By Scott Johnston
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/5/10
Is there any boys’ team playing better lacrosse in the state of Pennsylvania right now than the Conestoga Pioneers?
In a word: No.
Ignited by a season-high five-goal performance from sophomore Tyler Brooke, the District 1 champs rolled to their 14th consecutive win by scoring early and often in cruising past District 11 champ Emmaus, 15-5, this afternoon in the quarterfinal round of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) playoffs at Harriton.
The Pioneers (22-2) advance to Tuesday’s semifinal round against Manheim Township at a site and time to be determined. Manheim Township, the District 3 runner-up, defeated Franklin Regional, 17-9. Emmaus ends its season at 16-8 after falling to Conestoga in the PIAA quarterfinals for the second year in a row at Harriton.
Manheim Township will have its hands full against the Pioneers, who have made it look easy in both of their state playoff games, outscoring their two opponents 32-7.
“Somebody is really going to have to play well to beat them,” said Emmaus coach Jef Hewlings. “And today, it wasn’t us.”
Brooke and Co. made sure of that.
Just 37 seconds into the game, the sophomore netted the first of his two goals in the period while junior midfielder Tanner Scott and senior attack Matt Smith added solo scores as the Pioneers jumped out to a similar 4-1 lead they held against the Hornets back on April 10. In that game, played at Conestoga, Emmaus rallied to tie the game at half before eventually falling 5-4 on Jeff Chu’s game-winning goal in the third period.
This time, there would be no comeback.
Conestoga scored the first four goals of the second period getting scores from Brooke, sophomore Connor Frisina, Scott and senior Pete Bowers to take a commanding 8-1 lead before Emmaus tallied its lone goal of the period with just 9.5 seconds remaining in the half on a Will Scott unassisted goal, his 39th of the season.
Brooke, who had a hat trick in the Pioneers 17-2 opening-round win over Hatboro-Horsham, bested his previous-season high of four goals against Lower Merion in the District 1 playoffs by adding a pair of goals in third period as Conestoga increased its lead to 11-4.
“Tyler just has the hot hand right now,” Pioneers coach Brian Samson said. “He really played at another level today. His ability to catch and shoot is tremendous.”
Smith, a Lehigh recruit, had two goals and a game-high three assists while Scott added a pair of first half goals. Senior Pete Zonino was solid between the pipes, picking up the victory with eight saves before giving way to junior John Lopes (two saves). Ryan Buttenbaum won 13 of 18 face-offs and fourteen different players had at least one point in the win for the Pioneers who moved one step closer to their ultimate goal.
“At the beginning of the year coach asked all of us to write down our goals and every single person on the team said they wanted to win the state championship,” said Brooke.
Emmaus also had those same goals entering this year but came up short after making it into quarterfinal round for the second year in row.
Hewlings, 51-16 in his three seasons with the Hornets, says goodbye to 13 seniors who have Emmaus win back-to-back Lehigh Valley Conference and District 11 titles
“It’s disappointing for them to end the season this way but when we sit down and explain to them what they’ve meant to the program we’re not going to focus on this game we’re going to focus on the body of work and the body of work is superior, ” said Hewlings whose seniors recorded an outstanding 66-21 in their four years. “We’re going to miss them.”
Emmaus will have four players move onto Division 1 programs: Tate Klidonas (Hartford), Mike Bender (Bellarmine), Ty Souders (Lehigh) and Ben Sampson (Navy). Four others – Will Scott (Dickinson), Derek Schmidt, Stephen Ward and TJ Doherty (all to Marywood) – head to Division III programs.
Conestoga 15, Emmaus 5
Conestoga 4-4-3-4 – 15
Emmaus 1-1-2-1- 5
Tyler Brooke 5g
Matt Smith 2g, 3a
Tanner Scott 2g, 1a
Connor Frisina 1g
Pete Bowers 1g
Jason Klunder 1g
Jeff Chu 1g
Kevin Rudd 1g
Gus Sturm 1g
Brian Dailey 1a
Bradlee Lord 1a
Ben Ross 1a
Mike Honebrink 1a
Robert Rose 1a
Pete Zonino 8 saves
John Lopes 2
Stephen Ward 2g
Will Scott 1g, 2a
Zach Schleicher 1g
Matt Toth 1g
Dan Kinek 1a
Joe Magargal, 7 saves
Tyler Sharesky, 3