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Palmyra boys lax rolls into district semifinals

Earlier this week, the Palmyra boys' lacrosse team was seeking its first ever district playoff win. After a first round win on Tuesday and Thursday's 14-3 District 3 Class 2A quarterfinal victory over Cocalico, the Cougars will get a chance at a state playoff victory as well.

Palmyra (20-1), the No. 1 seed in the tournament, will have other business to take care of first. The Cougars will play Eastern York in the district semifinals on Tuesday at a site and time to be announced. Eastern York beat Trinity 12-10.

Thursday's quarterfinal started at a quick pace. Each team already had a dangerous shot in the first 30 seconds of action, and while neither of them found the back of the net, many that followed did.

Kyle Nolen scored two of his five goals in the first period, helping Palmyra to a 6-1 lead over the Eagles (12-8). Grant Haus scored twice in the opening quarter as well. Nate Hawkins and Ethan Gain also scored early.

“We were moving the ball well,” Palmyra head coach Dave Ondrusek said. “We were getting quick passes and opening up opportunities.”

Cocalico goalie Ben Puodziunas made four saves early in the second quarter to keep the game fairly close, but the Eagles were unable to get past Palmyra netminder Anthony Bressi in that time either. With 6:24 left in the half, Haus scored his third goal for a 7-1 lead, and Cocalico never was closer than five goals ever again.

“It does change in some aspects,” Ondrusek said of playing with a big lead early. “You can't let the other team back in it. But you don't want to lose sight of your game plan. … Even if you get up by a lot, you never lose focus. You can't become complacent.”

Nolen added his third and fourth goals in the last three minutes of the second quarter to make the advantage 9-2 entering halftime.

The pace slowed down in the second half, though Peter Robertson scored in both the third and fourth periods for the Cougars. Caleb Hawkins scored midway through the third, Nolen had his fifth goal just 46 seconds into the fourth quarter, and Gain picked up his second to close out the scoring.

“We executed the game plan, though we got a little sloppy in the second half,” Ondrusek said. “We didn't take care of the ball well enough.”

Nolen, Robertson and Alec Richard had two assists each for the Cougars.

Palmyra generated 52 shot attempts, while Cocalico had 21.

Bressi made five saves, while Puodziunas had 18.

Palmyra's 19-5 win over Spring Grove on Tuesday was the first district playoff win in program history.

Palmyra 14, Cocalico 3

Cocalico 1 1 1 0 — 3

Palmyra 6 3 2 3 — 14

Away goals (assists) — Owen Zimmerman 1(0), Noah Palm 2(1), Nicholas Horbst 0(1)                  
Home goals (assists) — Kyle Nolen 5 (2), Grant Haus 3(1), Nate Hawkins 1(0), Ethan Gain 2(0), Caleb Hawkins 1(0), Peter Robertson 2(2), Alec Richard 0(2), Kyle Wasilewski 0(1)      ,  
Shots on goal  — Cocalico 8, Palmyra  32
Goalie Saves — Cocalico Ben Puodziunas 18​ ​ ​. Palmyra Anthony Bressi 5​ ​ ​.