By Teddy Bailey (@TheTeddyBailey)
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/22/16
Junior attackman Brendan Harman scored Avon Grove’s final three goals to spark top-seeded Avon Grove to an 11-9 win over Conestoga Saturday in the District 1 quarterfinals at Harriton.
The win advanced the Devils – ranked No. 4 by Phillylacrosse.com – into the semifinals vs. fifth-seeded Strath Haven at 5 p.m. at Henderson. In the second semifinals, third-seeded Upper Dublin will play 10th-seeded Springfield-Delco at 7 p.m.
Avon Grove reeled off four unanswered tallies to take a 9-7 lead with 9:14 to play. Conestoga’s Jack McPherson and Brant Pittman answered to tie it up, however. From there, Harman scored twice in the final 2:40 to send his team to the PIAA state playoffs.
“I was caught off-ball throughout the day and was able to bury a couple,” Harman said. “It feels great to score that many goals, but I didn’t care if I was the one to do it. We just wanted to win this game and get back to states and that’s what we did.”
Conestoga, likewise in the two teams’ first meeting, jumped out early to the tune of a 4-1 lead before the Red Devils regained momentum. The Pioneers will go on to face Bishop Shanahan on the road (7 p.m.) in a must-win playback game for a state playoff berth.
“This game really could have gone either way,” Conestoga coach Brody Bush said. “There was a few pipes and a few turnovers here and there and all of a sudden they’re winning. I’d like to see them again in the states, but we have a harder road to travel to get there.”
C: 3 2 2 2 – 9
AG: 1 3 3 4 – 11
Spencer: 4 saves
McMillian: 5 save
Upper Dublin 11, Garnet Valley 7
Senior attackman Michael Mullen scored a game-high five goals and Michael Sowers added five points to lead Upper Dublin past Garnet Valley, 11-7 to send the Cardinals to states for the first time in school history.
The Upper Dublin defense frustrated Garnet Valley’s offense all day long. Junior attackman Matt Moore was held scoreless in the first half, while Jacob Buttermore was without a goal. The Jaguars were called for 12 penalties. The Cardinals led by as many as 10-3 in the third quarter after starting with a 4-0 lead.
“We wanted to come out fast and attack,” Mullen said. “I think we were just very confident and kind of stung them at the beginning. It’s incredible, this is what we’ve been working for since we were little.”
Garnet Valley will play at Spring-Ford for the second straight season in the district playbacks, Tuesday at 7 p.m.
The Cardinals benefited from 12 saves from sophomore goalie Dillon Lojeski, including a goal from the keeper as Lojeski was able to sprint down the field and finish a shot past GV goalie Mike Bonaddio.
“Being a sophomore, it’s pretty sweet,” Lojeski said. “I think everyone did their part in this win, and I scored a goal out of it. As a unit, we shut them down and stood hard.”
UD: 4 4 3 0 – 11
GV: 2 1 2 2 – 9
Sowers 2G, 3A
Lojeski 1G, 12 saves
Scott 1G, 1A
Vernacchio 1G, 1A
Moore 2G, 2A
Bonaddio: 13 saves
Springfield-Delco 10, Spring-Ford 7
While older brother James Spence certainly made his mark with 13 saves, it was the younger brother, Jack, that starred in sending Springfield-Delco to the state playoffs.
Freshman midfielder Jack Spence scored a career-high four goals and added an assist to lead the Cougars to a 10-7 victory over Spring-Ford in the district quarterfinals.
“We had a good halftime speech about how we weren’t supposed to win,” Jack said. “It’s a relief to make states, it’s always real nice to win a lot.”
Springfield, the 10-seed, continued its surprising run after starting the season 1-5. The Cougars shocked the Rams with a 5-0 first quarter lead before Spring-Ford scored five unanswered of its own in the second frame.
The third quarter proved to be the difference, as Springfield outscored the Rams 3-1 with two points from Kyle Long and a dagger from Jack Spence.
“Best game he’s played all season,” James said of Jack. “He’s doing unbelievable things, he’s splitting double teams. He’s doing what freshmen never do. This game, he just stepped it up. He did everything he’s supposed to do and more.”
Matt Dellacroce had two goals and an assist for the Rams, who will host Garnet Valley in district playbacks Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Spring-Ford: 0 5 1 1 – 7
Springfield-Delco: 5 0 3 2 – 10
Jack Spence: 4G, 1A
Long: 1G, 3A
Martin: 1G, 1A
DeBenardi: 1G, 1A
James Spence: 13 saves
Dellacroce: 2G, 1A
Morgan: 1 save
Strath Haven 6, Bishop Shanahan 5
With 30 seconds remaining, sophomore midfielder Jeff Conner’s near-post strike found the back of the net to send Strath Haven to the state playoffs for the first time.
The Panthers were paced by a trio of goals from Conner. There was an absence of separation in the day’s final game, as both teams were tied after the first three quarters.
“This is what we were hoping for all year,” Conner said. “This is the dream for this team. We wanted to get there. Now we want to go and compete and try to bring one back to Strath Haven.”
Hunter Mazur put the Panthers on top, 4-3, scoring his second goal of the day with 7:29 remaining in the third quarter. Junior Sam Goforth and sophomore Connor Heisman answered to give the Eagles a 5-4 lead with 9:36 to play. Conner scored the final two in the fourth quarter for Strath Haven, and the Panther defense held strong for the final 30 seconds.
Strath Haven will face top-seed Avon Grove in the district semifinals Tuesday, while Bishop Shanahan must defeat Conestoga in order to reach the state qualifier. Connor Heisman led the Eagles with three goals.
Conner led the Panthers to a share of the Central League title with 72 points in the regular season.
“It was a low-scoring game,” Conner said. “Because of our defense, we’ve been playing low-scoring games all year. On offense, we just wanted to take our time, get the looks we needed and put them away.”
Ross: 1 A
Brake: 9 saves
Yoquinto: 10 saves
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