Springfield Raring To Tackle Episcopal

Posted: May 25, 1992

Springfield senior midfielder Steve Stupka didn't learn most of his lacrosse moves from a videotape. Or a how-to book.

He learned them by watching a master at work, copying his moves and incorporating them into his game. Nothing strange there, you say. Well, the player he borrowed from is not a college all-American or a pro box lacrosse player.

It's one of his own teammates, Springfield senior all-American Greg Campbell.

"I've been playing since sixth grade, and most of what I learned about playing lacrosse was from watching him and copying what he did," Stupka said in the afterglow of Springfield's 10-3 victory over Lower Merion in Friday's state semifinal game. With the victory, the Cougars (23-0), the top-ranked team in the state, will meet No. 2 Episcopal Academy in a dream matchup for the state championship Wednesday night at Marple Newtown.

A major reason that the Cougars are in the state championship is Stupka, who scored 2 goals and added 3 assists. With the score tied, 1-1, after one quarter, Stupka took over the game.

The Cougars scored 4 consecutive goals in the quarter, and Stupka played a role in all 4 with 2 goals, both on assists from Campbell, and 2 assists as the Cougars took a 5-1 halftime lead. They cruised from there.

Once again, the Cougars' offensive attack was balanced. Frank Collova had 2 goals, and Greg Campbell added a goal and 4 assists, giving him 48 goals and 104 assists this season.

While Springfield was impressive, so was defending state champion Episcopal Academy (15-1). The Churchmen, who have scored 46 goals in their last three games, rolled to an 8-1 halftime lead on their way to a 13-3 pasting of Malvern Prep in Friday night's other semifinal. The Churchmen feature two-time all-America goaltender Brian Dougherty, who recently accepted a full scholarship to the University of Maryland.

Minutes after toppling Malvern, Dougherty was already thinking of Springfield: "We seem to have hit our peak at the right time. Our offense is playing great, and our defense is holding on. They're a very good team, but I think we can beat them." His coach, John Wynne, was making only one prediction, that it would be a great game. "It's going to be a barn burner," Wynne said.

"Balls will be flying up and down the field. We're an uptempo team, and they're an uptempo team. Anyone who comes to the game won't be shortchanged."

Springfield players talked afterward about wanting to play Episcopal. About how they wouldn't really feel like state champions unless they could test themselves against Episcopal. And Dougherty.

"The key to our whole season will be whether or not we can beat Dougherty," Springfield all-America defenseman Tom Slate said. "He's so good, it's sick. But their defense is young, so we're hoping that our attack can take advantage of them. It'll be great matchup. It's the game people have been waiting for."

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