Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/25/18
To continue a run of District 1 Class 3A tournament upsets and add Conestoga to the list of top-10 seeds it’d upended, the Garnet Valley defense knew it would have to take risks Thursday. It also knew that the best insurance policy you could ask standing was behind them.
The Garnet Valley defense was masterful, led by 15 saves in yet another magnificent performance from goaltender Jason Rose, as the No. 15 seed Jaguars completed a Cinderella run to the district crown with a 5-4 win over Conestoga at West Chester East High School.
Garnet Valley (15-8) will play District 1 No. 6 finisher Perkiomen Valley in the first round of the PIAA tourney Tuesday while the Pioneers (17-5) meet Wilson, the No. 3 team from District 3.
The heavy lifting was done on defense. Rose was spectacular again, upping his save percentage in the postseason to 72. But the symbiosis between the goalie and his defense was evident: The defense funneled favorable shots toward their goalie (and the definition of “favorable” is considerably more inclusive for someone as skilled as Rose), and he gobbled them up.
That meant frequently switching looks, from zone to man-to-man, from different locks on attackers like Tate Kienzle and Nick Braendel. It was made possible by a deep defensive corps of Austin Patton, Sam Morin, Kyle Davis, Aidan Berry and Gavin Miller. It also hinged on the tireless contributions of sophomore middies Ryan Louden and Greg Reynolds.
“When something goes wrong and they’re getting a shot, we still manage to get nervous that they’re getting an open shot,” Reynolds said. “But usually I’m not nervous because we have Jason Rose in net making saves. He’s making seven out of 10 saves in net every single game.”
“We have confidence in our defense,” attackman Mitch Lachman said. “They’ve showed up big in the playoffs. J-Rose is playing phenomenal in goal. And they believe that they can get the ball down to us and we take advantage of it.”
Rose backstopped a team that was outshot, 39-16. He withstood sustained spells of pressure of more than four minutes, including a first six minutes of the third quarter in which he made three saves and was deluged by 11 shots. But a Lachman goal in transition from Jake Morin meant that Garnet Valley was better off on the scoreboard from that stretch.
Lachman also scored in the fourth, restoring a two-goal edge. Bishop Barnes tallied a goal and an assist, and Hunter Baar and Danny Bradley also scored for the Jaguars.
James Reilly scored a goal and two assists, one on defenseman Scott Smith’s first-quarter marker. Reilly went 11-for-13 at the X. But the Garnet Valley defense ensured that possession didn’t translate into goals with its varied looks keeping the No. 4 seed Pioneers off-balance.
“When they locked off two guys and did the four-man zone, we haven’t seen that at all this year,” Reilly said. “Something different, took us obviously a little but too much time to get used to and to get a way to beat it.”
Kienzle scored with 41 second left in the third quarter to get Conestoga within 4-3, the Pioneers’ first goal in more than 28 minutes. Reilly again halved the deficit to 5-4 with 3:51 to play, but Rose denied him late, and a Brandel shot in the final second whizzed high, the last misfired shot that couldn’t topple Rose, whose play made him the king of this tournament.
“Conestoga’s a really good team. They’re going to score,” Rose said. “We knew that. We did a really good job of not letting that go to our head and continuing to play our game.”
Garnet Valley 5, Conestoga 4
Garnet Valley 2 1 1 1 – 5
Conestoga 2 0 1 1 – 4
Mitch Lachman 2g
Hunter Baar 1g
Bishop Barnes 1g, 1a
Danny Bradley 1g
Jake Morin 1a
Nate Ominsky 1a
Jason Rose 15 saves
Kent Hjelm 1g
James Reilly 1g, 2a; 11-for-13 faceoffs
Scott Smith 1g
Tate Kienzle 1g
Scott MacMillan 5 saves