By Barry Sankey
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/4/17
Avon Grove has all facets of its game working Saturday afternoon during a PIAA Class 3A quarterfinal playoff game at Methacton High School.
The Red Devils jumped out to an early 5-0 lead and used strong defense, clutch goaltending and superb work at the face-off X to topple Garnet Valley, 10-5, and earn a trip to Tuesday’s semifinals against Central Bucks East – the surprise 8-6 winner over La Salle.
That game will also be held at Methacton at 4 p.m. The Devils (21-2) have beaten CB East (18-5) twice this year, 8-3 on April 8 and then 10-9 in the District 1 semifinals.
“We came in here with high energy,” said Avon Grove senior attackman Brendan Harman, who had four goals. “We were all focused. We really wanted to win this game. We know when we play our game, we can beat anybody in the state.
“We focused on Garnet. We clicked all around. We wanted to be patient on offense and lock down on ‘D’. We were outworking them on ground balls. It was good to see us play like that in a big game.”
Junior Joey Borcky had two goals and three assists and sophomore Zach Augustine netted a pair of goals for the Red Devils. Junior midfielder Jake Smith and junior midfielder Scooter Whiteside each had single tallies while senior midfielder Doug Jones handed out two assists.
Senior goalie Kevin Malone totaled 11 saves and junior faceoff specialist Nate Hammond controlled possessions by taking 14 of 19 from the X, including a 10-0 stretch in the second half.
The Red Devils held a 5-2 lead at halftime before pulling away during the second half of play despite strong work by Garnet Valley goalie Jason Rose (12 saves).
During one stretch early in the third period,Rose made three consecutive saves while facing pressure from the Red Devils. On the third stop, Rose cleared the ball to midfield himself before passing off to a teammate.
For Garnet Valley, Evan Trizonis had goals and an assist and Hunter Baar, Jake D’Annunzio and Jake Morin each scored once.
On April 13, Avon Grove defeated Garnet Valley, 7-4, but the Jags were without three-time All-American Matt Moore (coming back from knee injury). On Saturday the Devils’ defense, which features Bryce DeMuth, Brayden Peck, Alex Muller, Jerad Wilson and James Chastain and defensive middie Dylan Poole, held Moore and fellow All-American Jacob Buttermore to one assist.
“Going into the game, I knew he (Moore) was one of the best kids I ever covered,” said De Muth. “It was exciting. All of my teammates helped me. We double-teamed. I couldn’t have done it alone. It was a great feeling. I love covering him.
“We came in here all focused. We had a lot of energy. We wanted to win this game. He (Moore) is a great player, a great guy. But I feel we have one of the best defenses in the state.”
DeMuth said the Devils re-focused after bowing to Conestoga, 14-12, in the District 1 championship.
“In the district finals game, we didn’t play so well,” he said. “We kind of blamed ourselves for that loss. But we rallied around each other and came back.”
Garnet Valley veteran coach Frank Urso’s Jags finished at 18-6 and shared the Central League title – their third shared championship in a row. He put the game and season in perspective for 2017.
“They (the Red Devils) got a couple (goals) early,” said Urso. “They got out in front. This is state time. They played a great game.They were aggressive. They did a great job of possessing the ball and they were patient. They did all the things you need to do.
“This is what it is all about. Somebody wins and somebody loses. What else can you ask for?”
Avon Grove 10, Garnet Valley 5
Avon Grove 2-3-3-2- 10
Garnet Valley 0-2-2-1- 5
Brendan Harman 4g
Joey Borcky 2g, 3a
Zach Augustine 2g
Doug Jones 2a
Jake Smith 1g
Scooter Whiteside 1g
Nate Hammond 14 of 19 FO
Kevin Malone 11 saves
Evan Trizonis 2g, 1a
Hunter Baar 1g
Jake D’Annunzio 1g
Matt Moore 1a
Jake Morin 1g
Jason Rose 12 saves