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PIAA boys’ championship game preview: Avon Grove vs. Penncrest at a glance

Saturday, 7th June 2014

Categories Boy's/Men's, High School, Posted 6/7/14
From and Staff Reports

PIAA boys’ Championship

Avon Grove (District 1 champion, 20-4) vs. Penncrest (1-5, 24-1)

At HersheyPark Stadium, Hershey, 2:30 p.m. Boys PIAA preview

How Avon Grove got here

Stephen Cyron delivered four goals and one assist and Will Schreiner collected 12 saves as Avon Grove used a lightning-fast start to take out Radnor, 10-6, Tuesday night at Henderson. The Red Devils opened with four unanswered goals and boosted the advantage to 6-2 at the break and 9-2 before putting it in cruise control

How Penncrest got here

The Lions knocked off (7-2) Mt. Lebanon, 15-10, in the semifinals, using a 6-2 blitz in the second quarter to go up 9-4 at the break. Will Manganiello (5 goals, assist), Alex Bonnett (3 goals, 3 assists), Robert Logan (3 goals, assist) and Drew Hanson (2 goals, 4 assists) led the offensive explosion while Dylan Protesto went 17-for-21 on faceoffs

Avon Grove (20-4) at a glance

♦ Under 2013 Coach of the Year Eric Jackson, they are in their first state championship game appearance in program history; Red Devils reached state semifinals in 2013

♦ Opened state playoffs with a 9-8 win over Hershey on Tanner Peck’s goal with 34 seconds left before topping Wilson West Lawn, 17-11, in the second round

♦ Captured second straight District 1 title with 9-3 victory over Ches-Mont League rival Bishop Shanahan

♦ Winners of 10 straight since falling to Shanahan, 10-7, in what amounted to the Ches-Mont championship game during the regular season

♦ Other losses were to Haverford School (10-6), CB East (11-9) and unbeaten Malvern Prep (11-10, OT)

Red Devils to watch:
Tanner Peck (46 goals, US Lacrosse and Under Armour All-American), Stephen Cyron (68 goals, 12 goals in state playoffs), Ryan Cook (40 goals, 4 goals in district final), Beau Kush (30 goals), Bryce Reid (32 goals), Eric Russo (27 goals); defense led by Brandon McNicholas (All-EPLCA), Danny Norris (US Lacrosse All-American), Anthony Cardile and Nick Cardile and goalie Will Schreiner (USL and UA All-American)

Player comment from senior attackman Tanner Peck: “They’re a great team and we’re looking forward to it. It’s weird that we haven’t played them, but we’re confident in our game so it’s a matter of having a little piece of what they’ll do, but as much as scouting is important we just have to come out and play our game. We believe that if we do that we can hopefully win our first state title.”

Penncrest (24-1) at a glance

♦ Opened state tournament with 13-10 win over Bishop Shanahan before knocking off defending state champion La Salle, 6-5, in the second round

♦ Only loss this season was to Springfield-D, 9-5, in district quarterfinals

♦ Came back to qualify for states with 13-12 OT win over CB East and 8-5 decision over Upper Dublin for fifth place in district

♦ Opened season with 19 straight wins, captured the highly-competitive Central League title with a perfect 11-0 record

♦ Coached by Wayne Matsinger, Lions have made the most of their first state playoff appearance by going all the way to the finals

Lions to watch: Will Manganiello (USL All-American, 75 goals, 103 points), Robert Logan (37 goals), Alex Bonnett, Ethan Trusty, Drew Hanna, Ryan Kinnard, Billy Kinnard and face-off and scoring standout Dylan Protesto (USL All-American); defense led by Ryan Granger, Ryan Schultz, Matt Young, Kevin Delaney, Liam O’Donnell and goalie Dylan McCleaft

Player comment from senior goalie Dylan McCleaft: “Avon Grove is a really good offensive team, but we’re a strong team defensively and if we played the way we did the last few games we’ll be fine. It will be a battle on both ends of the field. I think our teams are only as strong as our weakest links and I don’t think we have any weak links this year. We did set high goals since our freshman year when we knew we could have a strong senior class. One goal was to win the Central League title and another was states.”

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