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District 1 boys’ lacrosse: Pennsbury stuns Avon Grove, 4-3, in overtime to reach semifinals, clinch first state berth

Sunday, 22nd May 2011

Categories Boy's/Men's, High School, Posted 5/22/11
Staff Report

Drew Sweetland made 17 saves and Colin Sullivan scored to finish off a fast break with 2.9 seconds remaining in the second overtime Saturday, lifting Pennsbury to a stunning 4-3 victory over Avon Grove in the quarterfinals of the District 1 boys’ lacrosse tournament at Henderson High.

The thrilling victory advanced the 13th-seeded Falcons (15-6) into the semifinals Tuesday against No. 1 Conestoga at Plymouth Whitemarsh at 8 p.m.

Pennsbury, the Suburban One National Conference runner-up, has now knocked off the No. 4 seed (Downingtown East) and No. 5 seed in succession. The Falcons clinched their first playoff berth ever.

“It feels great,” said Sweetland. “When (we won) I was speechless. I knew we could beat the teams we played; we just had to work hard. So when we did win, with all the hard work, it was really rewarding.”

A major reason for the win was the play of Sweetland, who made three saves in the overtime periods and was brilliant in holding the Devils (16-3) scoreless after the first half.

Meanwhile, Avon Grove held a 3-2 lead heading into the fourth period behind Damian Sobieski’s second-period hat trick and strong goaltending by Tommy Malone (13 saves).

The Falcons finally tied the game with only 3:01 left to play on an unassisted goal by Ryan McDonald (two goals, one assist).

From there the defenses and goalies dominated the overtimes, continually frustrating the offenses.

But Falcon senior defenseman and captain Dan Marr stripped the ball from an Avon Grove player and led a fast break down to the attack where he passed the ball to Josh Caven – who set up Sullivan for the game-winner.

Luke Matthews also scored for Pennsbury.

Sweetland said the Pennsbury defense has been the key to his success.

“I have to give a lot of credit to my defensemen, Dan Marr, and Lewis Sears,” he said. “There doing a great job at eliminating the top players and leaving only low percentage shots that are much easier to save, rather than giving quality shots off.”

What has helped the Falcons to peak at the right time?

“I have really seen an improvement over the last couple games and I guess the main reason why we’ve had so much success is the level of intensity that every player is putting out there,” Sweetland said. “Over the last couple days I’ve also noticed that our team is getting much closer together.

“We are doing less individual work and more team work. Think those are the main reasons why we’ve been able to take down two top-seeded teams.”

Now, the Falcons face the biggest challenge – No. 1 and two-time defending District 1 champion and defending PIAA titlist Conestoga.

“”We know that Conestoga is an extremely good team, so I’d say that our team’s goal is to maintain our intensity and good focus,” Sweetland said. “Will have to give it 100% on Tuesday in order for us to do as well as we’ve been doing.”

Pennsbury 4, Avon Grove 3

Pennsbury 2 0 0 1 0 1 -4
Avon Grove 0 3 0 0 0 0- 3

Ryan McDonald 2g, 1a
Luke Matthews 1g
Colin Sullivan 1g, 1a
Josh Caven 1a
Drew Sweetland 17 saves

Avon Grove
Damian Sobieski 3g
Matt King 1a
Colin Peck 1a
Tommy Malone 13 saves

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