Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/25/11
Zach Keller and Jake Henze helped make sure that an overwhelmingly successful summer ended in style for the Twist U15A boys¹ lacrosse team.
Keller snapped a tie game with a goal from 10 yards out with three minutes to play as Twist defeated the Philly Fever, 5-3, in the championship game of the Patriot Games U15A tournament at Herbst Field Sunday afternoon. Jack Auteri sealed it with a little over a minute left after Keller had given Twist the lead for good.
Twist defeated the Long Island Outlaws, 5-4, in the semifinal round. After building a 4-0 halftime lead, Twist saw the Outlaws cut it to 4-3 in the final two minutes before Henze caused a turnover and cashed in an insurance goal that was gigantic after Long Island scored again.
Twist finished the season with a 27-4 record and won four of the six tournaments it entered while reaching the final of one of the other two. The core group of players on the team ran its record over the last two summers to 51-8.
The Patriot Games were played in sweltering temperatures Saturday, when Twist defeated the Indy Green Machine, 8-1, a 22-2 Prime Time team from Westchester, 8-3, and the Outlaws, 7-1, to reach Sunday¹s playoff round.
The semifinal was a rematch from 19 hours earlier, and it looked like there would be a similar result when Grant Ament scored twice and Henze and Ben Bala scored once each to make it 4-0 at the break. The Outlaws stormed back, scoring three straight to make it a one-goal game and then having two possessions down a goal, the second of which ended with Henze¹s strip and goal.
The Fever, who rallied from a 4-1 halftime deficit to defeat the Long Island Jr. Lizards in the other semifinal, scored first in the championship game, but Twist tied it with a Craig Coleman goal and then took the lead when Michael Major picked up an errant pass at the midline and took it in from there. The lead became 3-1 on a Zach Drake goal after Auteri won the face-off.
The Fever didn¹t go away, though, tying it midway through the second half. Each team had three possessions after that, and Twist finally snapped the tie when Ament zipped a pass to Keller, who bounced one into the corner of the goal.
Ament led Twist in the five games of the Patriot Games with 14 points (6G, 8A), while Bala also scored six goals. Drake had seven points (2G, 5A), while Auteri, Henze and Matt Vetter scored four goals each. Auteri also won 32 of 42 face-offs and had 28 ground balls. Matt Anderson led the team with nine caused turnovers.
For the season, Auteri won 198 of 282 face-offs, an astonishing .702 percentage. He also had 189 ground balls, which was 127 more than thenext-best total on the team, as well as 20 goals, four assists and 22 caused turnovers.
Connor Howell led the team with 37 goals and 56 points, while Drake led the team in assists with 33 and was second in points with 54. Bala¹s 27 goals were second-best on the team, while Ament finished with 25 goals and 27 assists.
Nick Lawlor led the team with 32 caused turnovers and was second in ground balls with 62, while Anderson had 31 caused turnovers. Matt Eckles and Greg Price combined for a 3.28 goals-against average.
The players on the team all finished eighth grade this past year and will now head to, among other high schools, Central Bucks East, Archbishop Wood, Pennsbury, Holy Ghost Prep, La Salle, Haverford School, Chestnut Hill Academy, Central Bucks South and Governor Mifflin.
Brian Vetter was the team¹s head coach, while Steve Henze and Brad Ament were his assistant coaches.