By Matthew Ryan
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/22/22
With about 20 seconds left, a reality — that at one point seemed much more certain — began to set in for the Academy of the New Church.
After leading by seven goals in the third quarter, a massive 6-0 run by The Hill School made it 10-9 with under two minutes left. Face-off specialist Trent Layton, who had struggled throughout the second half, came up with a huge win at the X, and after a foul by Hill (12-6), all the Lions (16-4) had to do was run out the clock.
With the Mid-Atlantic Prep Championship presented by Victory Series title nearly in hand, Chase Thygeson and Logan Wilson walked over to the bench and started to unscrew the Gatorade cooler. When the clock hit zero, and ANC’s 10-9 win was official, Thygeson and Wilson rushed over to head coach Jack Forster and cooled him off on the 90-degree day.
The end of the season means the end of Jack Joyner’s high school career. Joyner, who scored a goal and had an assist in the win, was the only senior who played and the only team captain.
“It means so much … my last game,” Joyner said. “It meant a lot to win, to come out on top. Send me off right.”
“Jack Joyner did a hell of a job cementing his legacy at our program. Winning two championships,” ANC head coach Jack Forster said, the Friends League title being the second championship. “I can’t say enough about him. That was all him. We kind of just gave him the team halfway through the year, and he went running with it. Great player, great leader, great all-around person, so it’s all him.”
“He’s done a lot for us,” sophomore attack Hunter Aquino said about Joyner. “He gets, usually, the best defender every game. [He] scores three times, four times a game. [He] puts us up there. It’s amazing.”
Joining Drexel-bound Joyner with goals was Aquino (3 goals), junior attackmen Lucas Flynn (2) and Owen Carr (2), and sophomore midfielder Anthony Chiango (2).
The difference in the game Sunday was the penalties. Hill was flagged for 13 fouls, whereas ANC was only flagged for two. During those 13 man-up opportunities, the Lions scored five times. The Blues only had one man-up goal.
“Just not being disciplined enough,” Hill head coach Dave Page said. “You don’t necessarily agree with every one of them, but we certainly made some really boneheaded plays out there, and ANC’s got a really, really good man up as they showed.”
Layton (11 FO wins) controlled the X during the first two and a half quarters, but after that, Hill junior Pierce Hart (11) began to dominate. But, after the big run for Hart, Layton was able to win the biggest face-off of the day, and maybe the season, to secure the win.
“Winning a bunch early and then losing a whole stretch that second half and then finally coming up with a huge one at the end,” Forster said. “It’s kind of who we are and what we talk about all the time, is just digging in and when it comes down to it, it’s kind of just who wants it more, and that’s kind of what we’re about.
Heading into the tournament, Hill’s mindset was to “earn one more day together.” The Blues earned as many days together as possible but came up short of the championship.
Hill was led by senior attack Hayden Fruhling, who scored three goals, all coming in the team’s 6-0 run. Senior midfielder Eric Kolar and junior midfielder Anthony McMullan added two goals each, and senior attack Will Lesko also scored a goal.
“In the second half, when it gets to (10-3), I think there were a lot of teams that would have folded and just tried to hang on and keep it even,” Page said, “and these guys just never stopped believing.
“I’m really proud of the guys. And I’m going to miss these seniors. They’re obviously a group of really good players, but it’s just a hard-working, fun group to be around. Their energy, their enthusiasm. … I’m going to miss those guys.”
It took a little longer than expected for the game to be put away, but, in the end, Forster still got the ice bath when the final horn sounded.
Academy of the New Church 10, The Hill School 9
Academy of the New Church:
Hunter Aquino — 3g
Lucas Flynn — 2g
Owen Carr — 2g
Anthony Chiango — 2g, 1a
Jack Joyner — 1g, 1a
Matteo Rottura — 1a
Aharon Bloshuk — 1a
Trent Layton — 11/22 FO
Brady Carver — 8 saves
The Hill School
Hayden Fruhling — 3g
Eric Kolar — 2g
Anthony McMullan — 2g
Will Lesko — 1g, 1a
Will Schaller — 1g
Joey Asterino — 1a
Pierce Hart — 11/22 FO
Andrew Albert — 5 saves