By Matt Chandik
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/30/17
It’s not a secret that Garnet Valley’s high-powered offense revolves around Virginia signee Matt Moore.
The Jaguars’ four-year standout has run the show since he first pulled on a Jaguars jersey, and four years later, everyone is well-aware of where No. 11 is on the field.
Take Spring-Ford, for example, The Rams used Kyle Mason to lock Moore off all game Saturday at the Katie Samson Lacrosse Festival, and to their credit, they kept him off the scoresheet. The only downside, though, is that Garnet Valley is far from a one-man show. Frank Urso’s group of seasoned veterans means that devoting your gameplan to exclusively taking away Moore away, as they proved in a 12-8 win over the six-time defending Pioneer Athletic Conference champions.
“We definitely have a lot of good threats out there,” said Jake D’Annunzio, a Mount St. Mary’s signee who secured his second straight five-goal game for the Jags (10-3). “Almost every team that we play is going to hone in on Matt and he opens up a lot of opportunities for guys like me, (Jake) Buttermore, (Denny) Nealon, (Evan) Trizonis and a bunch of other guys. We just have to step up and make plays.”
D’Annunzio is a perfect example of that. He didn’t have the opportunity to break through until his senior campaign, but now, leaving him open means bad news for defenses. He’s adapted well to his role as a shooter and crease guy, meaning that there’s an extra threat in the middle.
“Last year, I was splitting time and I wasn’t getting the opportunities that I wanted,” D’Annunzio said. “We switched up our offense to one where we had a crease player and I just stepped into the role and I’m having my teammates find me and it’s working out. It’s definitely a confidence boost going into the playoffs.”
The Rams (12-2), who had their seven-game winning streak snapped, came out with the upset of the defending Central League tri-champions on their minds. Danny Cassidy tossed in a pair of goals and set up Peyton Gensler for another to go into the second quarter tied at four.
Undaunted, Trizonis and Buttermore combined for three goals, and while Tate Pijanowski scored three times to bring Spring-Ford to within one, the Jaguars used their scoring depth to put the game out of reach for their sixth consecutive win.
“I think it shows that we can score from anywhere on the field and we have a lot of weapons,” said Trizonis, a Cabrini commit who finished with three goals and an assist. “Our confidence is definitely boosting up. We had a bit of a rough start to the season and it’s good to get these momentum wins.”
Spring-Ford didn’t look out of place against one of the top contenders for the District 1 Class AAA title. The Rams have been a Pioneer Conference finalist all 10 years of the league’s existence, but games like these always help to serve as a barometer of where they stand against the elites. As it stands, don’t be surprised to see Spring-Ford make a run at one of the five Class AAA state berths.
“These games are great because there aren’t many times where we’re going to get to see a team like that,” defenseman Tanner Romano said. “That’s probably one of the top three offenses in the entire state, so it’s really good to push us to see where we really stand.
“They have a lot of weapons, though, and when we’re locking off, we’re taking a player out of our defense and it prevents us from running things like we usually do, but you’ve got to respect the players in the game.”
Spring-Ford 4 0 3 1 – 8
Danny Cassidy 2g, 1a
Tate Pijanowski 3g
Peyton Gensler 2g
Jarrod Marenger 1g
Kyle Reed 1a
Kyle Pettine 13 saves
Garnet Valley 4 3 2 3 – 12
Jake D’Annunzio 5g
Evan Trizonis 3g, 1a
Jake Morin 1g
Denny Nealon 1g
Jake Buttermore 1g, 2a
Hunter Baar 2a
Greg Reynolds 1a
Rei Lopez 1g, 19-for-22 faceoffs
Ryan Lopez 2-for-2 faceoffs
Jason Rose 7 saves