DALLAS — Dallas goalkeeper George Pfieffer’s first save in the PIAA District 2 lacrosse semifinals came on an off-hand, stick-side shot from Scranton Prep’s Mario Guillorn late in the first quarter.
But as it turned out, that was only the opening act of a memorable performance.
Pfieffer was sensational between the pipes and finished with 27 saves to lead the second-seeded Mountaineers past the Cavaliers, 8-5, at Dallas High School on Tuesday evening. With the win, Dallas will face top seed Delaware Valley in the district championship on Thursday.
“George played lights-out,” Dallas head coach Chris Hampel said. “We knew we had to get a big game out of him, and we got a huge game out of him.”
The Mountaineers (17-1) gave their goalkeeper an early lead with goals from JT Carey and Jesse Goode during the first two minutes of the game. Goode finished with a pair of tallies, including the eventual game-winner.
Prep (13-2) quickly responded as Anthony Osticco fed Mike Morrissey for a one-timer left of cage less than a minute later.
But then, Pfieffer took over. The senior made three saves in the closing seconds of the quarter to keep the lead, and he shut the Cavaliers out for the rest of the first half.
Pfieffer said that initial flurry gave him the confidence he needed throughout the rest of the game.
“I think it was just the fact of playoffs,” Pfieffer said,”and we knew this was going to be a tough team to beat. I just had to step up and make the plays I had to.”
Meanwhile, the Mountaineer attack built a 7-1 advantage with a five-goal run featuring five different scorers.
Two came on transition opportunities that started deep in Dallas’ own territory. The others resulted from timely cuts and crisp passing around the Prep net.
“We just came out hot and we came to play,” said Dallas’ Omar Nijmeh, who finished with three assists. “We had that mentality to go get it. Get the W.”
The Cavaliers mounted a charge with four goals in the second half, including three from attack Mike Morrissey.
However, Pfieffer wouldn’t let them get any closer. He made 9 saves in the final quarter, including one on a final desperation shot from Morrissey in the closing seconds.
Pfieffer even showed his offensive touch by leading a Mountaineer rush and picking up an assist on Brenden Baloh’s insurance goal with 5:26 remaining.
Nijmeh called his goalkeeper the “backbone” of the team and said he always gives the the Mountaineers a chance to win.
Pfieffer is hoping to do the same on Thursday against Delaware Valley, which remained undefeated after knocking off Crestwood in the second semifinal. Although he said this game was one of his best all season, he hopes to turn in an even better performance against the Warriors.
“Fourth time playing (Delaware Valley), and I don’t want to come back with a second-place medal again,” Pfieffer said. “We’ll see how it goes. One step at a time”
Dallas 8, Scranton Prep 5
SCORING — SP, Mike Morrissey (4g); Mario Guillorn (1g); Joseph Campolieto (2a) Chris O’Brien (1a); Anthony Osticco (1a). DAL, Brenden Baloh (2g, 1a); Jesse Goode (2g); JT Carey (2g); Connor Mottley (1g); Logan Brace (1g) Omar Nijmeh (3a); George Pfieffer (1a).
Shots — SP 41; DAL 20. Saves — SP 8 (Mike Golden); DAL 27 (George Pfieffer).