By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/7/13
The joy of knocking off a fellow undefeated team and doing it in the spotlight of the Relentless Cup was indeed a sense of pride for the Avon Grove boys’ lacrosse team Saturday afternoon at Ridley High.
But the Red Devils, now 6-0, took more out of their 6-4 victory over Ridley than just a win over the Central League power.
“It means a whole lot to us,” said Avon Grove junior goalie Will Schreiner, who was a standout with 13 saves. “Probably less than 10 years ago Avon Grove wasn’t on the (lacrosse) map.
“To be invited to an event like this, it’s heartwarming for everybody.”
The Devils tackled their invitation to the Relentless Cup as strong as they have worked to earn a 6-0 start. They worked with youth programs, parents, their girls’ team, and other volunteers to raise $1,078 to donate to the HEADstrong Foundation.
The check from Avon Grove’s lacrosse program was presented after the game to HEADstrong President Cheryl Colleluori and her family in honor of Nick “HEAD” Colleluori, the former Ridley great who passed away in 2006 after a 9-month fight with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
The game was part of an all-day lacrosse festival in Nick’s honor. The Ridley girls’ team defeated Avon Grove, 13-5, and Hofstra, where Nick was playing when he passed, toppled St. Joseph’s, 13-1, in the men’s Division I game played under the lights.
Also Saturday, four boys’ youth lacrosse programs, including Ridley, where Nick grew up playing, competed all day.
Avon Grove coach Eric Jackson was proud of the Avon Grove commitment to service and dedication to the cause of the HEADstrong Foundation.
“Just everybody involved in the Avon Grove community, from youth to the girls’ team, was awesome,” he said. “The people in the community, and a couple key parents worked to get this done.
“We believe in the cause and we try to do community service. We want to be a classy program; it’s the right thing to do.”
The game? Yes, it was a big game.
Avon Grove dominated the first period, seizing a 3-0 lead, and then stretched it to 5-0 before halftime. As Matt King scored twice and Schreiner, a Penn State commit, stuffed any Ridley offense.
Burt the Green Raiders (4-1) rebounded and began to take the momentum after Lou Harrison and Kelton Heverly scored late in the half.
Ridley pulled within 5-3 on a goal by Brian Sinex early in the third quarter, but Tanner Peck (one goal, one assist) scored with 8:53 to play in the period.
The Raiders did get within 6-4 late in the quarter on a tally by Mike Crowley, but Avon Grove’s defense tightened a little more and Schreiner made several more keys stops in the final quarter.
Also scoring for the Devils were Beau Kush, Stephen Cyron and Joey Malone.
“I think we have the potential to be great, as you saw today,” said Schreiner. “But there are bumps in the road, so we want to be the best we can be.
“This definitely gives us a lot of confidence. We have a lot of work to do, but this makes us feel good about ourselves, that we can pull off a win like this.”
Jackson agreed that the season is long.
“We try not to get too high on ourselves or too low,” he said. “It’s about being consistent; that’s been our mantra this year, to get better every game.
“Ridley is a tough team and it was a good battle. Obviously, we started off well and they came back. That’s what you have to do in this sport, manage the runs. When you have a great goalkeeper it certainly helps.”
Ridley’s Heverly was disappointed in the loss, but happy with the way his team fought back from the early deficit.
“This event means a lot to us at Ridley,” said Heverly, a midfielder who has signed with Mount St. Mary’s. “We always want to come out and play ‘Relentless’ lacrosse like Nick did.
“It’s shame we didn’t win, they came out strong and we did come back, but couldn’t quite catch up. I know he (Nick) was looking down and smiling today at this event.”
In the girls’ game, Annemarie Cericola scored four for the Green Raiders (2-3). Maddy Worley added three goals and Liz Brennan had two goals and two assists while Desi Georges cored twice and Jamie Hills dished off three assists. Caitlyn Johnson made five saves in goal.
Avon Grove 6, Ridley 4
Avon Grove 3-2-1-0 6
Ridley 0-2-2-0 – 4
Beau Kush 1g
Tanner Peck 1g, 1a
Joey Malone 1g
Matt King 2g
Bryce Reid 1a
Stephen Cyron 1g
Anthony Cardile 9 of 14 FO
Will Schreiner 13 saves
Kelton Heverly 1g
Lou Harrison 1g
Brian Sinex 1g
Mike Crowley 1g
Tom McDermott 12 saves