ALTOONA — A metallic ding is a welcome sound to a goalie.
To the shooter? Not so much.
State College’s boys lacrosse team heard a few of these on Wednesday as the Little Lions struggled to score in an 11-4 loss to North Allegheny in the PIAA tournament.
It was the second time in a row the Little Lions were bounced from the first round of the PIAA tournament after they lost to Shady Side Academy last season. Much like in that loss, the Little Lions inability to rough up the opposing goalie with goals against led to their early demise.
“I think today we had a problem putting the ball in the net,” State College coach Jeff King said. “We came out in the second half and we were generating shots and we hit the pipe, we hit their goalie and their goalie made a couple of nice saves. We just could not get the ball in the back of the net for one reason or another.”
When State College did score their tallies came few and far between.
Gavin Rallis led State College with two goals while Brady Franks and Luc Michael each scored on North Allegheny keeper John Brandon who turned aside the other eight shots that found their way to his crease.
Nick Chambers and Ryan Goeke added assists for the Little Lions.
But North Allegheny was up to the scoring challenge. The Tigers got goals from seven different players. Kyle Rolland led North Allegheny with his hat trick while Joe Griffin and Stephen Kelleher each added a pair of markers.
“They did a nice job,” King said. “The difference in skill level, their guys being able to get through our initial checks and shoot through our sticks, they were able to dodge very well and just shoot through checks pretty good.”
After finding themselves down 7-2 at the half, victims of crafy cuts to the cage by North Allegheny attackers, the Little Lions only saw opportunities to be had in the second half.
“We were thinking that, ‘We’ll come back,’” King said. “And right away we generated two great shots and we just didn’t put the ball in the back of the net. As the game started to unfold, they got a couple of quick goals and we were playing from behind too much and we just weren’t able to push the tempo that we would’ve liked to play at.”
It marked the final high school game for 13 State College seniors, most of which have been around for a long time.
“I think we had a pretty good season,” King said. “I know the score isn’t going to reflect how hard they played today because I think actually, I had parents come down after the game and say ‘They probably weren’t that much better than us’ as the score indicated. ... They’re a great group of kids. They worked hard.”
It also closed out State College’s first season as a member of the Mid-Penn Conference, a league in which King feels his team raised it’s awareness level.
“We were able to have some teams take notice that we were there and we were competitive within the league,” King said. “They came a long way from the beginning of the year.”