Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/5/21 – Staff Report
Garnet Valley’s Sam Morin knew the crucial matchup would be at the X in Saturday afternoon’s PIAA Class 3A quarterfinal at Avon Grove.
Maryland-bound Mitch Lloyd had the potential to tip the game in St. Joseph’s Prep’s favor if Garnet Valley didn’t have an answer, even more so once the Hawks jumped out to a two-goal lead in the first half.
So Morin spent the week prepping not just with his faceoff timeshare partner Sam DiTrolio and the Garnet Valley coaching staff, but with GV alum Dan Lanham.
“We set up a strategy to get ready for the game at the faceoff X,” Morin said. “They did a great job of getting me ready, and Sam was battling with me all week to get me ready.”
Garnet Valley will play Kennett – an 11-8 winner over Wissahickon – in the semifinals Tuesday at a site and time to be determined. The teams have already met twice; Kennett won the regular-season game, 15-7; Garnet took the District semifinal, 12-10.
Morin and DiTrolio managed to stalemate the faceoff battle at 12 wins apiece, and while Lloyd scored three time, Garnet Valley registered the game’s final three goals to earn a 12-9 win.
So much of that came from the middle. Faceoff numbers were almost beside the point, since any time Llloyd (8-for-13) or Ethan Spillane (4-for-11 with a goal) won it, Morin was there to hound the ball-carrier with a pole that has made him an All-American defenseman. More than half of the faceoffs won on either side resulted in quick turnovers, befitting the scrappiness of the affair.
“It definitely helps a lot because our wings are told to lock off when the other guy wins the ball,” Morin said. “So when they lock off, I’m allowed to just go press out on the faceoff guy and try to get a caused turnover and try to get the ball back.”
Morin was 8-for-16 on draws, DiTrolio 4-for-8. But Morin went 3-for-6 in a fourth quarter in which Garnet Valley, the District 1 runner-up, outscored Prep 5-1. Some of the wins were so clean that they started quick offense.
“Mitch Lloyd is really good, so to have a guy like Sam (Morin) that can get us those possessions, it instills confidence in the offense because we know we can play really free,” Max Busenkell said. “If we turn it over, hit the goalie, they get the ball and score, we’ll have a faceoff again and he can win them and get the ball back.”
Scott O’Connor’s third goal of the game tied it at 9 with 5:08 left, pegging back Bishop Barnes’ fourth tally that had given Garnet Valley its first lead. Lloyd won the next draw, and O’Connor had a shot blocked that the District 12 runner-up recovered. But after a timeout, Luke Shoemaker dispossessed Prep, and Bear Evans scooped the GB for a dash down the field.
Seconds later, Busenkell ripped a shot from the top of the key to put GV ahead for good at 10-9.
“That hurts because we knew against a great defense like Garnet Valley, we couldn’t squander possessions like that,” O’Connor said. “We had to make the most of all of them, and that really hurt us I feel like.”
Busenkell set up Joey Halloran for his fourth of the game 29 seconds later to make it 11-9, then finished into an open cage with 55 ticks to play. The Notre Dame commit was held to just one assist in the first half but ended up with two goals and three helpers. Barnes tallied a hat trick, and JP DeMarco scored a goal and two assists.
O’Connor and Lloyd each tallied hat tricks for Prep, and Ryan Gaffney dished two assists.
For Garnet Valley, it’s the third straight state semifinal berth. Ascending the last two rungs of the ladder has been the goal all along.
“We’ve been here twice before, my freshman year ad my sophomore year,” Morin said. “I’m unsatisfied. I know my team is unsatisfied, all the seniors are unsatisfied. We’re looking to win this game and then win a state championship. That’s my goal.”
In another Class 3A quarterfinal at Avon Grove: Radnor 15, Wilson 3
Ryan Goldstein and his Radnor teammates figured out pretty quickly where they could exploit Wilson Saturday. The District 3 champions had quality players. But Radnor’s passing ability, far above what the Bulldogs have seen much of this year, offered a chase to use Wilson’s aggressiveness against it.
Goldstein led an offensive parade with three goals and three assists as the District 1 third seed routed Wilson, 15-3. It books Radnor a state semifinal date with Central League foe Conestoga.
“We knew they were going to slide fast and that’s the way we were going to beat them,” Goldstein said. “Sometimes sliding creates offense for us, because we’ve got like nine guys who can all beat their man and get a goal. And we can use their sliding to get them out of position to find the open guy.”
When it comes time to move the ball, few do it as well as the Cornell commit. He also got in on the scoring act early and often, twice in a seven-goal, second-quarter rampage by sneaking to the right of the cage, faking low and potting a rising shot above goalie Brayden Skipper.
Jack Murphy fired home four goals. Damien Ramondo scored twice and added an assist. Tommy DeShan and Charlie Bernicker represented the deep midfield with a goal and an assist each as Radnor rotated players liberally.
Matt Stitzel went 14-for-21 at the X to give Wilson a chance, but too many possessions ended in turnovers in the teeth of Radnor’s dogged defense, backstopped by five saves from Robert Hobbs.
Gavin Lenhart broke through midway through the second quarter. Derek Jopp and Corey Powers added fourth-quarter goals.
PIAA Boys’ AAA quarterfinals
Garnet Valley 12, St. Joseph’s Prep 9
St Joe’s Prep 4-3-1-1 = 9
Garnet Valley 2-4-1-5 = 12
St. Joseph’s Prep
Tyler Peterson g, a
Mitch Lloyd 3g, 8-for-13 faceoffs
Ethan Spillane g
Scott O’Connor 3g
Ryan Gaffney 2a
Blake Heilighman g
Menold 1 save
Jim Miller 6 saves
Joey Halloran 4G 3A
Ryan Nealon 1G 2A
Max Busenkell 2G 2A
Bishop Barnes 3G
Cory Urso 1G 1A
JP Demarco 1G 2A
Sam Morin 8GB, 3 FTO, 8 of 16 FO
Sean Gallagher 4GB, 2FTO
Luke Shoemaker 3GB 1FTO
Sam Di Trolio 3 of 7 FO
Drew Keaveney 11 Saves
Radnor 15, Wilson 3
Gavin Lenhart g
Derek Jopp g
Corey Powers g
Joseph Keiffer a
Matt Stitzel 14-for-21 faceoffs
Brayden Skipper 6 saves
Jack Murphy 4G
Ryan Goldstein 3G 3A
Damien Ramondo 2G 2A
Charlie Bernicker 1G 1A
Tommy DeShan 1G 1A
Jason Trosset 1G 1A
Nate Lucchesi 1G
Mark McKeon 1G
Ryan Webb 1G
Chris Begier 1A
Colin French 1A
Thomas Hannum 2/11 FO
Mason Brown 2/8 FO
Reese Evans 1/3 FO
Robert Hobbs 6 Saves
Nate Brown 1 Save