From the outside, Thursday’s Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association District 1 final looked like a chance for Ryan Goldstein to shine.
As the leader of Radnor’s attack, as a Cornell signee, as the scorer of the overtime game-winner that got Radnor through a tough semifinal battle, Goldstein is the straw that stirs the drink for Radnor’s attack. But in his mind, he’s just another cog in the attack.
Whichever point of view you choose, Goldstein and Radnor are a daunting squad, and the senior attackman is a big reason why.
Goldstein scored a goal and added seven first-half assists, leading Radnor to a 14-3 dismantling of Downingtown East in the Class AAA final Thursday. The Raptors start their state title defense tonight at 7 at home against District One No. 6 seed Central Bucks East.
“We’ve got a lot of guys that can do a lot of different things, so it’s good to come out here, and we came out ready to play,” Goldstein said. “I think everybody on offense was ready to play, and it showed.”
Orchestrating the offense
Radnor (19-2) has been all about scoring balance this season. Eight players with goals fit the bill again Thursday.
Junior Mason Montrella led the way with five, four of them set up by Goldstein. But otherwise, the attack operated as normal, with a variety of options. With Goldstein given free rein to operate behind the cage, he picked out passes and picked apart the Cougars.
Nick Lucchesi (Air Force) scored twice, the second on a swim move through traffic. Owen Knight added a pair of goals. Max Goldstein had a goal and an assist.
The battle between the top two seeds in the district was over just before halftime, when Knight’s second made it 10-2 with 3:06 until the break.
“Some people were open, but people were burying their shots,” Ryan Goldstein said. “Everyone was playing together. It wasn’t one guy dodging through 10 people; it was working toward the best possible shot, and that worked early. I think we hit most of our first shots, and just kept shooting and kept playing well together.”
A deep defense
The final 24 minutes weren’t exactly pressure-packed, but Radnor still posted a shutout after the break. Delaware junior commit Bryson Kolinsky scored twice in the first quarter, and faceoff man N.J. Cogliati scored six seconds after Knight’s second.
Otherwise, the Cougars had no answer, despite five man-up chances.
Going on the kill presents an unusual opportunity for Radnor: They’re one of the few teams with more than four starting-quality poles. They have a dedicated man-down defender in Sammy Carter to plug in, which allows them to rest their LSMs and rotate poles.
The result isn’t just stellar defending, but accountability for everyone in the unit and a constant reminder of the push that comes from behind you in the depth chart.
“In a game like this, it was a slower pace for our defense,” said junior Pablo Strid. “I think it was really good and helped us wake up. I think if we didn’t have situations like that, we could’ve been maybe slower on our feet at other times and I think it helps us out, keeps us on our toes.”
Strid scored a goal, picking up a GB near the cage and finishing. Carter nearly had another.
Lights-Out Raptors Defense
On the other end of the field, senior leader and NLF No. 52 ’22 Will Gallagher (Big 4 HHH / Notre Dame) marshalled the unit that includes two talented juniors – Strid and Luciano Chadha – plus sophomore Michael Savadove. Even the reserves kept the Cougars off the board in the second half of a rainy evening at Ridley High School.
“I think that our second-team defense guys do a really good job at the end of games like this where they can take the pressure off our first team guys and let us take a break,” Strid said. “They go in, they’re just as good and a great job. They didn’t let in any goals, and I think they had all their first offense guys in. We kept a great hold on the ship.”
That depth illustrates the process at Radnor. The Raptors are the reigning PIAA Class 3A champions. They graduated 15 players from that team, but came back this year to win the Central League – which earned five of the eight states berths for District 1 in both classes – and then districts.
It’s a new group that has cemented its unique legacy.
“It’s a big deal for us,” Ryan Goldstein said. “Coming out here, coming out to play after a tough game Tuesday night, we came out ready to play today. “
Radnor-Downingtown East Standouts
Ryan Goldstein ’23, attack, Radnor / Cornell
Goldstein was simply the best player on the field by a mile. His passing vision is next level, often snapping them off before the recipient knows he’s open. He had seven helpers, and it could’ve been more, minus a crease violation and a couple of open looks that his teammates couldn’t quite corral. Goldstein has shown to be the kind of guy that you have to lock off and take your chances 5-v-5 with the rest of the team. He plans to do a PG year next year and head to Cornell as a 2023.
Nick Lucchesi ’22, midfield, Radnor / Air Force
Lucchesi is so powerful that when he uses his elusiveness in tight spaces, it might come as a surprise. But he scored a tremendous goal parting through traffic after drawing a slide, using the strength to get off a shot while absorbing contact. Over the last two years, Radnor has been all about midfield depth, rolling three full lines, so Lucchesi’s numbers (26 goals, nine assists) don’t jump off the page. But he stepped up big in states last year and seems poised to do the same this year.
Pablo Strid ’23, defense, Radnor
You can watch Radnor five times and come away impressed with a different defenseman each time. They’re so interchangeable and so versatile in their skillsets. None of their top four of five guys is a liability in the open field or in coverage. To say Strid is a mobile option is true but so many of them are. Where Will Gallagher and Luciano Chadha seem to be the close specialists, Strid is one of those that lives in passing lanes, causing turnovers aplenty.
Bryson Kolinsky ’23, attack, Downingtown East / Delaware
There were few bright spots for the Cougars, as the scoreline indicates. But Kolinsky provided an early spark. He’s got an outstanding shot that he was able to bury twice early on. He’s mobile, works well of the ball and moves well in tight spaces with the ball to create openings, even against a top defense.
Brayden Quinn ’25, goalie, Downingtown East
Quinn came in for the second half and made some big saves. Granted, the margin was at that point nine goals. But Radnor’s top offense stayed on for the third quarter and had the ball for most of the frame. Yet Quinn came up with some big saves. He’s rangy and looks like a freshman, but his ability to stop point-blank shots was impressive.
Radnor 14, Downingtown East 3
Downingtown East 2 1 0 0 – 3
Radnor 5 7 1 1 – 14
Bryson Kolinsky ’23 (Delaware) 2 goals
N.J. Cogliati ’22 1 goal, 11-for-19 faceoffs
Evan Milon ’24 7 saves
Brayden Quinn ’25 5 saves
Mason Montrella ‘23 5 goals
Nick Lucchesi ’22 (Air Force) 2 goals
Owen Knight ’24 2 goals
Ryan Goldstein ’23 (Cornell) 1 goal, 7 assists
Max Goldstein ’23 1 goal, 1 assist
Jason Trosset ’22 (Franklin & Marshall) 1 goal
Pablo Strid ’23 1 goal
Colin French ’23 1 goal
Tommy DeShan ‘23 1 assist
Nate Brown ’22 2 saves