By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/19/13
The importance of his team’s 11-5 triumph Saturday over Downingtown East in the District 1 boys’ quarterfinal at Harriton did not escape Avon Grove’s Tanner Peck.
“This is the first time we have ever beaten Downingtown East and the first time we’ve made the state tournament,” said Peck, a junior who had five goals and one assist. “It’s a big step for our program and now we want to get to the district championship.”
The 10th-seeded Red Devils (17-3) advanced to the semifinals Tuesday vs. Conestoga at 5 p.m. Second-seeded Downingtown East (13-7) hosts Springfield-Delco Tuesday at 7 p.m. in a playback game and must win twice to earn the fifth District 1 state berth.
Avon Grove had lost to the Cougars eight times, including this year’s 7-5 defeat on April 25. But the Devils bolted to a 4-1 first-quarter lead and after seeing the Cougars pull within 6-4 midway through the third quarter, Avon Grove’s Beau Kush (two goals, one assist) fed Matt King and Peck added two goals to open the fourth period to salt the game.
Stephen Cyron added two goals for the Devils and Eric Russo added a goal. Will Schreiner made eight saves in goal.
“Everybody is contributing,” said Peck. “When everybody does that, it just helps to open things up for me.”
Brandyn O’Connell and Nathan Wingate each scored two goals for the Cougars, who were co-champions of the Ches-Mont League with Avon Grove, Great Valley and Bishop Shanahan.
“They beat out for he groundballs,” said Cougars coach Todd Cliggett. “They are a very fast team and today they got the best of us.”
Conestoga 10, Springfield-Delco 8
Jake Scott scored four goals and Zach Schleicher added three goals and an assist as the third-seeded Pioneers (12-8) advanced to play Avon Grove with a win over their Central League rival.
Conestoga has been in the District 1 semifinals each of the four years the tourney has been played and has won the previous four crowns.
The Pioneers raced to a 6-1 lead late in the first half before the Cougars rallied to draw within 6-5 late in the third quarter on a tally by Steve Halko (three goals, one assist).
But Sam Friedman scored to spark a 4-0 run that gave Conestoga 10-5 cushion. the Cougars scored three goals in the final 2:50 to pull close again.
“We have really good leadership and now our defense and offense are clicking,” said Scott, whose team has won five of its last six games since a defeat to Downingtown East at the Katie Samson Festival on April 27. “We need to keep looking to the next game only.”
Springfield-Delco (13-7) also got two goals and an assist from Mark Gurenlian and two goals from Vince Marra.
“It was a dogfight and our kids kept fighting back,” said Cougar coach Tom Lemieux.
Boys’ District 1 quarterfinals
Avon Grove 11, Downingtown East 5
Avon Grove 4-2-1-4- 11
Downingtown East 1-1-2-1 – 5
Tanner Peck 5g, 1a
Beau Kush 2g, 1a
Matt King 1g
Stephen Cyron 2g
Eric Russo 1g
Joey Malone 1a
Will Schreiner 8 saves
Brandyn O’Connell 2g
Ian Riehl 1a
Kyle Lauletta 1a
Nathan Wingate 2g
Brenden Sturgis 1g
Mark Marx 10 saves
Conestoga 10, Springfield-Delco 8
Conestoga 3-3-3-2- 11
Springfield-Delco 0-2-3-3 – 8
Jake Scott 4g
Pierre Atkinson 3a
Alex Mezey 1g
Zach Schleicher 3g, 1a
Chris Brady 1g, 2a
Andrew DeStefano 1a
Sam Friedman 1g
Robbie Zonino 6 saves
Christian Jobs 10 of 18 FO
Dan Dickinson 1g
Steve Halko 3g, 1a
Mark Gurenlian 2g, 1a
Vince Marra 2g
Jeremy Cavanaugh 9 saves