the game at four.

 But Mount Lebanon enjoyed a 6-5 edge at the break.

 “It’s hard to do,” said Ondrusek, when asked to put into words the kind of season the Cougars had. “We had a tremendous season. It was just outstanding. It was fabulous for all these guys. I can’t say enough about the seniors.”

 

 

 

 

 

 To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com, or to view more go to https://lebanonsportsbuzz.com/photo-gallery/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2019 Palmyra Boys’ Lacrosse Results

Date Opponent Result
3/2210:30p
Location: State College High School
(W) 16 – 3
3/2511:00p
Location: Hempfield High School
(L) 15 – 12
3/264:15p
Location: Palmyra High School
(W) 17 – 3
3/294:15p
Location: Palmyra High School
(W) 16 – 14
4/38:15p
Location: Palmyra High School
(W) 18 – 2
4/54:15p
Location: Carlisle High School
(W) 17 – 9
4/610:00a
Location: Palmyra High School
(W) 17 – 2
4/94:15p
Location: Palmyra High School
(W) 17 – 3
4/128:15p
Location: Palmyra High School
(L) 14 – 9
4/157:00p
Location: Hershey High School
(W) 11 – 4
4/174:15p
Location: Cedar Cliff High School
(W) 19 – 3
4/237:00p
Location: Trinity High School
(W) 16 – 9
4/258:15p
Location: Palmyra High School
(W) 19 – 0
4/2710:00a
Location: Palmyra High School
(W) 11 – 9
4/2911:00p
Location: Palmyra High School
(W) 19 – 3
5/28:15p
Location: Central Dauphin High School
(W) 14 – 5
5/36:30p
Location: Bishop McDevitt High School
(W) 18 – 2
5/75:30p
Location: Mechanicsburg High School
(W) 18 – 3
5/99:30p (W) 16 – 11
5/167:00p (W) 13 – 8
5/217:00p
Game Details: District 3 Semi-final
(W) 9 – 8
5/239:00a
 
(W) 8 – 7
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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