Bucks County Herald

New Hope sees light at the end of the tunnel

DAVID CAMPBELL

The New Hope-Solebury boys lost to Cheltenham by one on March 30 and to Conwell-Egan by two on April 24.

Flip those two results and the Lions would be 8-7, not 6-9 as they finished, and would have been in the hunt for a District One Class AA berth.

Not bad for a program that went 2-9 and didn’t win its first game until early May in 2016. New Hope posted the same record in 2015.

“Last year,” head coach Carl Corino said, “I had only 13 kids on varsity and half of those kids, who were either sophomores or juniors, had never even played the sport before. We really probably should have been a JV team more than anything.”

The schedule was tweaked. For example when the Lions went 3-15 in 2014, 10 Suburban One League (SOL) teams were on the schedule. This year, New Hope played six SOL foes and beat one, Truman, 14-4, on April 19.

“We really made a big change to our schedule to play more schools that are around our level,” said Corino, who just finished his third year as skipper.

Two of the Lions’ wins in 2017 came over Bicentennial Athletic League (BAL) rival Valley Forge Military Academy, which finished three spots ahead of New Hope in the final power rankings. The Lions were 19th.

“Another big difference,” Corino said, “other than playing competition that we could at least match up with on the field was the fact that, in our small little town, we are now in just our third year having a youth lacrosse program, which years ago didn’t exist. This was the very first year that we started to see the benefit of that.”

Of the 29 players on Corino’s roster this year, 12 were freshmen. And Corino expects to have just as many, if not more, freshmen suit up for him next year.

New Hope will lose only a handful of seniors to graduation. Among them are attackman Matt Firth, the Lions’ leading goal scorer this spring, and captain and midfielder Nolan Curran. Curran’s brother, Liam, a sophomore, and freshman Thomas Raup also scored a bunch of goals for New Hope.

“When I looked back at the book [from the second Valley Forge game on May 1], I had at least eight, nine guys who all scored in that game,” Corino said. “That says a lot about our team because a couple years ago that was not the case.”

Corino’s anchor is Derek Donohoe, a junior captain this past year.

“Overall, probably my most skilled player, my most knowledgeable player,” Corino said. “He’s our best defender; he also plays long stick middie because he’s able to tie up guys on faceoffs. He can suck up groundballs like a vacuum. He’s just so solid. He’s just a very, very smart player.”

In the future, Corino expects players like Donohoe, with oodles of experience, to be the norm, not the exception.

“I got to think it only gets better from here,” he said.

The District One Class AAA tournament got under way on Tuesday.

In boys’ action, 12th-seeded Central Bucks West survived a late push from No. 21 Boyertown to move on with a 7-6 victory. The Bucks led 7-3 heading to the fourth quarter. Joey Rockovich had a hat trick for CB West; Ben Sexauer scored a pair. The Bucks, who improved to 13-5, will travel to fifth-seeded Central Bucks East on Thursday for a second-round contest.

No. 14 Pennridge made history with its very first postseason win. The Rams downed 19th-seeded Unionville, 13-12, behind Nick Fanelli’s four goals and Kevin Britner’s hat trick. At 12-7, Pennridge will trek to No. 3 Conestoga on Thursday.

Twentieth-seeded Central Bucks South saw its 10-9 campaign come to an end at No. 13 Upper Dublin, 8-7. Dante Poli had a hat trick for the Titans.

The CB South girls (15-3), seeded 10th, escaped with a 7-6 triumph over No. 23 Downingtown West. The Titans will get seventh-seeded Abington on Thursday.

The 12th-seeded Pennridge girls were upset by No. 21 Methacton, 18-15. The Rams, who led 12-11 at the half, were paced by Jen Rodzewich (eight goals), Maddie Dachowski (four) and Grace Loughery (three).

Pennridge closed its campaign with a fine record of 14-5.

The CB East girls (12-7), seeded 15th, dropped their finale to No. 18 Great Valley, 20-8.

dcampbell@buckscountyherald.com

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