Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/30/13
After being told it was the underdog for so long, Avon Grove got to experience life as the top dog.
For a brief stretch Wednesday in the first state tournament game in school history for the Red Devils, they looked like they might not be able to handle that responsibility as Hershey scored four straight goals to slice the AG lead to one.
Then the Red Devils showed why they were able to claim the first District 1 title in school history, putting together a dominant fourth quarter to knock off a pesky Trojans team, 12-7, at West Chester Henderson.
Avon Grove (20-3) moves on to take on Wilson-West Lawn, which claimed a dramatic 12-11 come-from-behind win over District 11 champion Emmaus. The Bulldogs are the No. 2 seed out of District 3. The game’s location and time have yet to be announced.
Hershey’s Matthew Stewart capped that 4-0 Trojans run with a shot through Will Schreiner’s five-hole, but Red Devils coach Eric Jackson got his team to settle down and reminded them of how they’d gotten to this point. From there, Matt King scored his lone goal of the game to push the lead back to two, and Stephen Cyron’s third of four goals 61 seconds later quashed any attempt at a Trojans (20-4) upset.
“Little bit (of a wake-up call), little bit,” said junior attackman Tanner Peck, who had two goals and three assists. “It definitely put the pressure on us, but like our coach was saying, it’s all about handling the storms.
“Lacrosse is really a game of runs and they had theirs and we had to keep calm, keep our poise and get ours. We were able to do that in the end.”
Schreiner (nine saves) and his goalie counterpart, Kyle Kondracki (11 saves), were both impressive in their respective cages, but AG’s depth wore Hershey down. As usual, Peck was the headliner, but big days from Cyron and Ryan Cook (three assists) didn’t hurt, either.
The Red Devils will need to be sharper as the tournament progresses, but as Jackson reminded them after the game, “it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
“It definitely feels great to get the first state win under our belt,” Schreiner said. “It gives us something on our record sheet, but at the same time, I think we could have played a little bit better down that third-quarter stretch.
“I’m proud of the team for pulling it back together and bringing it back. (Staying poised) says a lot about us. We really handle adversity, which sometimes, young teams have trouble doing that. It shows a lot about our team.”
And it’s on to the next one.
Avon Grove 12, Hershey 7
Hershey 0 1 5 1 – 7
Avon Grove 2 2 5 3 – 12
Justin Wilson 3g
Brook Briggs 1g, 1a
James Eberle 1g
Matthew Stewart 1g
Karl VanBlargan 1g
Joe Clark 1a
Kyle Kondracki 11 saves
Stephen Cyron 4g
Tanner Peck 2g, 3a
Beau Kush 2g
Kyle Smith 1g
Matt King 1g
Joey Malone 1g
Ryan Cook 3a
Will Schreiner 9 saves