By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/7/14
Will Manganiello scored five goals and Dylan McCleaft made 14 saves to spark Penncrest to a stunning 12-7 victory over Avon Grove today in the PIAA boys’ lacrosse championship at HersheyPark Stadium.
The Lions (25-1) won their first PIAA title in their first appearance of the 6-year tourney and their first state title of any type. Penncrest had never won a state lacrosse title in the years before the PIAA began sanctioning lacrosse, having reached the EPSLA final one time (2000).
Manganiello put his team ahead, 5-3, with the four straight goals late in the first period and in the second period when he was the only player to score. One of his goals was a miraculous underhand behind-the-back tally.
When the Devils (20-5) finally scored again on an Eric Russo goal early in the fourth period, they had gone 25:19 without a goal and been outscored 8-0.
One big reason for the Lions’ surge was the face-off play of senior Dylan Protesto, who won 16 of 23 face-offs and dominated in the middle periods. Also, the Penncrest defense – led by Ryan Granger, Ryan Schultz, Kevin Delaney and Liam O’Donnell – was airtight and took the potent Avon Grove attack of its game.
“Our kids followed the game plan to perfection,” said Penncrest coach Wayne Matsinger. “It was an unbelievable job of executing. We had to get on their big guns; we knew we had to win this game defensively.
“The game ball has to go to Dylan McCleaft. He stood on his head and made several point blank saves. The whole team manned up. We dominated and nobody thought we could do that.
“They really did a great job and weren’t going to be denied.”
Alex Bonnett added two goals and an assist and Ethan Trusty scored two for the Lions. Drew Hanna added a goal and an assist.
The Red Devils did make one comeback attempt when Russo scored three goals to open the fourth period – all on the EMO after an illegal stick penalty. But Trusty scored to make it 10-6 and Bonnett and Logan followed to put it out of reach.
For The Devils, All-American attackman Tanner Peck had two goals early in the game, but was then shut out due to great work by sophomore Ryan Granger. Beau Kush also scored twice.
This article will be updated
Penncrest 12, Avon Grove 7
Penncrest 2-3-4-3- 12
Avon Grove 3-0-0-4- 7
Will Manganiello 5g
Drew Hanna 1g, 1a
Billy kinnard 1g
Ethan Trusty 2g
Robert Logan 1g
Alex Bonnett 2g, 1a
Dylan Protesto 16 of 23 FO
Dylan McCleaft 14 saves
Tanner Peck 2g
Beau Kush 2g
Eric Russo 3g, 1a
Ryan Cook 1a
Bryce Reid 1a
Will Schreiner 10 saves