Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/5/17
Brendan Harman scored three goals and Kevin Malone posted 10 saves as host Avon Grove defeated Downingtown East, 8-6, Thursday night to take a major step toward a Ches-Mont League championship.
The win keeps the Red Devils (13-1) perfect in the league at 9-0, with league games only against Great Valley and Oxford remaining. The Cougars (11-5) fell to 7-2. Henderson, which toppled Great Valley, 11-4, is in second at 8-1.
Avon Grove trailed, 4-3, late in the third period, but erupted for three goals in a span of 2:31, and two in 16 seconds, to close the quarter, giving it a 6-4 lead. Harman scored with 6 seconds left for the third.
“I think both our defenses are very strong; I believe we have one of the best defenses in the state,” said Harman. “But our offense has a lot of talent and everyone can score so sometimes we just need to get clicking and we can score at rapid rates, and I think we started to value the ball more in the second half.”
“It was a defensive battle; it seemed like it was 3-2 forever,” said Red Devils coach Eric Jackson. “Then things opened up.”
Jackson, whose team graduated a number of key seniors, said this year’s club has gelled together well.
“The last few years, the team has had chemistry, but this team is buying in and the defense is playing strong,” he said. “The offense has been stepping up and filling in different roles.”
“We had some very good seniors graduate, but I think we still knew we good have a really solid team this year with the underclassmen we have,” added Harman. “A lot of guys have stepped up and stepped into new roles for us that we needed to fill.”
Brian Dignen had three goals for Downingtown East while Brian Miller added a pair.
“The kids played extremely hard,” said Cougars coach Todd Cliggett. “We had many players step up to another level. We have a lot to build off of from this game. We just need to find out how to win these close games.”
Zack Augustine and Scooter Whiteside each had a goal and two assists for Avon Grove.
The Devils were listed as the No. 1 team in the preliminary and unofficial Class AAA rankings when the week started, but Jackson is not focused on anything past today’s practice.
“After the game we just told them we always focus on our ourselves while trying to improve and get better every game,” he said. “There were moments we looked good and things we need to clean up if we need to keep getting better.
“We want to appreciate the win and focus on the next opportunity, which is practice.”
Added Harman: “I think we just need to play our game for these last three regular season games and personally I don’t think anyone can beat us when we play our best lacrosse,” Harman said. “We need to take it one game at a time and use that momentum and take it right into the playoffs.”
Zack Augustine 1g 2a
Scooter Whiteside 1g 2a
Alex Muller 1a
Joey Borky 1g
Brendan Harman 3g
Jake Smith 1a
Kevin Francis 1a
Nick Chastain 1g
Nate Hammond 1g, 50 percent FO
Kevin Malone 10 saves
Brian Dignen 3G
Brian Miller 2G
Jack Mulcahy 1G 2A
Grant Peden 1A
Nico Iacovino 8 Saves
Cooper Dicicco/Jake Wetzel 50% Faceoffs