By Matt Chandik
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/20/17
It’s totally understandable that Joey Paterno needed an adjustment period when he first came to the Academy of the New Church this year.
The grandson of legendary college football coach Joe Paterno, the sophomore attackman spent his freshman year at State College, right next to the Penn State campus where his grandfather coached the Nittany Lions for so many years. That’s where his family struck up a friendship with ANC coaches Rob and Jack Forster, who played for the Nittany Lions.
When Paterno decided that he wanted to take his game to the next level, he contacted Forster about the chance to play at ANC. When he first suited up, the pace of play was worlds different, and Paterno took some time to adapt.
Thursday, he showed that the adjustment period might be coming to a close. Paterno fired in a career-high six goals and added an assist as the Lions walloped Shipley, 19-7, in the Friends League opener. It was a rematch of the past two league championship games, both won by the Lions, and it served as an effective reminder that the title still goes through Forster’s team.
“In my opinion, Rob and Jack Forster are the best coaches in the state,” Paterno said. “When I called them and asked about ANC, it seemed like the perfect fit.”
It sure looked like it against the Gators (6-5, 0-1). Paterno got involved early, firing home a pair of goals to help fight off a 2-0 Shipley start, and from there, he couldn’t be stopped.
The Gators tried locking him off with a short stick at times, but ANC also got big days from Dave Closterman (four goals, two assists, 7-for-11 on faceoffs), Milo Navarro (three goals, two assists) and Andrew Lapenta (two goals, two assists), which meant that concentrating on Paterno left other snipers open. After the game, Forster lauded Paterno’s effort to his players as a reminder of how far hard work has brought the newcomer, especially since the start of the season.
“Today, I was just cutting and I was wide open,” Paterno said. “I give a lot of credit to my teammates because they were keeping their heads up and looking for the feed. We had a great day overall as a team today and I was just happy we got the win.”
The Lions (7-4, 1-0) came into the game reeling after three straight losses, so they decided to roll with throwback uniforms in hopes of changing course. It worked, thanks in large part to a big defensive day from Hayden Trautmann and Hunter Jaronski. Trautmann played a big role in shutting down Shipley’s attack.
“We started out slow and we just weren’t packing it in enough on defense and we weren’t talking,” said Trautmann, a Lehigh commit. “We knew what we had to get done and we put it together after their first few goals. We switched up the matchups a little bit and really tried to get it down to 6-on-6 defense and not transition goals.”
There were some flashes on the Gators’ side. Nick Yi buried two goals and set up another, Colton Gallo stopped 10 shots and freshman Henry Reed scored a goal and was 16-for-28 on faceoffs against the trio of Bailey O’Connor, Closterman and Jaronski. It’s a good sign if a team is bringing two Division I commits and a seasoned veteran to fight off a freshman, and Reed is the cornerstone of Shipley’s future.
“When they bring out three different people, you have to do three different kinds of things,” Reed said. “I knew Hunter was going to be facing off a lot, so I was doing some defensive draws to try to get prepared for him because he’s a great player. I was just trying to do all different kinds of guys and trying to do different things to surprise them each time.”
For his part, Jaronski played LSM, some close defense, took 11 faceoffs and was on the wings if he wasn’t at the X. If it had been a road game, the Johns Hopkins might have also been tasked with driving the team bus. There’s a reason why he was such a prized commodity on the recruiting circuit, and his growth has and will mirror ANC’s growth.
“This team has really jelled together,” Jaronski said. “We lost some big captains, so being a young group, we have to have younger players, along with our seniors, to bring everybody together.”
That’s not welcome news for anyone on the Lions’ schedule.
Academy of the New Church 19, Shipley School 7
Shipley School (6-5, 0-1) 3 2 1 1 — 7
Nick Yi 2g, 1a
Chad Allison 1g
Henry Reed 1g, 16-for-28 faceoffs
Pete Muller 1g
Randall Brown 1g
Tyler Drake 1g, 1a
Colton Gallo 10 saves
Academy of the New Church (7-4, 1-0) 5 4 6 4 — 19
Joey Paterno 6g, 1a
Dave Closterman 4g, 2a, 7-for-11 faceoffs
Milo Navarro 3g, 2a
Andrew Lapenta 2g, 2a
Drew Carr 2g
Bailey O’Connor 1g, 1a
Jeb Brenfleck 1g, 1a
Hunter Jaronski 2a
Wil Vandegrift 1a
Ryan Carrol 1a
Griff McGinley 6 saves