By Matt Chandik
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/28/18
Bryce DeMuth didn’t mince words after his Avon Grove team suffered a 16-4 shellacking to Malvern Prep for its first loss of the season today at the Katie Samson Foundation Lacrosse Festival.
“Nothing surprised us. We knew they’d be good 1-on-1,” the Red Devils’ standout senior defenseman said. “We haven’t played a team of that caliber yet, and I think if we had time to go back and look back at what we did wrong, we could definitely make it a lot closer. Twelve goals is just embarrassing for us. We’re better than that.”
The defending PIAA Class AAA champion Devils (10-1), ranked No. 1 in the latest Phillylacrosse.com rankings, sure are, but it was the Friars’ day from the get-go. No. 5 Malvern Prep (9-4) showcased its unrivaled offensive depth as Matt Hilburn had a hat trick and Seamus Glynn (four assists), Jack Traynor (three assists), Scottie White (one assists), Jimmy Gabrielsen and Kieran Ward tallied two goals each.
The Friars have won four in a row and have scored 65 goals in that span, and they’re starting to resemble the team that had such high expectations coming into the season. Malvern Prep sits tied for fourth in the Inter-Ac after losses to Episcopal Academy and Haverford School, and there’s definitely a sentiment that those defeats may have helped kick the Friars back into gear. A dismantling of the previously undefeated Red Devils, though, made an emphatic statement.
“We’ve been playing with a chip on our shoulders ever since those two losses,” Traynor said. “I give the credit to how hard we work in practice. We worked our butts off in practice and it showed on the field.
“I didn’t expect it (to be this easy), but we had our way on faceoffs, and when you’re winning faceoffs and getting possessions, good things are going to happen.”
Helping Malvern’s faceoff mastery was the fact that Avon Grove standout Nate Hammond, considered by most to be a top-5 faceoff man in the state, was battling a lower-body injury. Even if Hammond were at full strength, though, it wouldn’t have changed much about the outcome.
The Friars were too fast, too quick, too efficient, too everything, and Avon Grove couldn’t keep pace. Malvern sprinted out to a 6-0 halftime lead and never looked back. On the rare occasions where the Red Devils got the ball, they couldn’t generate many quality chances.
“We thought this would be a really close game,” Glynn said. “Avon Grove played well, but the ball broke our way. They had tough luck at the faceoff X, usually they’re pretty good there. I felt that we scrapped on ground balls pretty well. We usually play on turf, but I thought we showed out on grass today.”
Ground balls are crucial, but especially so when you’re getting the ball to an offensive group as explosive as the Friars. Slide to one guy, and there’s another waiting to beat you. Want to lock off another? That’s fine, but you might not have the defensive horsepower to keep up with the five other guys on the field at once.
“It’s really nice when you have an offense with this much talent and this much experience,” Glynn said. “We have four high Division I athletes. Everyone’s capable out there. Everyone can make a play at any time. It’s really nice.”
That’s unless you’re the one playing defense.
Malvern Prep 16, Avon Grove 4
Matt Hilburn 3g
Seamus Glynn 2g, 4a
Jack Traynor 2g, 3a
Scottie White 2g, 1a
Jimmy Gabrielsen 2g
Kieran Ward 2g
Gavin McGill 1g, 1a
Quinn McCahon 1g
Champ Doyle 1g
Colin Hueston 1a
Will Pettit 3 saves
Scooter Whiteside 2g
Jake Smith 1g
Jason Lengel 1g
Zach Augustine 1a
Andrew Spencer 4 saves